Information wrt DBMSs (Information Technology, Burlington, Vermont)

Matt Chapman - Free Our Info, NFP filed this request with the Information Technology, Burlington, Vermont of Burlington, VT.
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Communications

From: Matt Chapman - Free Our Info, NFP

To Whom It May Concern:

Pursuant to the Vermont Public Records Act, I hereby request the following records:

For all DBMSs owned, maintained, operated, contracted with/through, or supported by the Information Technology - or similar - department(s) within your city, please provide me with the following information:

-Underlying engine (eg, postgres, mysql, mariadb, cockroachdb, Mongodb, Oracle database, sybase, MSAccess, SQL Server, VoltDB, RethinkDB, Chronos, Elasticsearch, etcd, cassandra, etc)
-Names of software that connect to each DBMS
-Names of departments that use information within the DBMS
-Schema of database (preferably, with granularity down to column names)
-Contract identifier for each database, if relevant

I understand that the information respondent to this request may require the creation of new documents - if that will be the case, then please provide me with documents that may contain the information (eg, documentation, contracts, etc). I am also happy to narrow the scope of my request if necessary.

Please also let me know if any help is needed with discovering any DBMS services. My background is in distributed systems systems administration and I can offer technical tips or advice if it would be helpful in any way.

The requested documents will be made available to the general public, and this request is not being made for commercial purposes. As I believe the information respondent to this request outweighs the costs and burden, I would like to kindly request a fee waiver.

I look forward to receiving your response to this request within 3 business days, as the statute requires.

With gratitude,
Matt Chapman,
Free Our Info, NFP

From: Information Technology, Burlington, Vermont

Dear Matt,

The City of Burlington is in receipt of your public records request seeking certain information “[f]or all DBMSs owned, maintained, operated, contracted with/through, or supported by the Information Technology - or similar - department(s) within” the City of Burlington. Email from M. Chapman, Jul. 20, 2018.

Specifically, you are seeking the following information for each database management system:

-Underlying engine (eg, postgres, mysql, mariadb, cockroachdb, Mongodb, Oracle database, sybase, MSAccess, SQL Server, VoltDB, RethinkDB, Chronos, Elasticsearch, etcd, cassandra, etc)
-Names of software that connect to each DBMS
-Names of departments that use information within the DBMS
-Schema of database (preferably, with granularity down to column names)
-Contract identifier for each database, if relevant

Id. While the City’s Department of Innovation and Technology maintains and regularly updates a list of systems and software used by the City, it does not break that list out by whether or not the system/software is or contains a database management system. Accordingly, it will take time to compile that list and populate it with the first three categories of specific information you requested (underlying engine, name of software, and departments that use the information in the DBMS), and it is possible there is a DBMS used by a department that will not be captured by this list.

Further, the City is not obligated to create this new list. As Vermont’s Secretary of State notes, “[t]he public does not have the right to require a public official or employee to do research or create a document that does not exist.” J. Condos, A Matter of Public Record at p. 10, available at: https://www.sec.state.vt.us/media/560403/a-matter-of-public-record-2014.pdf (last visited Jul. 23, 2018). If you decide that you do want the City to compile this list for you then the City will charge the statutorily permitted fees as established in the Secretary of State’s Uniform Fee Schedule. See id. at p. 19. The City will prepare a time/cost estimate in advance and will require the lower end of the range to be provided before any additional time is spent on this request. At the conclusion of creating this new list the City will provide you with an itemization of time spent and any overage refunded or underage billed. Please note that these fees are set at 45 or 57 cents per minute, and the first 30 minutes are free of charge.

I understand that you asked for the “documents that may contain the information (eg, documentation, contracts, etc)” in lieu of a populated list if “information respondent to [your] request may require the creation of new documents.” Email from M. Chapman, Jul. 20, 2018. If you would like specific documents instead of a list please narrow your request in writing so that the City understands exactly what you are looking for. As your request is written the City does not understand what you mean by “documentation, contracts, etc.”

