Purchase card records, 6 forests, 2016-present

John R. Roby filed this request with the U.S. Forest Service of the United States of America.
Tracking #

2020-FS-R3-05783-F, 2020-FS-R2-05810-F

2020-FS-R3-05783-F

Status
Completed

Communications

From: John R. Roby


To Whom It May Concern:

Pursuant to the Freedom of Information Act, I hereby request the following records:

Purchase records between Jan. 1, 2016 and the date this request is fulfilled for all credit or debit cards used by employees of:

* Lincoln National Forest
* Carson National Forest
* Cibola National Forest
* Santa Fe National Forest
* Gila National Forest
* Rio Grande National Forest

I further request a copy of current policy/policies on the use of credit or debit cards by employees of those forests. I'm requesting machine-readable data (.csv, Excel or similar) if the data exist in that form. I make this request as a journalist reporting for the website Public New Mexico dot-com.

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 20 business days, as the statute requires.

Sincerely,

John R. Roby

From: U.S. Forest Service

Dear John Roby,

After reviewing your request we are referring this to our Region and Region 2 FOIA office for processing. They will reach out to you for any clarification needed to process this request. If you have any questions you may send them to sm.fs.r3foia@usda.gov<mailto:sm.fs.r3foia@usda.gov> or sm.fs.r2foia@usda.gov<mailto:sm.fs.r2foia@usda.gov> .
Thanks,

USFS WO FOIA Team

From: U.S. Forest Service

Good morning Mr. Ruby,

We have entered your request and it has been assigned tracking number 2020-FS-R3-05783-F. Please use this number when referencing your request.

We have some concerns about the scope as written. Are you interested in all credit card payments, including those used to purchase fuel for fleet vehicles (which are assigned to vehicles) or specifically the purchases made by employees with their assigned purchase cards? Or are you interested in both?

Prior to sending the request out for search, we want to make sure we are looking for the information you are really interested in. Purchase cards are used for a variety of payments like include tuition, office supplies, and travel related purchase costs.

If you could identify what specific purchases and card uses you are interested in, that will help us to provide the information you are seeking.

There is a backlog when it comes to review at the regional office and requests are processed in first in, first out order. There are currently 50-60 requests ahead of yours in the queue, so depending on the volume of documents and the complexity of review it could be months or possibly over a year before your request reaches the top of the queue, review is done, and the request completed.

The clearer you can make the scope of your request, the easier it will be for us to pinpoint our search for the specific items you are interested in. This will reduce the time needed to search and review the responsive items. The larger the amount of responsive documents, the longer the review will take and the longer it will take to complete your request.

If the number of pages of responsive documents exceeds what can be reviewed in several hours, your request will be added to the complex queue. It will remain in the complex queue until those proceeding it are completed. Please be advised, we are still working on requests from 2017 and 2018 in the complex queue, all of which will proceed the review of this request if it is placed in the complex queue.

If you want to receive records in a more timely manner (1-2 months), you may want to streamline your request as much as possible to keep the number of responsive pages to just those you are really interested in, to reduce the time needed for review and keep your request in the simple queue. Asking for a smaller amount of documents now, will not prevent you from asking for additional material at a later date.

The FOIA specifies two requirements for a request for records to be considered a valid, "perfected" request: (1) It must "reasonably describe" the records requested and (2) it must be made in accordance with the agency's published FOIA regulations. After careful review of your FOIA request, the Forest Service has determined that your request does not specifically identify the records which you are seeking. Records must be described in reasonably sufficient detail to enable government employees who are familiar with the subject area to locate records without placing an unreasonable burden upon the agency. See 7 C.F.R. § 1.5(b), and Forest Service Handbook 6209.13. Where possible, a requester should supply specific information regarding dates, titles, names of individuals, names of offices, and name of agencies or organizations that may help identify the records. The FOIA does not require an agency to create new records, answer questions posed by requesters, or attempt to interpret a request that does not identify specific records.

Please resubmit your request containing a reasonable description of the records you are seeking. As written, we are unable to determine what you seek and we would not be certain we would construe the scope of your request as you expect. Upon receipt of the requested information, you will be advised as to the status of your request.

In the event that we do not hear from you within 20 business days from the date of this letter, we will assume you are no longer interested in this FOIA request, and the case will be administratively closed. Please be advised that this action is not a denial of your request and will not preclude you from filing other requests in the future.

