Record Retention, New Buffalo Style

imagesAfter Street Supervisor Tony Ashbaugh harassed me in the city hall side parking lot on December 19, 2017 during a city council meeting, I made a report to the mayor and city council members the next day, December 20, 2017.  When I did not get a response, I made a police report on December 21, 2017 and Ashbaugh was warned to stay away from me.

I didn’t receive a copy of the police report until January 10, 2018.  Six days later, after discussing the continued harassment with my attorney,  I made a Freedom of Information Act request for a copy of the surveillance video from the side parking lot for a visual record of the harassment.   images (1)

On January 23, 2018, I received a reply from City Clerk Lori Vander Clay that the video surveillance recording of Street Supervisor Ashbaugh’s aggressive behavior toward me did not exist.  She sent me a copy of the city council’s newly adopted video surveillance policy that  states recorded videos are retained for thirty days. But the new policy also states that a video recording will not be destroyed when there is a safety or security issue warranting the retention of it.
video request

Through this new policy, the city council took safety and security authority of city property away from the police department and gave it to the city manager. Isn’t this ridiculous?  The new police chief if walking into a position with a devalued status by the city council members. One can only imagine the diminished morale of the police officers.

download (1)The police oversaw the report I filed and were aware of the email I sent to the city council members.  Had the police continued in their oversight responsibility for our safety when we are on city property, they would have retained a copy of the surveillance recording because it was important documentation of a potential law violation.  The police officers have a duty to protect the citizens while the city administration appears to have a duty to protect Tony Ashbaugh. It is interesting that the city council paid $900 for a new video surveillance policy that protects Street Supervisor Tony Ashbaugh while they previously paid approximately $50,000 in an attempt to keep a public video of him from the residents. This must be the only small town with boss rule by a street supervisor.

Michigan issues retention schedule #24 to city clerks.  The retention schedule requires adownload city clerk to immediately cease the destruction of relevant records when a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request is made and that electronic records must be retained for over ten years. Since I submitted my FOIA request within the thirty day city ‘retention’ policy plus the State requires a 10 year retention period, it was a violation of the law that City Clerk Lori Vander Clay did not stop the destruction of the records I requested and penalties should be imposed.  At the very least, the city council should investigate this issue and give the safety and security of our public buildings back to the police officers.  Although the city council members don’t appear to understand this, the police are people trained and duty bound to care for our safety and security.

Below is from an introduction of the Michigan’s Retention Schedule #24 for City Clerks

Government agencies are responsible for ensuring that all of their records (regardless of format) are properly retained and remain accessible during this entire retention period. All records need to be stored in a secure and stable environment that will protect them from tampering, damage and degradation.  As a result, government agencies should work with their information technology staff to develop preservation plans for retaining electronic records with long-term (more than 10 years) retention requirements. Various laws (including the Records Reproduction Act, MCL 24.401-24.406) identify acceptable formats for retaining public records; agencies are responsible for understanding and complying with these laws.

Government agencies must immediately cease the destruction of all relevant records (even if destruction is authorized by an approved Retention and Disposal Schedule) if they receive a FOIA request, if they believe that an investigation or litigation is imminent, or if they are notified that an audit, investigation or litigation has commenced. If relevant records exist in electronic formats (such as e-mail, digital images, word processed documents, databases, backup tapes, etc.), the agency may need to notify its information technology staff. Failure to cease the destruction of relevant records could result in penalties.

11 thoughts on “Record Retention, New Buffalo Style

  1. Michael Patrick

    Speaking of record retention, if I were you (someone with the standing), I’d FOIA the City OSHA records & policies and send those findings to the Council and OSHA for review. Often no hardhats, face shields, UV goggle protection, lumbar back brace supports, ear plugs or high-viz safety vests can be observed at various street department work areas. When working near open water never do you see any life jackets, emergency throwing devices or rescue harnesses with tether lines and a designated rescue harness attendee with backups. The street projects often have poor or no signage, caution tape, visible first aid kits/fire extinguishers or signs directing the location where they can be found.

    The old lumber yard and city garage is another example as why is smoking allowed outside of the designated smoking areas? Is there a policy for muster points and sign-in sheets? What about allowing employees working in known poorly lit areas? BTW do they still operate those military surplus vehicles/equipment with no seat belts/safety shields? After seeing all this I have to believe there’s most likely no daily safety meetings or a trained safety officer at these various sites either. For the record just not having a clearly visible OSHA “It’s the Law” health and safety poster that can be observed posted at an active work area is considered an actionable violation.

    Looks like you’re just asking for trouble in the lax way your street superintendent operates your various projects around the town. Now I do understand that heated sidewalks may be expensive but why can’t he be bothered with putting out the standard warning signs about ice on the downtown public sidewalks/crosswalks with the approved reflectors? Anyway you look at it sooner or later it’s going to result in injury or death to an employee, pedestrian or worst of all an innocent child.

  2. olddog5

    History repeats. Boss Tweed of Tamminey Hall and Boss Tony of City hall. Both fine Scot gentelmen and good poiticians. Only Tweed got greedy with soft corruption… Our boss tony is much too smart to fall into that trap.

  3. Rubia Jasinevicius

    Mr. Untouchable claims he is a mini-boss or perhaps the BOSS of NB mafia. Why not silenced? Anderson, Weber, O’Donnell went to meet Ciardelli. Then, what came into the works with Kemper (DDA) giving recommendations for an individual involved with Gough and Bartley and more. They all seem to be supporting Mr. Untouchable’s involvements in an what appears to be an illegal PUD, car crashing, harassment, forceful intimidation damaging property and more. What does Mr. Untouchable imply by his mafia rants? Is there a legitimate connection? Are police now under NB mafia’s thumb? Seems that no one can oppose Mr. Untouchable.

  4. Susan Gotfried Post author

    No, they actually hired a new chief. You can check out the story on the Harbor Country News web-site. It is interesting that Boss A was going on about how he and former City Manager Anderson knew each other before he was hired and that they were both part of the New Buffalo mafia.

  5. Rubia Jasinevicius

    Isn’t the new acting Chief the one that Deputy Clerk Lynn really likes, and gave her a ride home one evening after he husband was stopped in a hardware store parking lot after the yacht club? So, he must be on Boss Tony’s side. Boss Tony – seems appropriate if Mr. Untouchable’s rants about mafia are true.

    I believe you are right again. In the words of Billingslea, “Then I suggest you get an attorney.” Odd, those of us (ethical and right) that oppose the impropriety of City Hall need to obtain attorney’s to protect our rights. While those in city council and in city hall, bungling and destroying New Buffalo, get free counsel on the taxpayer’s or MMRMA’s dollar.

  6. Susan Gotfried Post author

    I kind of like the title Boss Tony. If he was city manager, he would actually have to work. Hopefully,tThe New Police Chief knows who is in control and not to cross him or his tenure will be very short.

  7. Rubia Jasinevicius

    I guess Ashbaugh’s new title is City Manager, while Richard’s should be City Simpleton. While the City Clerk and Deputy Clerk swoon under Tony’s management and participate to conceal his recorded actions — whether it is discussion of misappropriation of funds or plotting to get rid of Chief Pitchford. Then, off to gather at the yacht club and while raising a toast(s) to their success! Why would any police officer want to work in New Buffalo, unless it’s under Mr. Untouchable’s law?

  8. Judi

    The article says there could be penalties for failure to cease destruction of records. I wonder who could have power to assess such penalties?

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