Friday, May 25, 2012

SFFD: '07-'11 Annuals MIA;
No Written Rule for Fire Report Transparency

As I've dealt with three top public relations brass at the San Francisco Fire Department - Mindy Talmadge, Kelly Alves, Rhab Boughn - in the past week, I've been impressed with their ability to obfuscate and keep the department's rules as opaque as possible regarding web-posting fire reports. SFFD is very adept at throwing up smoke screens, pardon the expression, trying to keep my prying eyes out of their transparency business and I'm just as adept pushing my transparency agenda forward.

Today I saw the SFFD has not posted their 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010 and 2011 annual reports and asked the p.r. folks why this was so. How could five-years of annuals not be open for public inspection on the web, as with previous years' annuals? Not that the annuals are all that informative, but it's a report SFFD may not have published or posted since 2006.

SFFD's secretary Alves had this say about the missing reports:

I am acknowledging this email per your request. I will follow up on the status of our Annual Reports and get back to you some time next week.

Oops, five-years of annuals are not on the department's web site and it's going to take some days to find out why. Does not instill much confidence is counting on SFFD to regularly post annuals, a simple task. I can't wait to read Alves' email next week when she hopefully has actual answers. 

Alves further had this milestone of an answer to the question I've been posing for days: where exactly in written department regulations is the wording that says the only way to obtain these public documents is via writing:

To my knowledge, there is not a written policy as to why fire reports are not on our website. It has been always been our procedure that we require a request for a fire report. 

Oh, so SFFD brass decided amongst themselves how the public would receive public fire reports and created a process that suit only their needs and ignores the validity of simply posting the reports on the web. For days Talmadge, Alves and Boughan have been dancing around the basic lack of a written process and characterized my need for answers as looking for an argument.

There is much rotten with this lack of a written process and the way the three p.r. people have tried to shoo me away.

One next step in this campaign is reaching out to fire commission member London Breed, who is running for the District 5 seat on the Board of Supervisors, and asking her to take up the matter of expanding transparency that more meets the needs of the taxpayers. I'm especially keen to hear what she's going to do about this lack of a written process. It cannot allowed to continue.

No comments: