DEPOSITION OF JIM
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE MIDDLE DISTRICT OF TENNESSEE
THE PUTNAM PIT, INC., and
Case No. 2:97-108
CITY OF COOKEVILLE, and
JIM SHIPLEY, in his official
capacity as City Manager of
the City of Cookeville,
THE DEPOSITION OF JIM SHIPLEY, a witness, was taken before Phyllis J. Stinson, a Notary Public and Court Reporter within and for the State of Tennessee, at the Law Offices of O'Mara & Johnson, 317 West Spring Street, Cookeville, Tennessee, on Friday, June 25th, 1998, pursuant to Agreement and the Tennessee Rules of Civil Procedure, on behalf of the Plaintiffs in this cause.
STINSON REPORTING SERVICE
P.O. Box 1417, Cookeville, Tennessee 38501
For the Plaintiffs: SAMUEL J. HARRIS, ESQ.
P. O. Box 873
Cookeville, Tennessee 38503
For the Defendants: JOHN C. DUFFY, ESQ.
Watson, Hollow & Reeves, P.L.C.
1700 First Tennessee Plaza
800 South Gay Street
Knoxville, Tennessee 37901
T. MICHAEL O'MARA, ESQ.
O'Mara & Johnson
317 West Spring Street
Cookeville, Tennessee 38501
It is stipulated and agreed that the deposition of
JIM SHIPLEY, may be taken by agreement at the Law Offices of
O'Mara & Johnson, 317 West Spring Street, Cookeville,
Tennessee, June 26th, 1998, on behalf of the Plaintiffs,
pursuant to the provisions of the Tennessee Rules of Civil
It is further stipulated and agreed that all object-
tions, except as to the form of the question, are reserved to
the time of trial; that formalities as to signature of the
witness, notice and filing are expressly waived by counsel;
that the reporter, being a Notary Public, may swear the
2 W__I__T__N__E__S__S__: P__A__G__E__
3 JIMMY DALE SHIPLEY:
4 Direct Examination by Mr. Harris: .............................................. 3
6 No. 1 (Faxes Re Public Records Requests)...................................16
7 No. 2 (Letter Dated 8-27-97 to Mr. Davidian from Mr.
9 No. 3 (Late-Filed: Report of City Employee Internet Usage)........32
10 No. 4 (Letter Dated 7-9-97 to Mr. Davidian from Mr. O'Mara)..34
11 No. 5 (City of Cookeville Activity Report)....................................37
14 the witness herein, having been first duly sworn to state the
15 whole truth, testified as follows, to wit:
18 Q. Mr. Shipley, would you state your name for the
20 A. My full name is Jimmy Dale Shipley.
21 Q. You remember you were sworn under oath this
23 A. Yes.
24 Q. And you have been deposed before. That's correct,
25 isn't it?
1 A. Yes.
2 Q. So I assume, if nothing else, you have watched this
3 morning so you are somewhat familiar with basically what a
4 deposition is.
5 A. Yes.
6 Q. Your current position is City Manager for the City
7 of Cookeville?
8 A. Yes.
9 Q. What are the duties and responsibilities of the
10 City Manager of the City of Cookeville?
11 A. The City Manager is the Chief Executive Officer of
12 the city appointed by the City Council to administrate the
13 day-to-day operations of the city.
14 Q. How long have you been City Manager?
15 A. Since November of '95.
16 Q. Who was the City Manager before you?
17 A. John Gentry.
18 Q. Okay. What did you do before November of '95?
19 A. I was City Clerk/Finance Director for the City of
21 Q. How long had you been City Clerk/Finance Manager?
22 How long did you hold that position?
23 A. Twelve years.
24 Q. Have you had any experience with computers either
25 in your current position or in your past jobs?
1 A. Yes.
2 Q. What experience did you have?
3 A. As a user in the early days on P.C.'s. It was
4 WordPerfect and Lotus. I had some experience on the City's
5 main frame computer for accounting records, payroll, and
7 Q. Have you ever been on the Internet?
8 A. Yes.
9 Q. How long have you been accessing the Internet?
10 A. About a year.
11 Q. Now, you have worked for the city government, I
12 guess, for over 12 years, basically, from what you have said.
