Work Session

Perry Township Board of Trustees

Work Session

February 14, 2012 7:00pm

Call to Order/Pledge of Allegiance:

Excused absence:  None.

Additions/Deletions to Agenda: None.

Public Hearings/Invited Guests: None.


Step II Grievance Received on February 8, 2012 from Officer Bardnell

Trustee Chessler stated that the Board was notified that a step II grievance is sought by Officer Bardnell with the Police Department.  This notification was received by the Board on February 8, 2012.  Trustee Chessler inquired if the Board’s obligation this evening was to schedule the hearing in a timely matter.  Mr. Hall stated that the Board needs to schedule the hearing within thirty (30) days and recommended that it be scheduled for the February 21, 2012 Regular Meeting.

Trustee Chessler made a motion that the Board schedule the step II grievance requested by Officer Pat Bardnell of the Police Department to be heard at the next regular meeting of the Perry Township Board of Trustees which will be on Tuesday, February 21, 2012; Seconded by Trustee Haines.

ROLL CALL: Mr. Chessler, yes.  Mr. Laubacher, yes.  Mr. Haines, yes.

Public Speaks on items up for Board Approval: None.

Township Business requiring Board Action:

Unfinished Business:

New Business:

Trustee Chessler made a motion to approve bills and payroll in the amount of $145,672.46 for the week ending February 14, 2012; Seconded by Trustee Laubacher.

ROLL CALL: Mr. Chessler, yes.  Mr. Laubacher, yes.  Mr. Haines, yes.

Fiscal Officer: 

Trustee Chessler made a motion to approve the minutes from the February 7, 2012 Regular Meeting; Seconded by Trustee Laubacher.

ROLL CALL: Mr. Chessler, yes.  Mr. Laubacher, yes.  Mr. Haines, yes.

Administration:  None.

Fire Department: None.

Police Department: None.

Road Department: None.

Zoning: None.

Parks: None.

Executive Session(s):  None.

Department Matters Not Requiring Board Action:

Administration: None.

Fire Department: None.

Parks/Recycling: None.

Police Department: None.

Road Department: None.

Zoning: None.  

Law Director: None.

Announcements: None.

Public Speaks-Open Forum:

Robert Gobbel- 2604 Brooklyn SW.  Mr. Gobbel stated that he had some concerns regarding the electrical aggregation.  American Electric Power charges a supplier fee of $41.00 on top of what First Energy charges for used services.  Mr. Gobbel stated that he opted out of the electric aggregation program for this reason.  The Board stated that they would try and find out a better answer for Mr. Gobbel regarding his concerns.

Law Director:

Email Archiving

Mr. Hall stated that an industry has sprung up against lawyers in terms of mining public funds for public records requests that can not be complied with.  A couple of years ago, a local attorney got a one million dollar plus award because he was requesting records that could not be produced and had not been properly destroyed.  Last year, the Board took significant steps to try update public record requests, public record retention schedules and public record destruction schedules to avoid those types of things.  The plaintiff’s bar is continuing to mine that lucrative field.  Mr. Hall stated that there are a couple of Supreme Court cases in which he will do full summary memorandum to the Board so that there is a historical context by which to evaluate the request being made this evening.  The Supreme Court is saying that if a person does not really want the public records or they are just mining for records and the government can prove they do not really need or want them then they do not have to produce them and are not in agreement with the party.  There has been a real focus in several of the northeast Ohio communities being hit with email requests (most recently Louisville).

Mr. Hall stated that in spite of the Boards efforts made last year, he still has some concerns relative to some of the Township’s older and archived records.  In trying to put together a memorandum for the Board to review, this has been a reoccurring problem that goes clear back to March 14, 2003.  Mr. Hall stated that he found an opinion letter that was sent to the former Administrator in March of 2003 addressing the same issues but from different contexts and viewpoints. 

