On Wednesday I wrote about Milwaukee County Supervisor Peggy Romo West’s use of text messaging to fire her Legislative Aide. At the time I noted that Sup. West was playing “hard to get” when it came to answering very specific questions I had regarding the frequency of her use of text messages to conduct County business, and I added that I had filed an open records request regarding very specific text messages Sup. West sent regarding County business.
Today Sup. Romo West responded to my open records request with the following:
The following is my response to your open record request, dated May 23, 2012.
Your open record request was for the following two items:
(1) Any and all SMS (text) messages sent from (414) 915-xxxx between the dates of 03/21/012 and 3/22/12 relating to “Ms. Perez” and Douglas Ditscheit.
(2) Any and all SMS (text) messages sent from (414) 915-xxxx on 03/31/12 regarding canvassing and a mailing.
Please be advised that I do not have any SMS (text) messages on (414) 915-xxxx responsive to your request.
Despite rebuffing my inquiries and records requests, Sup. West can’t hide from the truth. From the evidence I have in my possession, which includes transcripts of text messages sent by Sup. Romo West, Sup. Romo West appears to have utilized text messaging quite frequently to engage in official County business. Her inability (or more likely, her unwillingness) to be transparent about her use of text messaging to conduct County business is quite simply disturbing, and it’s reminiscent of another attempt by Milwaukee County public servants to avoid scrutiny of their activities.
After all, if memory serves me there’s some sort of ongoing “John Doe” investigation in Milwaukee County that has uncovered the use of a secret internet network used by staffers of then-County Executive Scott Walker to engage in illegal activity on taxpayer time. Sup. Romo West’s use of text messaging in what seems to me to be an attempt to avoid scrutiny and transparency certainly seems more than a little odd, and it makes me wonder just how common it is for our elected officials to use similar methods to avoid public scrutiny.
Ultimately, Supervisor Peggy Romo West’s unwillingness to answer simple questions and to provide information that there must be a record of leaves me wonder what exactly she has to hide. What is Supervisor Romo West hiding from me, but more importantly, what is she hiding from her constituents and the taxpayers of Milwaukee County?