13 Have you ever had any training, education about the First
14 Amendment, or any other constitutional rights?
15 A. No specific training, no.
16 Q. Did you ever go to any kind of training at all for
17 your positions you have held with the City of Cookeville?
18 A. I received that position with the City of
19 Cookeville based on my -I had a B.S. Degree in accounting
20 from Tennessee Tech.
21 Q. But as far as training, you know, on-the-job
22 seminars, continuing education, government employee training
23 seminars, or anything like that, do they do anything like
25 A. I have attended a lot of seminars. I do not recall
1 having training on the First Amendment.
2 Q. How do you distinguish who is a member of the
4 A. Well, members of the press, until Mr. Davidian came
5 along, were never hard to -I mean they were members of the
6 local press. We knew who they were, or they would identify
7 themselves as being from the National Banner, National
8 Tennessean, et cetera.
9 Q. So if somebody came to Cookeville and said they
10 were writing a book, would you consider them a member of the
12 A. If they were writing a book? No.
13 Q. Are you saying that someone who is writing a book
14 does not have First Amendment Freedom of Press rights?
15 A. No, I did not say that.
16 MR. DUFFY: Objection to the extent it calls
17 for a legal conclusion.
18 Q. (By Mr. Harris) In your perception in the role as a
19 government official that may have to make a determination of
20 who is a member of the press, would you officially consider
21 somebody a member of the press if they were writing a book?
22 A. It would never occur to me that they were a member
23 of the press.
24 Q. What if somebody was from the National Broadcast
25 media? Would you, in your capacity as City Manager of the
1 City of Cookeville, consider that person as being a member of
2 the press?
3 A. Yes.
4 Q. Has anybody from the National Broadcast or print
5 media ever visited Cookeville and asked for or done investi-
6 gation of stories during your tenure?
7 A. I am aware -
8 Q. During your tenure.
9 A. My tenure as City Manager or my tenure with the
10 City of Cookeville?
11 Q. Well, let's expand it. Your tenure with the City
12 of Cookeville.
13 A. I remember one occasion CNN visited Cookeville with
14 their mobile trailer. I had no contact with them.
15 Q. Let me ask you this. If, say, Dan Rather from CBS
16 News visited, would he be allowed access to Cookeville's
17 public records?
18 A. Mr. Rather would be granted the same access to
19 public records as any individual or any other member of the
20 press would be.
21 Q. Well now, what if Dan Rather is not a citizen of
22 Tennessee? Would that be some impediment to him accessing
23 public records?
24 A. Under state law, it could be an impediment to Dan
25 Rather, in my opinion.
1 Q. So the City of Cookeville, would they basically
2 card him or ask him to show some identification to show what
3 state he is a resident of or citizen of?
4 A. I wouldn't think Dan Rather would require any
6 Q. Well, don't you need to ask people to show their
7 state citizenship when they ask for public records?
8 A. No.
9 Q. You have certainly asked Geoff Davidian. Didn't
10 you ask Geoff Davidian to show some proof of state citizen-
12 A. Yes, I did.
13 Q. Why did you choose Geoff Davidian to make that
14 request and nobody else?
15 A. Because nobody else other than Geoff Davidian has
16 ever hassled city employees and demanded so much city time.
17 Q. Okay. You are saying Geoff hassled. Has he been
19 A. He has. Until the last several months, he had not
20 really been rude with me. He has -I wouldn't define him as
21 rude. I would define him as being a smart aleck, smart-
22 mouth. He always seemed to assume that we were trying to
23 hide something and always demanding we drop what we do and
24 take care of his demands.
25 Q. When has he ever asked you or anyone you know of to
1 drop something to take care of his demands?
2 A. There were several occasions when I was City Clerk,
3 and when he got his speeding ticket, that he would come into
4 my office and he would want me -he would not say, "Drop what
5 you are doing," but he would start asking questions about, "I
6 need to see this," "I need to see that," and was standing
7 there waiting on the information, waiting to see something.
8 Q. Did you ask him to leave?
9 A. No, I did not.
10 Q. So he just had to know to leave before he would?
11 You wanted him to leave, I assume, so you could get other
12 work done on that particular instance.
18 Q. Couldn't you have referred him to somebody else
19 from the City?
