HDQ Neutral, Mint Disinfectant, and other sterilizing chemicals used regarding COVID-19

Matthew Phelan filed this request with the Glades County Sheriff's Office of Glades County, FL.


From: Matthew Phelan

To Whom It May Concern:

Pursuant to the Florida Sunshine Law, I hereby request the following records:

All invoices, purchases orders, contracts, loan agreements, procurement documents (but not limited to solicitation documents or notices of proposed contracts, proposed bids, unsolicited proposals, and/or documents justifying contracting without full and open competition) relating to the disinfectant chemical Mint Disinfectant manufactured by American Cleaning Solutions (a division of American Wax Company, Inc.), as well as the disinfectant chemical HDQ Neutral manufactured by Spartan Chemical, and any other sterilizing chemicals or disinfectants used as parts of the the Glades County Detention Center's COVID-19 pandemic response protocols, procedures, and plans.

Additionally, I am hereby requesting any and all emails, memos, faxes, text messages, written letters, and all other relevant correspondences, internal to the Glades County Sheriff's Office, between Glades County officials and ICE, between Glades County officials and its private contractors, or between Glades County officials and other government agencies related to these chemicals and their use at the ICE facility inside the Glades County Detention Center in Florida as part of the the Glades County Sheriff's Office's and the Glades County Detention Center's COVID-19 pandemic response protocols, procedures, and plan.

PLEASE NOTE: I am a freelance reporter and would request that the relevant fees be waived. My past work has appeared at Slate.com, the New Republic, the New York Review of Books, Inverse.com, Scienceline.org, Gawker, Earther, Chemical Engineering magazine, and elsewhere.

The requested documents will be made available to the general public, and this request is not being made for commercial purposes.

In the event that there are fees, I would be grateful if you would inform me of the total charges in advance of fulfilling my request. I would prefer the request filled electronically, by e-mail attachment if available or CD-ROM if not.

Thank you in advance for your anticipated cooperation in this matter. I look forward to receiving your response to this request within 10 business days.


Matthew Phelan

From: Glades County Sheriff's Office

No records related to the requested information exist nor are they available from the Glades County Sheriff's Office.

Reviewed by...

Chief K. Henson

- 6-8-20

From: Matthew Phelan

Thank you, Chief Henson.

Before I start pursuing the nonbinding mediation process for Sunshine Law disputes with the FL Attorney General, I'm just going to clarify the portions of the request that I would have to assume do exist and can be supplied pursuant to my initial request.

My request included information on "any" form of "sterilizing chemicals or disinfectants used as parts of the the Glades County Detention Center's COVID-19 pandemic response protocols, procedures, and plans" including "any and all emails, memos, faxes, text messages, written letters, and all other relevant correspondences, internal to the Glades County Sheriff's Office, between Glades County officials and ICE, between Glades County officials and its private contractors" etc.

So, as a matter of limiting the scope of my request to something actionable, I'm maintaining my request for all Sheriff's department emails from or to an address containing @ice.dhs.gov or @ice.gov in the last 6 months containing any of the words: spray, disinfectant, disinfect, anti-viral, anti-microbial, pandemic, COVID-19, or coronavirus. I am also requesting any internal emails containing those same words between email addresses containing @gladessheriff.org also in the last six months.

Thank you in advance for your anticipated cooperation in this matter.

Fond Regards,
Matthew Phelan

From: Glades County Sheriff's Office

Noted Sir and thank you for identifying my earlier mistake. My error was based on the facility not utilizing product manufactured by the two company's you identified. Again, I apologize. Attached to this email are copies of current payment invoices for the product being utilized for disinfecting and cleaning purposes at the facility. Also attached is information that identifies the specific product and manufacturer of the product provided by our supplier identified on the payment invoice as nutria-cide. No fees are being required for this portion of the data requested.

The Glades County Sheriff's Office is prepared to process the remaining records request specific to email data. Based on the variety, depth and scope of the information and documents requested, additional time may be needed to accurately identify and recover the data. Some items requested may not be available, as a result of being outside our jurisdictional authority.

A cost waiver with respect to this portion of the request cannot be authorized. The size and scope of the information requested will require staffing resources to be diverted from their normal operational duties in order to collect, process, format and distribute the requested data. As such, the total costs associated with providing this requested information cannot be fully determined at this time. A cost of .15 cents per copy for each specific document page, as well as the additional hourly expenses of staffing resources utilized to recover the data and information will be incurred. The actual final costs for processing the full request cannot be determined until the Public Records Request has been compiled and completed. The factors associated with this cost estimate are based on the volume of documents that will be reviewed and prepared, related to the possible large amount and considerable volume of possible emails containing the identified scope of words identified in your request. Providing the requested items in a digital format may not be available. All costs for materials and hourly staffing resources utilized to complete the tasks will be calculated utilizing their hourly rate and copying services charges. We do apologize in advance for being a small Agency without many of the information technology benefits and solutions of much larger organizations. As such, much if not most of the processing will require manual resources being utilized to search, process, identify and recover the items.

We are ready to begin the formal processing of the latter part of your request, upon receiving written confirmation of your acknowledgement of the cost assessment information and your acknowledged written consent and agreed upon obligation for the total cost of the services that will be provided to you. I have every expectation that the information can be made available in as timely a manner as possible.

We are standing by to begin assignment of staffing resources and processing of your request pending, your documented acknowledgement of costs to be incurred. If you have any questions, or need any additional information, please do not hesitate to contact me.
Chief Henson

From: Matthew Phelan

Thank you, again, Chief Henson, very sincerely.

If there is anyway you could loosely ballpark what these fees might be, I would appreciate it. Even just some basics like, "What is the hourly rate for these hourly staffing resources?" and "Why can't these emails be supplied as searchable PDF files?" would be a good start.

