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We heard that some of the official records of former State Treasurer Sarah Steelman (r), an announced candidate for U.S. Senate in 2012, could not be found or do not exist. So, we asked the State Treasurer’s office if they had a statement. We received the following statement (along with copies of e-mails and two files):

[….]

Sat, Apr 2, 2011 at 11:11 AM

[….]

We have received requests for former Treasurer Steelman’s schedules, emails and other public documents.

Our team has searched the office for any schedules and we do not have them. We have emails that were received by former Treasurer Steelman to her state email, but there are no sents. We have some executive files and a lot of non-executive files (psa’s, media advisories) that were not turned over to Secretary Canahan’s office that we can send to you via CD if you want. Some things were already available like salaries in the BlueBook. We asked Secretary Carnahan’s team for any of her records that were turned over at the end of her term and there were no executive boxes from her administration.

Attached are the retention schedules in place at the time she was in office, along with an email from the Secretary’s office. Also attached is the original Sunshine request and an email from our office regarding the original request.

[….]

The Sunshine request e-mails:

[….]

Sent: Monday, March 07, 2011 12:58 PM

[….]

Subject: Sunshine Law Request from Website

Name: Stephanie Nielsen

[….]

Records Requested: Records during Sarah Steelman’s tenure (1/10/05-1/12/09) pertaining to: • Employee titles and compensation • Travel records and reimbursements, per diem expenses, car, plane, phone, credit card receipts • Schedules for Treasurer Steelman • Email log for Treasurer Steelman • Office expenditures • Copies of franked mail and public service announcements • Audits • Direct correspondence between Treasurer Steelman and Gov. Blunt, including letters, reports, requests and other relevant material • Sunshine Law requests received

[….]

I am willing to pay: $150.00

Apparently this request came from an individual associated with the Democratic Senate Campaign Committee in Washington, D.C.

The response from the State Treasurer’s office:

From: Matt Vianello

Sent: Wednesday, March 16, 2011 4:45 PM

To: ‘Stephanie Nielsen’

Subject: Records Request Part 1

Dear Ms. Nielsen,

On March 7, 2011, you requested records from State Treasurer Clint Zweifel’s office.  You requested records during Sarah Steelman’s tenure as state treasurer relating to: employee titles and compensation, travel records and reimbursements, schedules for Treasurer Steelman, email logs for Treasurer Steelman, office expenditures, copies of franked mail and PSAs, audits, correspondence between Treasurer Steelman and Governor Blunt, and sunshine law requests.  We have spoken before and you mentioned that you would find the requested audits on the State Auditor’s website.  If this changes, please let me know.

Unfortunately, many of the records you requested do not exist.  After a lengthy search, Treasurer Zweifel’s office was unable to find any schedules for former Treasurer Steelman, a listing of Sunshine Requests, or official direct correspondence between former Treasurer Steelman and former Governor Blunt.

While there are some letters included addressed to Governor Blunt, I could not find any letters that had been signed or any record of these letters having been sent.  Furthermore, with regard to e-mails, I can send you a CD with two years (2007 and 2008) of e-mails that were sent to former Treasurer Steelman.  I do not have any record of e-mails sent by Steelman.  I can get the other two years, but it has been estimated that the cost would be well in excess of $1200.00 to get the information off tape.  Unless I hear from you, I am going to assume that you do not want those two years of e-mails at that cost due to your maximum dollar amount contained in your request.  If you do want those e-mails, let me know and I will get you a cost estimate and timeframe.  Also please advise whether you would like the emails I do have access to mailed to you.

With regard to sunshine requests, I have found some responses to requests, but there are not many.  I can send you the few that I have found if you are interested.

Finally, our policy for charging fees is as follows:

a.       A fee of $40.00 per hour for activities performed by attorneys.

b.      A fee of $20.00 per hour for activities performed by other staff including time required to locate, prepare and copy responsive documents.

c.       A fee of $.10 per page for copies of a document.

d.      Fees include only the cost of copies, equipment use, programming and staff time required in the production of a public record maintained on computer, facilities, recording tapes or discs, videotapes or films, pictures, slides, graphics, illustrations or similar audio or visual items or devices.

e.      Documents may be furnished without charge or at a reduced charge when the State Treasurer’s Office determines that waiver or reduction of the fee is in a public interest because it is likely to contribute significantly to public understanding of the operations or activities of the State Treasurer’s Office and is not primarily in the commercial interest of the requestor.

I spent a total of 3.5 hours working on this request.  Therefore, your total bill is $140.00.  Please send a check payable to Missouri State Treasurer at the address below.

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me.

Sincerely,

Matt Vianello

The State Treasurer’s office enlisted the assistance of the Missouri State Archives (through the Secretary of State’s office) to address the request:

From: Angie Robyn [….]

Sent: Tuesday, March 22, 2011 2:23 PM

To: Miller, Christina [….]

Subject: FW: Sunshine Law Request from Website

Hi Christina,

Does Secretary Carnahan’s Office have any records that satisfy the below request?

Also, would you send me the retention schedules that were in effect during this time period for the State Treasurer’s Office?

Thank you,

Angie

Angie Heffner Robyn

Office of State Treasurer Clint Zweifel

Deputy State Treasurer

[….]

From: “Miller, Christina” [….]

Date: March 22, 2011 4:40:08 PM CDT

To: Angie Robyn [….]

Subject: RE: Sunshine Law Request from Website

Angie –

The Archives does not have any records from the Treasurer’s office for the 2005-2009 years.

We do, however, have copies of the 2005-2008 audits of the treasurer’s office (in the State Auditor’s Collection), and the Blue Book (05-06, 07-08) would contain information on Employee titles and compensation.

Michael Shellman, in records management, is working on getting me copies of the retention schedules that were in effect.  I will get those to you as soon as he finds the right ones (both the General Retention Schedule and the Treasurer’s schedule were revised in 2010 so the current version would not be the version that would have been in effect in 2005-2009  .

Christina Miller, MAS, CA

Senior Reference Archivist

Missouri State Archives

Office of the Secretary of State

[….]

The two files we received from the State Treasurer’s office were PDFs of an “Agency Records Disposition Schedule” for the State Treasurer from 1996 and an General Retention Schedule “Agency Records Disposition Schedule” from 2007.

According to the disposition schedules there are types of records that are retained for shorter periods of time and can then be destroyed, there are other types of records
which must be retained for longer periods, and still others which must be sent to the State Archives.

The General Retention Schedule includes:

TITLE: General Correspondence – Elected Official and Department Director

CUTOFF: Completion of term of office or tenure

DESCRIPTION: Documents of a general nature that were created or received in the course of leading and managing the agency or department, which are not included in another record series. Examples of general correspondence are: (a) interoffice or interdepartmental communications which do not subsequently result in the formulation of policy; (b) daily, weekly, or monthly work assignments (including duty roster files) for agency staff; (c) calendars, appointment books, schedules, logs, diaries, and other records documenting meetings, appointments, telephone calls, trips, visits, and other daily activities of state employees; and (d) unpublished calendars of events and activities. Transfer to the Missouri State Archives.

SERIES #: 21530

[emphasis in original]

Oopsie.