20 A. I did refer him.
21 Q. Did he go to that person or did he stay in your
23 A. No, on occasion he went to other people.
24 Q. Did he ever, after you told him to go talk to
25 someone else of ask him to leave, did he ever not follow your
1 instructions regarding anything?
2 A. I don't recall him not following my instructions,
16 Q. Now, previously you took a deposition on June 5th,
17 1997, and you were asked by Geoff Davidian -
18 MR. DUFFY: What page is this?
19 MR. HARRIS: I guess it's around Page 8.
20 MR. DUFFY: Thank you.
21 Q. (By Mr. Harris) You were asked previously under
22 oath, "Has he ever been rude to you?" You said no. Are you
23 changing that testimony?
24 A. No, I think I said that -I think I just answered
25 that. Lately, in the last year or so, or several months, he
1 has been rude on occasion.
2 Q. How has he been rude in the last several months?
3 A. I mean--how has he been rude? When you encounter
4 people, you think, "Man, that person is being rude."
5 Q. Can you describe what he has done to be rude, in
6 your mind, when he has been rude?
7 A. No, I cannot.
8 Q. So this is just some conclusory (ph) allegation you
9 are throwing out here. You have nothing to support it.
10 A. I wouldn't say it's an allegation. I would just
11 say it is a conclusion and impression of mine.
12 Q. That was your impression, but can you tell me what
13 specifically Geoff Davidian did or said to you that you
14 construed to be rude?
15 A. There was one instance in, I believe, January of
17 Q. Okay. Now, I'm talking about in the last few
18 months. Let's talk about what happened in January of '96.
195 Q. When you said January of '96, did you mean January
6 of '97? Based upon what you have said, would it have been
7 January of '97?
8 A. Yes, it would be '96 or '97. I would have to go
9 back and look.
10 Q. All right. If I represented to you that the
11 original Chancery Court case was in October, November,
12 roughly of '96 -
13 A. Of '96.
14 Q. -then it would be January of '97?
15 A. Then it would be January of '97.
16 Q. You subsequently took this deposition, and at that
17 time you didn't remember that incident that you now consider
18 him being rude. Is that what you're saying?
19 A. Well, he asked me point blank if I had ever thought
20 him to be rude, and I took that as a personal encounter, and
21 at that time I didn't remember any time he had been rude.
22 Q. But you're saying in the last few months he had
23 been rude. What incident are you talking about in the last
24 few months?
25 A. He has -his whole general demeanor every time he
1 comes to City Hall, and I don't really have a lot of personal
2 encounters with him, but I can hear him in the outer office,
3 and, to me, he is rude.
4 Q. How is he rude?
5 A. Once again, it is just an impression. I also have
6 a lot of employees that tell me he is rude.
7 Q. Does he use foul language?
8 A. I have not heard him use foul language, no.
9 Q. Does he yell at people?
10 A. No, he does not yell at people.
11 Q. Previously you described him as being persistent
12 and bothersome to employees. Is that basically what you mean
13 by him being rude?
14 A. No, I think persistent and bothersome does not
15 necessarily mean that he is rude.
16 Q. With what employees have you overheard these
17 conversations, without seeing, that you thought he was being
19 A. Well, with Gail Fowler, my Administrative
20 Assistant, is the main one.
21 Q. What has he said to Gail?
22 A. I don't remember the words.
23 Q. Has he insulted her?
24 A. All I know is Gail has worked for me now for three
25 years, almost three years. I knew her for a couple of years
4 Q. How does he upset her?
5 A. Just with his demeanor, his accusations that she is
6 hiding something. He would ask for a record. We would say,
7 "It doesn't exist." He would say, "Well, I have been denied
8 that record."
9 Q. Would you say that it's just that Geoff Davidian
10 makes Gail Fowler uncomfortable?
11 A. Yes, I think he makes her uncomfortable.
12 Q. He has not threatened her with violence, has he?
13 A. No, he has not.
14 Q. Geoff Davidian has asked in the past. Last summer,
15 for example, he was asking for parking ticket records. Are
16 you aware of anything involving that?
17 A. Yes.
18 Q. Did he ever come to you last July and ask to see
19 the parking ticket records, or did he go to some other
20 employee of the City?