Mr. Hall stated that he spoke with Administrator Fetzer earlier today and the Board has taken significant steps with Seifert Technologies to put in an email archiving and retrieval program within the last year at a significant expense.   Mr. Hall stated that he believes that from June 2011 forward the Township is in pretty good shape.  If someone would come in and make a public records request for an email after June 2011 until now the Township could probably retrieve it pretty simply.  Mr. Hall stated that there is no statute of limitations on how far back someone can make a public records request for emails.  The Township still has a significant problem in trying to find, locate and create those.  Mr. Hall stated that it is his understanding that under the old system a public record was able to be retrieved fairly simply within sixty (60) days of it being created but after you get out of the sixty (60) day window then it became a problem of having to have a forensic examination of software programming which became quite burdensome. 

Mr. Hall stated that due to the public records request that Louisville received last week he has been working with some of the other Law Directors in the County to try and figure out how to address these issues.  Mr. Hall stated that he wanted to bring it back to the Board because he does not want to leave the Board and Administration with the false sense that the Township is protected.  Mr. Hall stated that he does not know how to best move this to the next step to make sure that the Township is protected other than to ask that the Board consider going back and exploring further with the technology provider of how to address the problem.  Mr. Hall stated that this situation needs to be addressed. 

Trustee Laubacher inquired when the Township purchased the current computer system.  Trustee Chessler stated January 2009.  Mr. Hall stated that was correct.  Trustee Laubacher inquired what happened to the old computer system.  Mr. Hall stated that he is not sure but it has probably been backed up on other media.  Administrator Fetzer stated that if nothing has been deleted then there is nothing to go back and retract, it’s there.  Trustee Laubacher stated if the Township doesn’t have the old computers to take it from then where is the information.  Mr. Hall stated that he believes that the information is on the hard drive or has been backed up on other media.  Trustee Laubacher inquired if the information was taken off of the old computers and put on the new system.  Trustee Haines stated that is typically what you would try to do as long as the programs are compatible.  Mr. Hall stated that the problem is if you needed an email today regarding a certain project from this window to this window then it can be produced.  If it is before the June 2011 time period the only way to access or produce that record would be through a forensic software program that could go back and get it.  Mr. Hall stated that the real problem becomes how the Township fixes this problem before it becomes a bigger problem.  Trustee Chessler inquired if Trustee Laubacher knew how a Trustee could access the emails sent since June 2011.  Trustee Laubacher answered no.  Trustee Chessler stated that when the Board asked Seifert that same question last year they wanted to charge $500.00 just to talk about it.  Trustee Laubacher asked Administrator Fetzer if that was correct.  Trustee Chessler stated that this is what he asked for last January and that this is what he was denied because Trustee Laubacher and Anna Capaldi did not want to spend any money to have Seifert tell the Board how they could access the Township’s system that they paid $50,000.00 for.  Trustee Chessler stated that Seifert wanted to charge the Board for the work and he doesn’t want to deal with them any more.  Trustee Chessler stated that he believes Seifert has hoodlumed the Township in this contract.  The Township paid $50,000.00 for a system that does not put the Township in compliance with its legal obligations.  Seifert never even told the Township that.  There are some other things in the contract that states that if they do something like that then they are not responsible and there is no warranty for their work.  Trustee Chessler stated that this is a piece of crap that the Township got for $50,000.00.  Trustee Laubacher stated that the Township can’t go back and change that.  Trustee Chessler stated that he agreed but in moving forward he would like to go out and get a system or utilize the system that the Township has now that will properly and legally retain electronic communications, will allow the identification of wanted time periods and has the ability to retrieve that information in case somebody comes to make a public records request.  That way the Township can comply with the request.  Right now the Township does not have that ability unless Seifert is paid to do so.  Trustee Chessler stated that under no circumstances will he agree to do any more business with Seifert who is completely incompetent.  The Township needs to go out and find a system that includes things such as the hosting and access that will meet the Township’s needs.