Again, amid all these overlapping national crises, I know that meeting the demands of an open records request statute can seem onerous and less-than-pertinent. Please know that I appreciate your time and effort in this matter.

Best Regards,
Matthew Phelan

From: Glades County Sheriff's Office


It is difficult to determine the amount of pages the email search will produce. We suspect it will be quite a large amount, specifically due to the words Covid-19 and coronavirus. Like everyone, we have been managing our emergency response related to this pandemic for quite some time and I expect those two words alone will be quite prevalent in Agency emails for the past three 3 plus months at least. That being said, each of those along with the other key search words must be identified, printed individually, reviewed for redaction by an administrative staff member and myself, then copied and scanned. ( As I mentioned, we are a small agency with significant budgetary constraints and do not have staffing resources or personnel assigned or dedicated to these types of tasks.)

The hourly rate will be $22.96 and $38.75 per hour for the staff resources that will complete the tasks will be incurred. The IT support will be contracted to assist and cannot be determined at this time. Additional costs associated with the coping and processing of the documents will be .15 cents per page. We project hundreds or possibly a thousand plus pages many be obtained, for the period requested. ( It just cannot be determined until the collection process is completed)

Due to the multi-jurisdictional mission of the facility detention center, we are required to abide by not only the Florida Public Records Laws but the Federal Regulations specific to the Department of Homeland Security as outlined in 8 C.F.R. §236.6 Information regarding detainees. A comprehensive redaction review will be required to ensure compliance with these requirements. Additional time may be needed in order to accurately process the request, as submitted.

From: Glades County Sheriff's Office

Just to follow up to my correspondence from June 11th Sir,

A email search has been completed referencing the search criteria you specified. The date range for the data search used the key words you identified was completed on June 12th. The search produced 147 email addresses related to the specified search criteria. Each individual email within these group addresses will require manual individual review to process. The processing entails reviewing the email and any attachments, determining if the email is a duplicate that is repeated throughout the emails, (example: notices to all employees, etc.), saving the email as a PDF file and then reviewing the PDF for possible redaction of federally protected information, and then storing the data effectively for future delivery. The search indicates that approximately 1,500 emails will need to be reviewed, identified as duplicates or not and then processed per your request. It is estimated that overt 6000 pages of documents and/or email narratives will need to be meticulously managed and processed for accuracy, efficiency and completeness.

As a result of the volume of information to the processed appropriately, approximately 30 or more days may be needed to complete this assignment as a direct result of staff being removed from their normal duties and assignments in-order to process the request. Man-hours associated with processing your request are estimated at 60 hours multiplied by an average cost of $25.00 per hour. Again, this is only a rough estimate and as it cannot be accurately reported, at this time.

We still await direction from you, per our earlier correspondence regarding the requestors financial obligations for the information request. If you have any questions we may have not answered or need any additional information, please contact us or if convenient, call me at the facility. 863-946-1600 Ext # 2103.

From: Matthew Phelan

Thank you, Chief Hanson.

In an effort to make this more manageable and effective, I am requesting that---for this preliminary phase---the search be limited to emails containing both the phrase "Mint Disinfectant" and either the words "Covid-19", "Coronavirus", "pandemic", or "pandemic response" present in either the subject or the body of the email. Secondarily, please temporarily halt the search once you reach $50.00 in billable fees.

Again, I want to thank you for your time and all the work that you do to keep the people of Glades County safe.

Warm Regards,

From: Glades County Sheriff's Office

Could you possibly give us a call at 863-946-1600 ext# 2103?

From: Matthew Phelan

That's fine by me, but it will have to wait until next week.

Please let me know a time (ideally sometime Monday through Wednesday) of next week during which you might be available.

Best Regards,

From: Glades County Sheriff's Office

Sure…… Any day next week is fine..

From: Glades County Sheriff's Office

As agreed in our verbal conversation last week, we are refining the search, per your direction. A work order has been submitted to our IT provider to process the new request. Upon notification and receipt of the new information search, I will notify you of its size and scope.

Chief Henson
Sent from my Verizon, Samsung Galaxy smartphone

From: Matthew Phelan

Thanks, Chief Henson. (Sometimes Muckrock will send cold, automated follow-up emails like this. It is moderately off-putting. I really appreciate all your help with this request.) Keep me posted, please. Best Regards, Matthew

From: Glades County Sheriff's Office

Our IT Support is attempting to duplicate the email down load you requested with the reduced key words. Their attempts have been unsuccessful. I will attempt to obtain another copy on Monday, July 20th.

From: Glades County Sheriff's Office

We have completed the review of the email search you originally requested. The secondary attempt was not successful.

We have put together the requested email search in a “pst” file that is accessible using Microsoft Exchange. The file is 1,216,209 Kb in size. We would like to transfer this to a storage media and then it can be provided to you by mail.

Current costs associated with completing this records request are noted on the attached tracking sheet for your review. ($87.20 not including storage media and shipping)

We are standing by pending your acknowledgement of the costs associated with processing your request.

From: Matthew Phelan

To Whom It May Concern:

Please find enclosed a check for $87.20 to satisfy the fee associated with the attached public records request.

Thank you.

Check sent by Michael Morisy  Staff

Pay to the order of:

Glades County Sheriff's Office
SL Office
PO Box 39
Moore Haven, FL 33471

Amount of: $87.20
  • Created
  • In Transit
  • In Local Area
  • Processed For Delivery
  • Deposited — 09/23/2020

From: Glades County Sheriff's Office

A copy of documents responsive to the request.

From: Glades County Sheriff's Office

The information is being transferred to a CD for4 forwarding to your attention………………

It should be packaged for mailing today.
Best regards,

Chief Henson

From: Glades County Sheriff's Office

The data was mailed to your attention on September 1st.