Approximately six weeks ago we suspended coverage of the Gateway Services District over their change in policy to restrict access to public documents, such as the contract outlining how they awarded $1.1 million to fix one single pond — known by the GSCDD as Lake 126.

I guess I wouldn’t be too quick to put that document out there either since it details how there was only one bidder for that contract, and they actually awarded it rather than going out for a re-bid.

Know what else isn’t online? The contract to fix Lake 126 the first time they did it. Or the contract they awarded to fix Lake 126 the second time.

Yes, if you’re keeping track at home, this is the third attempt to fix Lake 126. But again, maybe they’d prefer you didn’t know that. (Oops.)

The district’s change in public document policy occurred when they upgraded (their word) the district’s website. All public contracts, budgets, minutes, etc were all removed from open public view.

Three months ago I received promises from multiple Supervisors that they would ensure all of the documents were placed back on the web, or at least to have them copied on to a thumb drive and allow the Gateway Sun to publish them until the staff became more accustomed to the new site and could place them back online themselves.

When the Supervisors pressed the district staff about the documents at a GSCDD meeting several months ago, the staff claimed they were incapable of copying and pasting the documents on to a thumb drive – and putting them on the new website was about the most ridiculous suggestion the staff had ever heard.

Here we are, three months later, and best I can tell the documents are still not online. And I am not in possession of a thumb drive with the files.

Promises have not been kept.

The suspension of coverage will be coming to an end at some point, files or no files. And I don’t mean in a one-off “remember us?” piece.

In the meantime, though, the Board of Supervisors and district staff have an opportunity to send a message to the residents as to whether or not they intend to operate the district in a completely transparent fashion.

All it would take would be for one Supervisor to make a motion for the staff to hit Control-C, then Control-V this Thursday.

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

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