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Former Councilman Scott requests to see thousands of Rockwall Council member emails

ROCKWALL – Former Rockwall City Council member and attorney Matt Scott last week filed what appears to be a highly unusual Public Information Open Records Request with the City of Rockwall requesting to see what amounts to thousands of emails written and received by City Council members over an as-yet-unknown period of time.

According to information received from several people who have asked that their names not yet be revealed, the Request involves approximately 19,000 emails over possibly the past six months.

They added Scott was told last week that the cost will be about $4,600 to require City staff to spend the many hours necessary to sort through the many emails by hand and delete the names and email addresses of private citizens who have communicated with Council members.

Scott’s request will also require City Attorney Pete Eckert to sort through all the emails to delete those which deal with Executive Session matters.

When the initial Request was received early last week, the City apparently notified Scott there would be no cost. Since then, a City representative learned from the Attorney General’s Office that the City could charge for so many emails, with the exception of the work the City Attorney will do.

Scott is employed at the Dallas law firm of Ford & Harrison. He served three two-year terms as a City Council member from 2005-2010. He has been a Rockwall resident since 1996.

As of today, Scott has not responded to our email asking why he filed the Request, nor has the City yet responded to our Open Records Request asking for a copy of Scott’s Request. When filing an Open Records Request, it is not necessary to state a reason for it. The City has up to 10 business days to either honor the Requests or notify the Attorney General’s Office why the City should not.

Scott’s request for so many emails appears to be highly unusual. It is assumed by our sources that he has made the request in behalf of one of his clients.

According to City Secretary Kristi Ashberry, the City Secretary’s Office has received 157 Open Records Requests to date this year, 59 of which were sent to the Texas Attorney General’s Office for an opinion whether the City must disclose the information.

Apparently none have requested such a large amount of information.

In addition, the Rockwall Police Department has received 387 direct Open Records Requests and Building Inspections has received about 177 Requests.

By J.J. Smith, Publisher

 

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