Friday, November 28th, 2014

Carlos-O-Meter

Post mayor's calendar on the Internet


"I would also post my calendar on the Internet. Everyone should be able to see who I am meeting with and what we are discussing."


Sources:

Miami Herald editorial board questionnaire

Updates

Mayor Gimenez adds details to online calendar

On Oct. 31, 2011, Miami-Dade County started posting Mayor Carlos Gimenez's calendar on the Internet. Anyone can log on to the county's website and see the mayor's schedule for the day -- who he's meeting with and when, and the places he visits. Viewers can go backward in the calendar and every afternoon look to see what's on the mayor's plate for the next day.

But that only earned Gimenez an In the Works rating on the promise that he had written in his Miami Herald editorial board questionnaire during the 2011 campaign: "I would also post my calendar on the Internet. Everyone should be able to see who I am meeting with and what we are discussing."

The calendar's "what we are discussing" category was hard to decipher. For example, we had no idea why he was meeting with deputy mayor Alina Hudak on Nov. 1. When we inquired about the lack of detail, county spokeswoman Suzy Trutie told us the county would add brief descriptions.

We checked back about one month later, on Dec. 8. There are now more details about Gimenez's meetings. Here are a few examples:

Nov. 21: Meeting with Rep. Erik Fresen, gambling legislation
Dec. 2: Meet and Greet with Christian Goode: Newly Appointed President World Resorts Miami
Dec 5: Manny Rodriguez, FPL Regional director re: Turkey Point
Dec. 8: Conference call with the assistant Housing and Urban Development Secretary, Discussion of Community Development Block Grant and HOME Allocations

Not every event Gimenez lists provides details. For example, the calendar lists the names of reporters and media outlets but not the topics -- but reporters may not reveal to the county ahead of time a list of topics. Some other entries are still missing an explanation -- Gimenez had a couple of meet and greets with different individuals the last week of November and no information was provided beyond their names (Christopher Sanz on Nov. 29 and Patrice Gillespie on Nov. 30) -- we have no idea what interests they represent based on these calendar entries. But the calendar does provide Trutie's phone number for more information.

When we looked over Gimenez's calendar in November and December we were able to learn that he traveled to Israel not on county taxpayer dollars, had meetings with some key players related to current hot topics such as gambling and finances at Jackson Memorial Hospital, and is schmoozing with various folks and getting out and about -- visiting a senior center, speaking at a libraries conference and reading to pre-school kids.

The county has clearly added details to give the public a sense of what Gimenez is discussing with politicians, business leaders and other individuals and what places he is visiting. And now we rate this Promise Kept.

Sources:

Miami-Dade County office of the mayor, Mayor's calendar, Accessed Dec. 8, 2011

PolitiFact, Carlos-O-Meter: Post mayor's calendar on the internet, 2011

Interview, Suzy Trutie, spokeswoman for Miami-Dade County, Dec. 8, 2011

Gimenez posts calendar on the Internet, but promised more than that

Local politicians often list their own biographies and initiatives on government websites -- but their whereabouts at 3 p.m. on Tuesday? A politician's schedule for the day can be tougher to track down -- even though it's a public record.

While running for Miami-Dade mayor in the summer of 2011, Carlos Gimenez wrote in his Miami Herald editorial board questionnaire:

"I would also post my calendar on the Internet. Everyone should be able to see who I am meeting with and what we are discussing."

On the afternoon of Oct. 31, 2011, Gimenez started posting his calendar. When we first looked at the calendar Nov. 1, we saw four events listed for the day: director's agenda meeting, tour of the airport, meeting with deputy mayor Alina Hudak and a meet and greet with the minister of justice of Saudi Arabia. The events showed the time and location but generally not the purpose of the meeting -- for example no topics were listed for the meeting with Hudak, but it's self-explanatory that at the director's agenda meeting the officials would discuss an agenda for an upcoming meeting.

The calendar only listed events for Nov. 1 -- we saw nothing posted when we clicked on several future days. The county will post Gimenez's events for the next day on the previous afternoon and the public will be able to see past events but not future ones since Gimenez's calendar often changes, said county spokeswoman Suzy Trutie in an e-mail. All county appointments, meetings and events will be listed including meetings Gimenez has with lobbyists, politicians, business leaders, reporters and staff, Trutie said. Personal and campaign events won't be posted.

Although on the first day Gimenez's online calendar lacked the meeting topics, Trutie said the county will add brief descriptions.

We checked in with a few other large counties in Florida to see if they post their mayor's or chair's calendar on the Internet. In neighboring Broward County, the public can search the visitors' log for all the commissioners and the mayor (In Broward, commissioners select a mayor from among themselves while in Dade the public votes for a mayor.) By looking at Broward Mayor Sue Gunzburger's log we found more details about meetings than in Dade -- for example on Oct. 13 she met with state Rep. Evan Jenne about "Proposed legislation RE: Inspector General/School Board." (To read more about Jenne's proposed law read this Broward politics blog.)

Hillsborough, Palm Beach and Orange counties don't post the mayor or the chair's individual calendar online.

Gimenez promised to post his calendar so everyone could see who he is meeting with and "what we are discussing." He started meeting the first half of that goal by posting the calendar on the Internet, but he is missing the "what we are discussing." We rate this promise In the Works.

Sources:

PolitiFact, Carlos-O-Meter: Post mayor's calendar on the internet, 2011

Sun-Sentinel Broward Politics blog, "Should Broward school board, staff, fall under new ethics code? Rep. Jenne says yes," Oct. 29, 2011

Miami-Dade County, Mayor Carlos Gimenez's calendar, Accessed Nov. 1, 2011

Broward County, Visitors Log, Accessed Nov. 1, 2011

Interview, Suzy Trutie, spokeswoman, Miami-Dade County, Nov. 1, 2011

Interview, John Jamason, special projects manager, Palm Beach County, Nov. 1, 2011

Interview, Laureen Martinez, spokeswoman, Orange County, Nov. 1, 2011

Interview, Willie Puz, spokesman, Hillsborough County, Nov. 1, 2011