Journal editors took a cheap shot recently, link, at APS Director of Communications and Public Records Custodian Rigo Chavez.
The editors referred to him as "APS spokesman Rigo Chavez, who has mastered the art of answering questions while saying absolutely nothing."
Are the editors really so unsophisticated as to believe that Rigo Chavez decides what questions will and will not be answered by vastly more powerful administrators and school board members?
Rigo Chavez, like every other government public information officer, has a choice.
- He can enjoy a nearly $80K salary and an office high over the city for and from which to answer questions while saying absolutely nothing, or
- he can find another job.
I don't blame Rigo Chavez for the game he and I are now playing;
- I want to find out what an examiner from the Austin Independent School District was looking for and found in APS Human Resources Dept. and
- Chavez needs to obfuscate that process as much as he can.
Chavez could scan records and email them to me. (full disclosure, Chavez has tried in the past to convince me that he honestly has no access to a scanner - who knows?)With regard to your request for “any public records of any communications between the leadership of the APS and Michael Houser, including his colleagues and subordinates at the Austin Independent School District regarding their upcoming investigations of several APS departments,” I have received documents that are responsive to your request. You may call my office at 880-3730 to schedule a mutually agreeable time to review these records.Should you want copies of any documents located, the district charges $.50 (50 cents) per page.
But when I ask him to scan and email the records he refuses. This isn't our first rodeo; it is "his" practice.
Chavez purports; scanning a hard copy in order to email it, is the same thing as "creating a public record" which he says, the law does not require him to do. He writes;
With regard to your request that information be provided in an electronic format, I can provide it electronically if it is available. However, you should be aware that under the NM Inspection of Public Records Act, public entities are not required to create documents in response to requests for information: “14-2-8. Procedure for Inspection… B. Nothing in the Inspection of Public Records Act shall be construed to require a public body to create a public record.” Further, according to the “New Mexico Inspection of Public Records Act Compliance Guide (Eighth Edition – 2015 (Page 32))” put out by the New Mexico Attorney General’s Office, “The right to inspect applies to any nonexempt public record that exists at the time of the request. A records custodian or public body is not required to compile information from the public body’s records or otherwise create a new public record in response to a request.”As ridiculous and indefensible as his actions are, I don't blame Rigo Chavez. He's stuck between a rock and a hard place; defending his own character and defending a bunch of corrupt and incompetent administrators and school board members.
The truth is, it is the board and senior administrators who want questions answered by saying absolutely nothing.
|Journal Editor in Chief Kent Walz|
The Journal editors are simply too chicken shit and or too corrupt to call out the board and superintendents for their relentless failure to be candid, forthright and honest with stake and interest holders.
photos Mark Bralley