21 A. As best I remember, he went directly to the Police
23 Q. How did you learn of his request?
1 I just know that I did find out about it.
2 Q. Who normally handles -are you familiar with the
3 parking ticket computers and your basic procedures over at, I
4 guess, Cookeville Police Department?
5 A. I wouldn't say I'm familiar with it, no.
6 Q. Do you know, is it not true, that Lieutenant
7 Honeycutt is the individual who seems to be in charge of
8 maintaining the computer?
9 A. Yes.
10 Q. Did you ever have any discussions with Lieutenant
11 Honeycutt regarding Geoff Davidian in any way about any
12 matter whatsoever?
13 A. I remember having a discussion about the 41-page
14 print-out of parking ticket violations that Mr. Davidian
15 received claiming that there was false information. I do
16 remember that.
17 Q. Now, if there is no objection to the way I have
18 done this, I have stapled together a whole bunch of faxes. I
19 don't know how many are here just yet, but this is -
20 MR. O'MARA: Are they faxes or e-mail?
21 MR. HARRIS: Thank you, Mike, or Mr. O'Mara.
22 That is correct. These are for the most part e-mails. I'm
23 not into the whole Internet world yet. Yes, these are, all
24 eight pages. I just stapled them together collectively.
25 This is a copy you all can look at (indicating). I would
1 like to make this Exhibit 1, if there is no problem with me
2 doing it this way.
3 MR. O'MARA: First off, let's clear up
4 something before you start trying to make it a record. Let's
5 make sure that we understand that whatever is written on the
6 bottom was not on the original document. That's something
7 you put on there -
8 MR. HARRIS: This is something -
9 MR. O'MARA: - when you made an exhibit.
10 MR. HARRIS: That is correct.
11 MR. O'MARA: I'm sorry, this is Mr. Duffy's
13 MR. HARRIS: Mr. Duffy, I apologize. I can
14 see Mr. O'Mara direct in my line of vision, and therefore, I
15 looked over at him.
16 MR. DUFFY: That's absolutely fine.
17 (Whereupon, Deposition Exhibit No. 1 was
18 marked for identification by the reporter, attached at the
19 end of the original transcript.)
20 MR. HARRIS: It does have Exhibit 8 marked
21 that was not on these copies, but I had grouped all of these
22 e-mails together. As we talk about each one, for the most
23 part they are correspondences back and forth between Jim
24 Shipley and Geoff Davidian. I thought as we would go over
25 these, it would be easier to make it just one exhibit.
1 MR. O'MARA: May I make a suggestion that the
2 pages be numbered somehow?
3 MR. HARRIS: Off the record.
4 (Discussion off the record.)
5 MR. HARRIS: We can go back on the record.
6 Q. (By Mr. Harris) Sometime around October 1st, 1997,
7 Geoff Davidian indicated to you that he would be coming, if
8 you want to look on Page 2 of Exhibit 1. Did you receive
9 that, Page 2 of Exhibit 1? Do you recall that e-mail
10 received from Geoff Davidian and sent to you?
11 A. On Page 2?
12 Q. Yes.
13 A. It looks like the e-mail that I -it looks like an
14 e-mail that I have received from him, yes.
15 Q. Do you recall Geoff saying that he would be in town
16 on Friday, October 3rd, 1997?
17 A. Well, it's right here in the e-mail, yes.
18 Q. I know. Do you remember that event?
19 A. Yes.
20 Q. Is it not true that Mr. Davidian told you he wanted
21 to look at parking ticket data?
22 A. Yes.
23 Q. Now, on Page 1, at the very top of Page 1 of
24 Exhibit No. 1, there is a response in Paragraph 1, an e-mail
25 dated Thursday, 2 October, 1997. Is that the e-mail that you
2 A. It looks like it, yes.
3 Q. Is there any reason or anything on here that
4 indicates maybe it's not yours?
5 A. No.
6 Q. In Paragraph 1, did you not indicate that
7 Lieutenant Honeycutt was scheduled to be out of town on
8 October 23rd?
9 A. Yes, I did.
10 Q. Why did you think Lieutenant Honeycutt and Chief
11 Benson were going to be out of town that day?
12 A. Because we had asked him if he was going to be
13 available for Mr. Davidian on that day and he said he had
14 already scheduled to be off, out of town that day.
