Finger waves cheerfully given on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays – Nice tat, Nurse Leticia…She say, ‘Keep your mind on the doughnut, fool. Forget about the hole!
Waco – Once upon a time, not so long ago, there was a jail doctor who kept writing things on the official record that were designed to throw his employers under the bus. His name is John Wells, M.D.
No amount of entreaty, warning, urgent request or admonition seemed to get through to this cat. State jail commission inspectors kept up a steady pace of gigging the Sheriff over it. That’s when the doctor wound up resigning over a case of alleged sexual harassment of a student nurse who was taking a training course at the local community college.
Pronto. (Drum roll.)
The allegations, supported by memoranda signed by the doctor himself: No psychotropic drugs for folks who have been on them for years. As they go cold turkey, they flip out, allegedly get rude with the nurses, and everything is just – lovely, you see.
He was promptly and cheerfully replaced by a Dr. Hodges, the husband of the Sheriff’s first cousin, at the identical salary of $330,000 per year – a contract with no overhead, since McLennan County employs all medical staff other than the doctor.
Now, when our man R.S. Gates requested records of this debacle, he was informed in acid tones by the county executive that the matter was up for review by the open records people at the Attorney General’s office.
They cracked back on the old boy, a young lawyer with the ability, saith the County Judge, to run a bank as an executive vice president, saying it was totally illegal for him to have the documentation he sent them because it was subject to the strictures of FERPA (alphabet soup for the Federal Education Rights and Privacy Act), a measure which renders all such information confidential.
Cue: Thunder and lightning, very, very frightening…
Like, WHERE DID HE GET THIS STUFF, they wanted to know. The Assistant Attorney General involved said even his office was not supposed to have access to this stuff, and…you know.
So, what was it doing on the front page of the local newspaper, in all gory details – what he said, what she said, and the like. We are talking allegations of pure dee gossip with a capital gossip, over here.
Juicy stuff. She: Hispanic. He: Afro-American. Oh, yeah!
From: R.S. Gates
To: Dr. Johnette McKown, McLennan Commuity College
Subject: Public information act request
I am making application for and requesting access to public information related to the release of FERPA information to McLennan County. The release is detailed in Attorney General memorandum letter OR2016-13557. This is not a request for access to federally protected information.
Dear Mr. Gates,
Thank you for contacting us. McLennan Community College acknowledges receipt of your request for access to public information. We are unsure of what information is being requested so we are asking you to clarify your request.
Specifically, you request “… Information related to the release of FERPA information to McLennan County.” In this regard you make reference to Attorney General letterOR2016-13557. You also state that “This is not a request for access to federally protected information.”
The above referenced Atty. Gen.’s letter references materials which were not delivered to the County by the College. (emphasis added) The only material delivered by the College is information subject to FERPA which is federally protected. Under these circumstances, we are asking for clarification of your request. We are happy to reply once we have a clear understanding of your request.
I do not believe any clarification is required. I intended the scope of the request to be very broad and comprehensive. I believe it was crafted to reflect that.
I want everything related to the matter that is public information. Faxes, e-mail, text messages, letters, memos etc.
If you get all of the information together and then decide what is excepted, I will review the public information and tell you if I think it is responsive. The other information should be sent to the Attorney General since they are the only ones who can determine if the information is excepted or not.
Said an innocent bystander, a little urchin grown old amidst the homeless and the brave, who requested anonymity because them folks downtown ain’t got pity – none whatsoever, “I thought somebody was supposed to go to jail behind that kind of jive, man. What it is?”
Little voice come from somewhere way back in the alley:
“Do your own time, man. Nothin’ don’t mean – like, nothin’, man.”
He say: “Oh, so that’s how that works, huh? Hmmm!”