Please contact me if you would like to discuss your request for any reason.

Thank you,

Alisha

[Forest Service Shield]
Alisha Daniel
Government Information Specialist
Forest Service
Southwestern Region
p: 505-842-3172
alishadaniel@usda.gov<mailto:alishadaniel@usda.gov>
333 Broadway Blvd., S.E,
Albuquerque, NM 87102
www.fs.fed.us<http://www.fs.fed.us/>
[USDA Logo]<http://usda.gov/>[Forest Service Twitter]<https://twitter.com/forestservice>[USDA Facebook]<https://www.facebook.com/pages/US-Forest-Service/1431984283714112>
Caring for the land and serving people

From: John R. Roby

Hello Alisha and thank you very much for allowing me to clarify. I am actually not interested in purchases for fleet vehicle cards, but only in purchases made by employees with their assigned purchase cards.

Therefore I'd like to amend the request thusly:

Purchase records made by employees with their assigned purchase cards between Jan. 1, 2016 and the date this request is fulfilled for employees of:

* Lincoln National Forest
* Carson National Forest
* Cibola National Forest
* Santa Fe National Forest
* Gila National Forest
* Rio Grande National Forest

I further request a copy of current policy/policies on the use of purchase credit or debit cards (not fleet vehicle cards) by employees of those forests. I'm requesting machine-readable data (.csv, Excel or similar) if the data exist in that form. I make this request as a journalist reporting for the website Public New Mexico dot-com.

From: U.S. Forest Service

Your message was received in the Rocky Mountain Regional Office of the Forest Service electronic FOIA mailbox. This is an automated message, please do not reply. If a response is required by the Forest Service, it will be forthcoming.

This electronic message contains information generated by the USDA solely for the intended recipients. Any unauthorized interception of this message or the use or disclosure of the information it contains may violate the law and subject the violator to civil or criminal penalties. If you believe you have received this message in error, please notify the sender and delete the email immediately.

From: U.S. Forest Service

Good afternoon Mr. Roby,

Thank you for the clarification regarding the records you are interested in. Your request for region 3 was assigned FOIA Number 2020-FS-R3-05783-F. We accept your clarified request as written and will begin processing your request. We will search for information on:

Purchase records made by employees with their assigned purchase cards between Jan. 1, 2016 and the date this request is fulfilled for employees of:

* Lincoln National Forest
* Carson National Forest
* Cibola National Forest
* Santa Fe National Forest
* Gila National Forest
I further request a copy of current policy/policies on the use of purchase credit or debit cards (not fleet vehicle cards) by employees of those forests.
The * Rio Grande National Forest is not part of our region and will not be included in our search. You should hear from the Region 2 FOIA office in a separate communication.
Your requester category has been evaluated as “all others.” We do not anticipate generating fees in excess of the two hours of search and 100 pages of duplication related to all other entitlements.
We believe we can search and provide the requested records within the 20 day statutory time limit.

Pursuant to our Region’s policy, we will provide all non-exempt responsive records on a compact disc in electronic format or via an email attachment, depending on the amount of responsive material. Any responsive records will be reviewed, and could possibly be redacted or withheld pursuant to FOIA Exemptions including (b)(5), (b)(6) and (b)(7).

Please contact me if you have any questions or concern related to your request.

Thank you,

Alisha

[Forest Service Shield]
Alisha Daniel
Government Information Specialist
Forest Service
Southwestern Region
p: 505-842-3172
alishadaniel@usda.gov<mailto:alishadaniel@usda.gov>
333 Broadway Blvd., S.E,
Albuquerque, NM 87102
www.fs.fed.us<http://www.fs.fed.us/>
[USDA Logo]<http://usda.gov/>[Forest Service Twitter]<https://twitter.com/forestservice>[USDA Facebook]<https://www.facebook.com/pages/US-Forest-Service/1431984283714112>
Caring for the land and serving people

From: John R. Roby

Thank you Alisha for the updates, this all sounds good to me and I look forward to hearing back.

John

From: U.S. Forest Service

Your message was received in the Rocky Mountain Regional Office of the Forest Service electronic FOIA mailbox. This is an automated message, please do not reply. If a response is required by the Forest Service, it will be forthcoming.