15 Q. Did he, in fact, go out of town that day?
16 A. He did not go out of town.
17 Q. Lieutenant Honeycutt wasn't scheduled to be at any
18 kind of training for his position?
19 A. No, he was taking the day off.
20 Q. But, in fact, he changed his mind, apparently, and
21 did not take the day off.
22 A. Evidently. I do know that he did work that day.
23 Q. But at this time you told Geoff Davidian in this
24 letter, in this e-mail dated October 2nd at the top of Page 1
25 of Exhibit 1, you told Geoff Davidian that there would not be
1 anybody available for computer access to the public records;
2 is that correct?
3 A. That's what I told him, yes, based on the
4 information I had at that time.
5 Q. Now, on October 1st, on Page 2, the e-mail from
6 Geoff Davidian to you, he also asked for access to cookie
7 files; is that correct?
8 A. On Page 2 he does ask for access to computer files,
10 Q. Is that the first time you have ever received a
11 request to see the cookie files, or do you remember?
12 A. I don't remember.
13 MR. DUFFY: A request from Davidian, or
15 MR. HARRIS: Well, let's clarify that.
16 Q. (By Mr. Harris) Is that the first time you
17 received it from anyone, that you recall?
18 A. I do know that I have never had the request from
19 anyone else about cookie files, but I don't know that this
20 was the first time from Mr. Davidian or not.
21 Q. When you say anyone else, are you not aware that
22 Mike Hodges and Eli Davidian did, although probably I would
23 assume for this question, you do associate Mike Hodges and
24 Eli Davidian with the Putnam Pit; is that correct?
25 A. Correct.
1 Q. Are you aware that they also asked for the same
2 things, or do you just not know?
3 A. I'm aware that they asked for them, but I'm
4 thinking they did it after Mr. Davidian's first request,
5 whenever that was.
6 Q. I was just asking for your recollection. Okay. On
7 Page 8 of Exhibit No. 1 there is an e-mail, and it's the only
8 e-mail on that page. It says it's from Jim Shipley to the
9 Putnam Pit link on-line dot net. Do you recall writing this
11 A. Yes, I do.
12 Q. Now, Paragraph 1 says, "O'Mara's records are not
13 available in City Hall." If Mike O'Mara has city records,
14 would they still be available to a person, that you know of?
15 Would you direct them to another department or to another
16 city employee or agent who would be a custodian of those
18 A. Yes, I would.
19 Q. Likewise, in Paragraph 4 that would be the same
20 thing for Housing Authority records.
21 A. The Housing Authority operates under a separate
22 board. The City Administration of the City of Cookeville has
23 no authority over the Housing Authority.
24 Q. And that would include no authority over their
1 A. Correct.
2 Q. Now, Paragraph 6. Now, this e-mail on Page 8 is
3 dated 13 August, 1997. It deals with access to cookie files.
4 Were you responding to some written request of Geoff
6 A. Yes.
7 Q. Would that be the request on Page 7 of Exhibit 1?
8 A. I think so, yes.
9 Q. Okay. On Page 8, Paragraph 6, and it is entitled
10 Access to Cookie Files, the first sentence after the colon
11 says, "The city's computer is scheduled to be down most of
12 tomorrow, August 14th," or 8-14, which I assume means August
13 14th, correct?
14 A. Correct.
15 Q. Why did you put that remark in in response to Geoff
16 Davidian's request for records? Is it because he was going
17 to be in town that day?
18 A. It was in response to Page 7, the e-mail from
19 Geoffrey Davidian that says in the first paragraph, "I will
20 be in Cookeville on Thursday or Friday and I will alert you
21 to my intention to review the following city records at that
23 Q. So you told him that on Thursday, which would be -
24 A. Which would be the 14th.
1 Q. - that the city's computer was scheduled to be
2 down, correct?
3 A. That was what I was told.
4 Q. Do you know why the city's computer was scheduled
5 to be down?
6 A. I do not remember.
7 Q. And then you state in the next sentence on Page 8
8 of Exhibit 1, Paragraph 6, "Our computer manager is scheduled
9 to be on vacation Friday, therefore, we will be unable to
10 accommodate this request on this visit."
