Newspaper article Sarasota Herald Tribune

Alibi of Homeless Czar Starts to Unravel

Newspaper article Sarasota Herald Tribune

Alibi of Homeless Czar Starts to Unravel

Article excerpt

COMMENTARY

Even if ignorance of the law were an excuse, Doug Logan's explanations that he only accidentally broke Florida's public records laws are starting to look incredibly unconvincing.

Just last week I explained that Logan, Sarasota's director of homeless services, waited until a second round of request to turn over records that had been properly requested almost seven weeks earlier.

Logan apologetically claimed that this delay was an accident, and that he never intended to hide anything, including the document he had marked "confidential" that laid out a potentially controversial plan for his newly created job.

It was hard to buy that story then, and it just got harder.

Turns out his belatedly released records included emails with apparent references to some other emails that were not there, but should have been. Michael Barfield, a local paralegal known for monitoring and criticizing some of the city's more aggressive interactions with homeless people -- and sometimes filing related lawsuits -- called me on Friday to point that out.

Barfield had made the original records request in December and told me he had run out of patience and had notified the city that he would file a lawsuit unless, this time, all the records he had been seeking were delivered by 5 p.m. that day.

He stressed that this included any messages about city business that Logan might be hoarding in private email accounts, as Barfield suspected was the case.

Late on Friday Barfield texted me an update on the response to his deadline.

"Emails are pouring in from Mr. Logan," it said.

They were still coming in on Monday.

Logan is again insisting that he had just forgotten about these messages. He again says he is new to working for the government (his background is in sports administration), and new to the idea that all emails relating to his job are public no matter if they happen to be sent to or from his private email accounts.

"I'm still getting my sea legs," he said.

This administrator making $120,000 per year has no excuse. …

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