As for the “schema” of each database, the City cannot release any of the schemas or data dictionaries until someone goes through and reviews whether any of the information contained in the schemas or data dictionaries are exempt from public inspection and copying pursuant to Vermont’s Public Records Act. See generally 1 V.S.A. § 317(c). Without having reviewed all of this documentation for exempt information, the City expects that some information may be exempt pursuant to 1 V.S.A. § 317(c)(9) (“Trade secrets, meaning confidential business records or information . . ..”) and 1 V.S.A. § 317(c)(25) (“Passwords, access codes, user identification, security procedures, and similar information the disclosure of which would threaten the safety of persons or the security of public property.”). If someone from the City does need to review and redact this information in order to respond to your public records request the City will charge the statutorily permitted fees as established in the Secretary of State’s Uniform Fee Schedule. The same process of preparing an estimate and seeking the lower end of the estimate up front that is explained above will also be used in responding to this portion of your request.

Finally, the City is not sure what you mean by “[c]ontract identifier for each database, if relevant[.]” The City cannot respond to this portion of your public records request unless you clarify what it means.

Please let us know if you would like us to prepare an estimate for compiling the requested information, and reviewing and redacting the schemas. Alternatively, please clarify your request so that the City knows what specific information or documentation you are looking for in response to this pubic records request.

Kind regards,

Anthea

Anthea Dexter-Cooper
Assistant City Attorney
adextercooper@burlingtonvt.gov
(802) 865-5352 (ph)

From: Matt Chapman - Free Our Info, NFP

Please compile the list, including schemas. Because your agency is going to be compiling the information, I do not need the documentation as mentioned in my request.

By contract identifier, I'm alluding to a RFP number, or similar.

Thank you - looking forward to the estimate!

Matt Chapman,
Free Our Info, NFP

From: Information Technology, Burlington, Vermont

Dear Matt,

The City believes that it will take between 8 and 12 hours to compile information responsive to the first three categories of specific information you requested (underlying engine, name of software, and departments that use the information in the DBMS). This corresponds with a cost estimate of between $275 and $400, and the City will require the lower end of the estimate range ($275) before beginning the process of compiling this information. At the conclusion of compiling this information the City will prepare an invoice and any overage refunded or underage billed. The City has already expended well over 30 minutes on this request so that amount has already been accounted for in the estimate above. The City does not use request for proposal numbers so nothing is responsive to this portion of your request.

In order to determine if any schema or portions thereof are releasable as public records the City will need to look to any contracts, software license agreements, etc. The City estimates that it will take approximately 30 minutes for each review, and that there are more than 50 systems with a DBMS component. Accordingly, it will take approximately 25 hours to conduct the necessary document review. This corresponds with a cost estimate of $850 and the City will require 75% of this estimate ($640) before beginning the process of document review. At the conclusions of this process the City will prepare an invoice and any overage refunded or underage billed.

By way of example, the City has reviewed the governing contracts with New World Systems and Tyler Technologies for the City’s “New World” financial management software system, and CAD system. Some of these contract documents themselves have been designated as confidential, and they provide that: all licensed products are confidential information and proprietary to Tyler Technologies, and that confidential information cannot be released in response to a public records request without consulting with Tyler Technologies. Accordingly, it is quite likely that the City’s review of applicable contract documents will require it to consult with one or more of the entities the City licenses its assorted systems from before releasing any schemas and that, even then, all portions of the schema might be proprietary/confidential and therefore exempt from public inspection and copying pursuant to 1 V.S.A. § 317(c)(9). The City is happy to work with you to clarify your request to capture the public records, or portions of public records, that you seek, which are not exempt from public inspection and copying.

Kind regards,

Anthea

Anthea Dexter-Cooper
Assistant City Attorney
adextercooper@burlingtonvt.gov
(802) 865-5352 (ph)

From: Information Technology, Burlington, Vermont

Hello Matt,

At your request, we prepared estimates for the two components of your public records request. We will not proceed with this request until you provide us with payment corresponding to these estimates. At the conclusion of responding to your public records request we will provide you with an invoice and any overage refunded or underage billed.

I would once again like to point out that the majority of the information contained in the schema you requested will most likely be exempt from public inspection and copying, either in whole or in part.

Please let us know if you would like to proceed and/or if you have any questions on our July 27, 2018 email to you.

Kind regards,

Anthea

Anthea Dexter-Cooper
Assistant City Attorney
adextercooper@burlingtonvt.gov
(802) 865-5352 (ph)

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