Gateway Sun

On May 19, 2015 we made a public records request to Scott Connell, who is the Operations Manager of the Gateway Services Community Development District.

We requested copies of any documents or emails that Connell was in possession of in regards to arranging traffic control at the intersection of Griffin Drive and SR-82 for the time periods when Gateway Boulevard will be shut down at SR-82.

Our request has been ignored.

We’re aware that the GSCDD cannot order the Lee County Sheriff’s Office to perform traffic control, but the request would have to come from them and the costs associated would likely have to be paid by the residents of Gateway. (Money well spent, by the way.)

It’s possible traffic control has already been arranged and budgeted for in the road turnover project. But it’s also possible the issue has been ignored completely.

We’re trying to find out.

Did they have discussions about having traffic control and decide against it? Has it already been approved by the county? How much will Gateway be paying? Or did they not even think about traffic safety at Griffin and SR-82?

If nothing else, we’ll learn what the GSCDD’s mindset is when it comes to that intersection. All those questions would be answered in the documents or emails we’re requesting – if there are any.

Should no documents exist, we asked Connell to simply email us back saying there was nothing to provide.

But so far after three days Connell has refused to respond. Given Connell’s history with us, we could give him three years and he won’t share the information he has.

In the past we’ve asked Connell for data about water shut-offs, and we’ve asked him for a copy of a document outlining the costs of operating the soccer fields – both went unanswered.

This time it’s a little different I’m afraid.

Now we’re talking about a major traffic safety issue that’s being created by the GSCDD. It’s a document request about what will easily be the most dangerous aspect of living in Gateway for a period of time, and wanting to know if they’ve thought about putting a plan in place to deal with it.

This morning the Sun called the Florida Attorney General’s Office to see what our options were.

Needless to say that, unlike Connell, the Attorney General’s Office did not ignore us.

We were directed to contact Pam Gleason who works with the Open Government Mediation Program. It’s a section of the Attorney General’s office that deals with public records issues like ours, which apparently falls under Chapter 119 of the Florida Statutes.

We obviously don’t want to file a complaint.

It’s our sincere hope that one (or more) of the Supervisors will reach out to Connell and remind him that as the Operations Manager for a CDD he has certain obligations to the public.

Otherwise, someone from Tallahassee will be reminding him.

In the meantime, a reader has provided us with the person to contact at the Lee County Department of Transportation who might have some answers. We’ll be contacting that person today.

Regardless of what the DOT tells us, we still want to know what discussions the GSCDD had about traffic control at Griffin Drive while Gateway Boulevard is closed.

We’ll update you with everything that we find out (or don’t find out) on Tuesday, May 26, 2015.

About Jeff Kuntz

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Editor of the Gateway Sun and owner of restaurant delivery service Florida Food Runner.

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