Your tax dollars at work, just not for you

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IT pilot fish working for this small California city gets a request passed along by the city clerk -- and it's not exactly something that will improve life for taxpayers.

"Here in California, there's something called the Public Records Act," says fish. "Government at all levels is bound by it. If someone in the public wants a record, all they have to do is make the request and if it exists we have to give it to them. We can't charge for it, and have to serve it up in ten days or less.

"Today the city clerk sent this down: 'I am requesting a copy of the most current IT service contract and all addendums for the city. Any contract regarding the day-to-day management and maintenance will suffice.'

"Taken at face value, this is every service contract the IT department has ever entered into, whether we still own the software or replaced the hardware two decades ago.

"Needless to say, we're sending the request back with notice that either the requested records do not exist, or the requester must narrow the request and provide detail on what they are looking for.

"The kicker? The email tracks back to a company that provides outsourced service and support for IT. We aren't outsourced, which means they want us to do their research on a model we don't use and have to plans to.

"I don't think we'll be doing business with them..."

Sharky's fishing expeditions are strictly for your stories. So send me your true tales of IT life at sharky@computerworld.com. You'll get a stylish Shark shirt every time I use one. Add your comments below, and read some great old tales in the Sharkives.

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