City Clerk Bogged by Public Record Requests

Sep 19, 2013 6:57 PM

The tension between Chico city employees and disgruntled Chico citizens continues, at city council meetings, online... and through requests for public information.

Chico City Clerk Deborah Presson has worked in some form of local government since 1992, and has been Chico city clerk for 14 years. She says in the past month or so, she's seen an "unprecedented" amount of requests for public information, nearly 30. She's told Action News Now before the average a month is just a couple.

“There are individuals who are looking or seeking to destroy the city, or just take it out on certain people they disagree with,” Presson said.

That's the short answer for who has been filing requests for public information, but how many requests have there been?

Three former city employees have made up the bulk of the recent requests Presson has had to take in and respond to. Another handful came in last Friday, leaving Presson even more behind.

“Some of them were my friends. I think what I find troubling is that it's the same people speaking at the city council meetings, and it's unfortunate that the new City Manager is the one being targeted and being called names and castigated at the podium.”

Presson wants to give those requesting information the benefit of the doubt, and wants to make it clear that it is their absolute right to do what they're doing.

But she also wants them to know something else: There's a state law requiring her to handle those requests before moving on to other matters, like meeting minutes.

“The changes [in Chico] are so much more drastic because we prolonged it and delayed it for so long.”

“We are going to have to change the way we do business--that's clear—and we would all take it personally if we had to file for bankruptcy for this beautiful community and city. That would be horrendous. And it's something we're all committed to making sure never happens.”

Action News Now reached out to a member of the website,, Quene Hansen. Here’s what she had to say:

“We feel there’s been a lot of miscommunication between the city and the public….we’re just trying to get the facts….We’re just trying to show [the citizens of Chico] the documents and explain what that means.”


Most Popular