Mayor secures state grant for records

— The city is getting a state grant to help it preserve public records.

The Washington State Archives awarded $8,000 from the Local Records Grant Program to Mayor Greg Wilder to help the town deal with a situation that drew wide attention in the media and the open-government/public records community.

Wilder became mayor after defeating 16-year incumbent Quincy Snow last November and told the Washington Coalition for Open Government that Snow’s city computer and all emails Snow sent and received while in office had disappeared.

Wilder told the coalition the town has no record of any of Snow’s email correspondence as mayor or any other public records that were stored in the former mayor’s computer.

Last fall, while as a candidate, Wilder filed a Public Disclosure Commission complaint against Snow, alleging Snow used his office and town resources for his campaign.

Secretary of State Kim Wyman has just sent a letter to Wilder announcing the grant.

“Preserving public records is a crucial objective that officials at all levels of government need to respect and follow,” said Wyman, whose office includes the Washington State Archives. “It is unacceptable for public officials to remove, conceal or destroy public records.

The grant includes $5,700 to digitize ordinances, minutes and resolutions now in the custody of the Central Regional Archives; $1,100 to digitize ordinances, minutes and resolutions still held by the town, and $1,200 to purchase locking file cabinets to secure records.

The town conducting an inventory of the public records in its possession so it can respond to future public records requests. Washington State Archives has made a consulting visit to Coulee Dam and will continue to assist.

Wilder has referred the matter of the missing computer and missing emails for investigation by law enforcement.

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