These two documents [1MB .txt or 2MB PDF] include some email messages sent to “firstname.lastname@example.org” from 1/1/2009 through September, 2009.
I requested the messages via an open records request out of concerns expressed to me that public communications to this email address were not always making their way to our elected representatives on the Madison Board of Education. Another email address has since been created for direct public communication to the Board of education: email@example.com
There has been extensive back and forth on the scope of the District’s response along with the time, effort and expense required to comply with this request. I am thankful for the extensive assistance I received with this request.
I finally am appreciative of Attorney Dan Mallin’s fulfillment (a few items remain to be vetted) and response, included below:
As we last discussed, attached are several hundreds of pages of e-mails (with non-MMSD emails shortened for privacy purposes) that:
(1) Are not SPAM / commercial solicitations / organizational messages directed to “school districts” generally
(2) Are not Pupil Records
(3) Are not auto-generated system messages (out of office; undeliverable, etc.)
(4) Are not inquiries from MMSD employees about how to access their work email via the web when the web site changed (which e-mails typically contained their home email address)
(5) Are not technical web-site related inquiries (e.g., this link is broken, etc.)
(6) Are not random employment inquiries / applications from people who didn’t know to contact the Human Resources department and instead used the comments address (e.g., I’m a teacher and will be moving to Madison, what job’s are open?).
(7) Are not geneology-related inquiries about relatives and/or long-lost friends/teachers/etc.
(8) Are not messages that seek basic and routine information that would be handled clerically(e.g., please tell me where I can find this form; how do I get a flyer approved for distribution; what school is ____ address assigned to; when is summer school enrollment, etc.)
Some of the above may have still slipped in, but the goal was to keep copying costs as low as possible. Once all of the e-mails within your original request were read to determine content, it took over 2 hours to isolate the attached messages electronically from the larger pool that also included obvious pupil records, but you’ve been more than patient with this process and you have made reasonable concessions that saved time for the District in other ways, and there will be no additional copying charge assessed.
It would be good public policy to post all communications sent to the District. Such a simple effort may answer many questions and provide a useful look at our K-12 environment.
I am indebted to Chan Stroman Roll for her never ending assistance on this and other matters.
Related: Vivek Wadhwa: The Open Gov Initiative: Enabling Techies to Solve Government Problems
Read more: http://techcrunch.com/2010/05/22/the-open-government-initiative-enabling-techies-to-solve-problems/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+Techcrunch+%28TechCrunch%29#ixzz0ohshEHIG
While grandma flips through photo albums on her sleek iPad, government agencies (and most corporations) process mission-critical transactions on cumbersome web-based front ends that function by tricking mainframes into thinking that they are connected to CRT terminals. These systems are written in computer languages like Assembler and COBOL, and cost a fortune to maintain. I’ve written about California’s legacy systems and the billions of dollars that are wasted on maintaining these. Given the short tenure of government officials, lobbying by entrenched government contractors, and slow pace of change in the enterprise-computing world, I’m not optimistic that much will change – even in the next decade. But there is hope on another front: the Open Government Initiative. This provides entrepreneurs with the data and with the APIs they need to solve problems themselves. They don’t need to wait for the government to modernize its legacy systems; they can simply build their own apps.