This electronic message contains information generated by the USDA solely for the intended recipients. Any unauthorized interception of this message or the use or disclosure of the information it contains may violate the law and subject the violator to civil or criminal penalties. If you believe you have received this message in error, please notify the sender and delete the email immediately.

From: U.S. Forest Service

Good Afternoon,

Please find attached an acknowledgement letter from the Rio Grande National Forest for John Roby via MuckRock News.

The FOIA Tracking Number is 2020-FS-R2-05810-F, please include this tracking number in any correspondence for ease of tracking.

The FOIA request was received on 08/13/2020 and is in progress for processing and compilation. The request specified interest in purchase records for assigned personnel credit/debit cards as well as current policies for the use of credit/debit cards, not including fleet vehicle cards.

Thank you for your interest in the matter requested.

[Forest Service Shield]
Guy E. Blackwolf, B.S. Wildlife Science; B.S. Rangeland Resources
NEPA Planner
Forest Service
Rio Grande National Forest, Supervisor's Office
p: 719-852-6270
f: 719-852-6250
guy.blackwolf@usda.gov<mailto:guy.blackwolf@usda.gov>
1803 W. U.S. Highway 160
Monte Vista, CO 81144
www.fs.fed.us<http://www.fs.fed.us/>
[USDA Logo]<http://usda.gov/>[Forest Service Twitter]<https://twitter.com/forestservice>[USDA Facebook]<https://www.facebook.com/pages/US-Forest-Service/1431984283714112>
Caring for the land and serving people

This electronic message contains information generated by the USDA solely for the intended recipients. Any unauthorized interception of this message or the use or disclosure of the information it contains may violate the law and subject the violator to civil or criminal penalties. If you believe you have received this message in error, please notify the sender and delete the email immediately.

From: U.S. Forest Service

Good Afternoon, please find attached the responsive records from the Rio Grande National Forest (RGNF), regarding the FOIA request from John Roby, tracking # 2020-FS-R2-05810-F. The request was for employee purchase card information (179 pages) from 2016 to 2020.

The second document is the Agriculture Acquisition Regulation (AGAR) that was also requested (182 pages). All PDFs are searchable.

We are processing a final letter of response that will outline the appeal process including instruction regarding the COVID-19 protocol during the pandemic.

This letter will be emailed similarly through MuckRock requests as soon as we can.

Thank you for your interest in the subject of request!

[Forest Service Shield]
Guy E. Blackwolf, B.S. Wildlife Science; B.S. Rangeland Resources
NEPA Planner
Forest Service
Rio Grande National Forest, Supervisor's Office
p: 719-852-6270
f: 719-852-6250
guy.blackwolf@usda.gov<mailto:guy.blackwolf@usda.gov>
1803 W. U.S. Highway 160
Monte Vista, CO 81144
www.fs.fed.us<http://www.fs.fed.us/>
[USDA Logo]<http://usda.gov/>[Forest Service Twitter]<https://twitter.com/forestservice>[USDA Facebook]<https://www.facebook.com/pages/US-Forest-Service/1431984283714112>
Caring for the land and serving people

This electronic message contains information generated by the USDA solely for the intended recipients. Any unauthorized interception of this message or the use or disclosure of the information it contains may violate the law and subject the violator to civil or criminal penalties. If you believe you have received this message in error, please notify the sender and delete the email immediately.

From: U.S. Forest Service

Good Morning,

Please find attached the final letter regarding FOIA # 2020-FS-R2-05810-F outlining your appeal rights with instructions according to the current COVID-19 protocol in place at this time.

Thank you,

[Forest Service Shield]
Guy E. Blackwolf, B.S. Wildlife Science; B.S. Rangeland Resources
NEPA Planner
Forest Service
Rio Grande National Forest, Supervisor's Office
p: 719-852-6270
f: 719-852-6250
guy.blackwolf@usda.gov<mailto:guy.blackwolf@usda.gov>
1803 W. U.S. Highway 160
Monte Vista, CO 81144
www.fs.fed.us<http://www.fs.fed.us/>
[USDA Logo]<http://usda.gov/>[Forest Service Twitter]<https://twitter.com/forestservice>[USDA Facebook]<https://www.facebook.com/pages/US-Forest-Service/1431984283714112>
Caring for the land and serving people

Files

pages

Close