On February 19, 2015 at 11:19 AM, I sent an email to the Clerk of the City of Lauderhill asking for a copy of the personnel file of former Police Officer Jodlyn Antoine. At 12:42 PM, I received a return email from Bernadette Pelliccia, the Records Coordinator in the Clerk’s Office, acknowledging my request and asking me if I knew approximately when he worked there. I explained that it was sometime before 2001. She called me a short time later to find out exactly what information I needed. At 2:51 PM, she wrote back to let me know that Antoine’s personnel file was off-site but that she will get it as quickly as possible. She also advised that she would be on the lookout for “disciplinary actions or reprimands,” per our conversation, and that she would also contact the Police Department to check for any Internal Affairs investigations.
Imagine my surprise that the Clerk responded so quickly! I was beyond impressed by her willingness to fulfill my request as thoroughly and as quickly as possible. I couldn’t believe my good fortune!
This morning I received an email from Ms. Pelliccia, advising me that “there is no IA Record, disciplinary or reprimands” for Officer Antoine and that he only worked for the City of Lauderhill for three months. Attached to the email was his personnel file, in .pdf format. Unbelievably, there was no charge for this request. I was so grateful, I even offered – practically begged – to pay staff research time and she refused to take my money.
As an added bonus, the Clerk also attached a copy of City of Lauderhill Ordinance No. 100-07-143, which explains city’s law regarding public records.
Obviously, the City of Lauderhill takes public records requests – and the law – seriously!
Little wonder Jodlyn Antoine only lasted three months there.
According to his personnel record, “Jodlyn (Bobby) Antoine was hired on September 20, 1999.” He resigned December 13, 1999. The fourth document in the file was his resignation letter:
Maybe the “difference” is that the City of Lauderhill doesn’t put up with any crap from its employees, especially a Police Officer.
If that’s the case, how refreshing!
I also had no problem getting public records from the Village of Biscayne Park. I emailed the Village Clerk on Thursday, February 19, 2015 requesting Officer Antoine’s records. I received an email of acknowledgement the next day. The Clerk advised me that those records were also stored off-site, and said she would retrieve them by Monday, February 23, 2015. As promised, my request was ready for pick-up on Monday afternoon.
The most amazing part of my experience with both the City of Lauderhill and the Village of Biscayne Park is that I got exactly the documents I asked for, I only had to ask once, and I didn’t have to follow up to check on the status of my requests. That wasn’t necessary because I received the documents from both cities within three business days of requesting them.
It is totally ridiculous what we have to go through to get copies of public records from the City of North Miami.
The term “public records” means exactly that … they are records that are supposed to be made available to the public. We should not have to grit our teeth and jump through hoops to get something we are legally entitled to receive.
We should also not have to wait over two weeks to get public records that should be available at the click of a mouse.
For all intents and purposes, we are now a paperless society. There is absolutely no excuse for not being able to receive a scanned document by email.
Officer Jodlyn Antoine is a PUBLIC EMPLOYEE. As such, his entire personnel file, including Internal Affairs investigations, recommendations and disciplines, should already have been scanned and filed in the computer system of the City of North Miami. There is no reason why his complete employment records should not be immediately available to anyone asking for copies. There is also no reason why his records could not be emailed in a .pdf format.
The employees who work in the North Miami Clerk’s office are not to blame. In fact, they really are awesome. They do everything within their power to help the public with their records requests. They are NOT the problem.
I have no doubt that somewhere in North Miami’s checkered past, a corrupt politician managed to institute a public records procedure specifically designed to hide as much information from the public as humanly possible.
I am also convinced that the reason I didn’t receive Officer Antoine’s disciplinary record, despite the fact my request was very specific, had everything to do with Chief Leonard Burgess trying to stall my progress.
I wonder if Channel 10’s Ross Palombo has been having similar problems with his public records requests.
Maybe I should give him a call and compare notes.
Yeah, I think I’ll do that.
At this point, the fate of North Miami Police Officer Jodlyn Antoine is almost a moot point.
This is a shame because obviously this cop has behavioral problems. He has already proven that he cannot be trusted with a police database which gives him access to personal information on anyone – especially women. He has already proven that he is a stalker and a bully. Chances are Jodlyn Antoine will do it again.
But the bigger problem is that this Chief has already proven he has no intention of weeding out bad cops from the Police Department. He has already proven that currying political favor is more important than serving and protecting the public.
The good news is that when (not if, but when) Jodlyn Antoine commits his next offense, it will be on Police Chief Leonard Burgess’ watch. The blood will be on his hands.
Figuratively speaking, of course!
And, frankly, I can’t think of a more deserving person.
Meanwhile, after I received my incomplete public records request, yesterday at 3:41 PM I sent the following email to Rafael Pedron at the Clerk’s office:
I am in receipt of PART OF my public records request as described in the below email.
While I did receive the two Internal Affairs Reports for Case Number 2011-04 and Case Number 2012-02, I DID NOT RECEIVE the following items:
1. Disciplinary recommendations by the disposition panels; or
2. Disciplinary actions taken.
Both Internal Affairs Reports specifically state that each file is being referred to the Disposition Panel.
It appears quite obvious to me that someone at the Police Department purposely did not provide you with the disciplinary recommendations from the Disposition Panels for each of the above two Internal Affairs Cases.
By copy of this email to City Manager Aleem Ghany, I am alerting him to this problem and asking him to question Chief Burgess about this omission.
Rafael, I am again asking that the City of North Miami Police Department provide me with the items I requested and did not receive.
In addition, since I already paid for five pages of documents that I did NOT request (i.e., Disposition Panel recommendation and disciplinary action letter for the Internal Affairs Case Number 2014-02, which I had previously received and did not need again), and am requesting that you provide me with the remainder of my request in .pdf format so I do not have to make arrangements to again pick up documents in relation to this public records request.
Also, since this is the fault of the Police Department, and not yours or mine, I wish to have these documents expedited. I expect for the PD to provide these documents to me within 24 hours via email.
Should you have any questions please do not hesitate to contact me.
Rafael Pedron replied to let me know he received my email and “forwarded it to the appropriate individuals.”
Since none of the “appropriate individuals” have even acknowledged my email, much less complied with my request, apparently the Chief is still not taking me seriously.
“Spreading the Wealth”