A few weeks ago, one of my readers had pointed me to the City of New London's website, where they post their financial information, including the monthly check register. I thought that was a great idea and showed that some cities actually try to be transparent.
to read the New London blog entry, click here
Last week, I requested Hartford's check register through an FOIA request. As I go further with the blog, I'm learning valuable lessons. One of those is to avoid Corporation Counsel John Rose's nonsense and his total disregard for FOI requests.
I made my request directly to Hartford's Chief Operating Officer David Panagore. I was pleasantly surprised when the same day I made the request I saw Mr. Panagore in City Hall and he approached me and said he had received the request and would have it shortly. There were no obscenity laced e-mails, no arrogant letters, no roadblocks or hurdles, just a prompt compliance with the law.
Apparently Mr. Panagore graduated from a Law School that actually taught something, as opposed to the vending machine Mr. Rose got his law degree from.
Since FOI is not an area that officials deal with every day, Mr. Panagore and myself e-mailed back and forth a couple of times with a couple of questions he had and I replied with answers. I guess I'll have to wait and see how this progresses in the future, but it actually gave me a good feeling that Panagore was willing to ask questions if he was unsure, rather than just winging it as Mr. Rose seems to regularly do.
I am by no means an FOI expert, but I have made it a point to learn and understand the FOI Act and I am more than willing to pass that on when I can.
When I opened my e-mail this morning, there was an e-mail from Mr. Panagore with a PDF file attached of the City of Hartford's March 2010 check register. Ok, another check mark in the plus column for David Panagore.
The check register is below, take a look and see what you think. I only just started going through it page by page, but the first big question is $106,000 to Star Hardware ? I'm sure a lot more will jump out as we all look at it though and raise questions.
March 20010 Htfd Check Register