In a 2013 report, then-New York City Public Advocate Bill de Blasio gave the NYPD a grade of “F” for its slow response to public records requests. NYC Information Technology & Telecommunications or DoITT, on the other hand, got an “A.”
Fast forward to 2021. De Blasio is now Mayor. And two and a half years since we asked for emails from DoITT relating to a $50 million procurement scandal… we’re still waiting.
They’re turning this into an opera.
C&BP has been looking into questions surrounding a government-wide online system for NYC government agencies to buy products and services since August 2018. The procurement contract was between DoITT and Ivalua, a software company headquartered in Redwood City, California and Orsay, France. On August 7, 2018, we submitted a records request to DoITT. They found 4,294 relevant emails. But we were told it would be a “burden” to give them to us.
The Mayor de Blasio’s Office of Contract Supervision, which also has access to the emails, is no better.
We hired a lawyer to represent us, refiled a simpler request, but we couldn’t get the emails. We trimmed our request to about 100 emails. We appealed to various elected officials. Periodically, we receive extensions to buy more time.
Wonder why they don’t want to give them up? Hmmm.
Here’s what DoITT told us on Jan. 29, 2021:
“The Department of Information Technology and Telecommunications is continuing to research and review your request and requires an additional thirty business days to complete the work of this request.”
The promised delivery date: March 12, 2021.
Mayor de Blasio’s Office had a more sophisticated response on Feb. 12:
“Due to the complexity of responding to your request, we are still reviewing our records for responsive documents. We will provide you with an update within thirty (30) business days.”
That would be March 29.
Come on Mayor de Blasio. How many acts are in an opera?
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Scott Peterson is executive director of Checks and Balances Project, an investigative watchdog blog holding government officials, lobbyists and corporate management accountable to the public. Funding for C&BP is provided by Renew American Prosperity and individual donors.
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