Administrator Fetzer stated that as of June 20, 2011 the Township does have that ability to reproduce all e-mails, except the police department, as they have their own archiving system.  If someone came to request that information the Township would be able to provide it.  Trustee Haines stated after June 2011.  Administrator Fetzer stated that is correct, after June 20, 2011.  Trustee Chessler inquired if Jeff from Seifert would charge the Township to show us how to do that.  Administrator Fetzer stated no, that the archiving system has already been installed as of June 20, 2011.  Mr. Hall inquired who can get the information or who would physically print off or fill the public records request if he came to the counter and asked for any emails between Trustee Laubacher and Mayor Catazaro regarding the Cincinat project from January 1 until now.  Administrator Fetzer stated that the request would go to the Fiscal Officer and then it can be searched by key words or by someone’s name.  Mr. Hall asked if Mr. Schlegel would retrieve that information.  Administrator Fetzer stated that Mr. Schlegel may direct me to print it.  Mr. Hall verified that the emails could be retrieved.  Administrator Fetzer stated that was correct.

Trustee Chessler inquired what the Township would do if someone came in and said that they wanted all emails that were sent or received, from or between Tim Escola and Janine England.  Administrator Fetzer stated that is a different story because the Police Department operates on a different server.  Trustee Chessler inquired what the Township would do if someone came in and said that they wanted all emails between Jackie Shreiner and Karen Moser from 2008-2009.  Administrator Fetzer stated that in that circumstance, the e-mails would be there, as the township policy is not to delete work related e-mails. Trustee Chessler inquired how the Township would access that information without going and writing a check to Jeff from Seifert Technologies.  Administrator Fetzer stated that for e-mails prior to June, 2011 you would go to whomever’s computer and punch in the email address and every email that was ever sent or received will appear.  Trustee Chessler inquired if they had the ability to retrieve emails from a central location.  Administrator Fetzer stated that the Township currently can but can not prior to the date of June 20, 2011.  Trustee Haines inquired about employees who no longer exist.  Mr. Hall inquired if, for example, it would be possible to retrieve an email sent in 2007 by Paul Meade to Bob Fonte concerning Meredith Park.  Trustee Chessler inquired where the emails are centrally collected.  Administrator Fetzer stated that it should be on the server.  Mr. Hall stated that is where it becomes a problem because the Township can not access the server without doing what Trustee Chessler finds offensive which is paying Seifert to do that for $100.00 per hour.  Administrator Fetzer stated that Seifert did mention the archiving system to her and Anna Capaldi when the Township was purchasing this.  Seifert recommended from the beginning that the Township have some type of long term archiving system.  Trustee Chessler stated that it drives him crazy that a company doing business with a public entity and they don’t sell them what they need to be compliant with the law.

Mr. Hall inquired if the Board wanted him to draw up a scope of services or request for proposal to shop for IT services to find out what it would cost the Township to create an access to retrieve archived records prior to June 20, 2011.  Trustee Laubacher inquired about if the information isn’t there.  Mr. Hall stated that is a more problematic problem but his more immanent concern is that someone will make a legitimate public records request for something in 2009 or 2010.  Mr. Schlegel inquired what the public records policy states regarding emails.  Mr. Hall stated that the Board needs to address that.  Mr. Schlegel stated that he attended a class that indicated that the Board could set up their own email records retention.  The suggested time for email retention is one (1) year.  Mr. Hall stated that this Board has not specifically addressed that yet.

Mr. Hall stated that based upon his recommendation in 2010 the Board adopted the Ohio Historical Society Retention Record which is silent as to email and tempered documents.  This needs to be addressed sooner than later.  Trustee Chessler stated that he would like to be involved in this so that the Township gets a system that is compliant in the future as far as access.  Trustee Chessler stated that he would also like to limit the possibility of anyone deleting emails. 

Mr. Hall stated that he would like to have something to the Board no later than Thursday which will outline the problem as well as recommendations to solve the problem.   The Board can take action next Tuesday to authorize moving forward with soliciting IT services to have the current system evaluated.  Mr. Schlegel suggested that the Board needs to first approve a public records policy in regards to emails.  Mr. Hall stated that he will prepare a comprehensive memorandum and some recommendations for the Board to review.


With nothing further to come before the Board, Trustee Laubacher made a motion to adjourn the meeting at 7:44pm; Seconded by Trustee Chessler.

ROLL CALL: Mr. Chessler, yes.  Mr. Laubacher, yes.  Mr. Haines, yes.


Craig E. Chessler, President              

Joe Schlegel, Fiscal Officer