Thursday, June 23, 2016

Pima County Supervisor Ally Miller loose with the law, walks out on meeting

I thought it's about time to check in on our favorite county supervisor. The hoop-la over one of her staffer's activities has grown into a serious matter of press access to her public records. She's dragging her feet on providing them, and the ones that are showing up are redacted - you guessed it - by her.

The record on this case has gotten large but it is worth a read. Dylan Smith at TucsonSentinel.com provides us with comprehensive coverage. Here are a couple of examples.

Forced to acknowledge that she has not revealed records of public business she conducts using her personal accounts, Supervisor Ally Miller quickly left a Pima County Board of Supervisors meeting Tuesday, even as officials continued to discuss her month-long stonewalling of reporters' questions about ex-staffer Timothy DesJarlais' bizarre sham news website.

Her acquiescence in the face of strong questioning by the other supervisors was a tacit admission that her earlier response to TucsonSentinel.com's request for records was based on a falsehood.

The Board voted 4-0, with Miller absent, for county staff to "immediately" respond to requests for records —some of which were made more than four weeks ago. The Board also stated that any individual not complying with the expedited full release of public documents would be "acting in their own private capacity" — which would mean that the deep pockets of the county would not back their legal defense.

Miller has slow-walked records requests from TucsonSentinel.com and other news organizations, and only within the last week finally provided documents — which were tardy, incomplete and blacked-out in a slipshod manner. And she has not yet provided any of the documents requested relating to her personal email address and Facebook account — where she is known to conduct much of her business as a supervisor.

There is a lesson here for elected officials. You can screw with some of the press some of the time, but not all of the press all of the time.

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