11 A. That's a fact. I thought giving Mr. Davidian this
12 information might save him the trip and he might want to
14 Q. This is very similar in the sense that -the
15 Computer Manager, is that Steve Corder?
16 A. Yes.
17 Q. So when Mr. Davidian asked to come in on a Friday
18 in August, the Computer Manager is on vacation, and likewise,
19 in October on another Friday the computer personnel for the
20 parking ticket records, Lieutenant Honeycutt, was not going
21 to be there. Is that just coincidence? That is not part of
22 any planned evasion, some tactic to delay and make it diffi-
23 cult for Geoff Davidian to get those?
24 A. No, it is not. No, it is not.
25 Q. You then write, "You should also be advised that we
1 will be charging you for any employee's time spent on your
2 record requests that exceed one hour research time." By what
3 authority do you indicate you would be charging him that
5 A. On the authority of the City Manager.
6 Q. No ordinance had been passed at that time?
7 A. Not at that time.
8 Q. Had you ever charged anybody else for any records
9 requests that exceeded one hour research time on that day,
10 August 13th, 1997, the date that you wrote this e-mail? Had
11 you ever charged anyone prior to that?
12 A. There were plenty of occasions when I was City
13 Clerk/Finance Director that I would make one copy of a tax
14 receipt for a taxpayer and not charge them anything. There
15 were several occasions when I was in that office that someone
16 would want several copies made, and we would charge them 25
17 cents per copy. It was -I think it's just common sense. If
18 you make one copy for somebody, you just do it, but if it
19 starts to be extensive, then you start trying to recover the
21 Q. Now, in answer to my question, prior to August
22 13th, 1997, had you ever charged anyone for research time
23 regarding a public records request?
24 A. No, I never had, because I had never had any
25 requests that required that kind of research time.
1 Q. Okay. Now, in response to access to cookie files,
2 you go on to say on Page 8 of Exhibit 1, Paragraph 6, "We
3 estimate the process for this request will take 20 to 30
4 hours of our Computer Manager's time." When you say "we",
5 who are you referring to?
6 A. Well, I'll just let that "we" refer to me and the
7 Computer Manager.
8 Q. Had you talked to Steve Corder?
9 A. I said, "Mr. Corder, how long will it take you to
10 do this?" I had no idea how long it would take. He said to
11 do all of the city's computers, 20 to 30 hours.
12 Q. Just to look at their cookie files?
13 A. That's what he told me.
14 Q. So you relied -you were writing this in reliance
15 upon what Steve Corder estimated.
16 A. Yes, sir, that's what I was doing.
17 Q. Now, the next sentence follows, "Our Computer
18 Manager makes $13.66 per hour; therefore, you will be
19 expected to pay to the City of Cookeville in advance..." By
20 what authority under the Tennessee Open Records law do you
21 have to ask for an advance deposit?
22 MR. DUFFY: Objection. It calls for a legal
24 THE WITNESS: I don't know that I have any
25 authority under that Tennessee Open Records law. I think I
1 do have the authority as City Manager to require payment for
2 extensive research and I think the way -and I was told it
3 takes 20 to 30 hours. I took exactly what that employee made
4 per hour, applied a 130 percent fringe benefit to that
5 payment, and asked Mr. Davidian to pay it in advance, and if
6 it had taken only ten hours to do it, then Mr. Davidian would
7 have been refunded.
8 Q. But you required a $327.60 deposit to do research.
9 Well, do you have any idea how Mr. Corder came to the idea
10 that it would take 20 to 30 hours?
11 A. No, I do not.
12 Q. When you wrote this, you just relied on Mr. Corder.
13 A. Yes, I did.
14 Q. What did you tell Mr. Corder specifically that Mr.
15 Davidian wanted?
16 A. I don't remember what I told him. I asked him
17 specifically. I had to know, from our Computer Manager, what
18 his estimate was of the time required to look up the cookie
19 files per the request.
20 Q. Now, have you ever gone into Windows 95, yourself,
21 and looked to see, even since this lawsuit, looked to see
22 where cookies are stored?
23 A. Yes, I have.
24 Q. How long would it take you to access Windows,
25 access your C Drive, call up Windows, and then call up your
1 cookie file?
2 A. No more than a minute, two minutes.
3 Q. So this 20 hours, if it took a minute -I mean--how
4 many computers does the city have that access the Internet?
5 A. Oh, we have about 35.
6 Q. So it could conceivably have been done in an hour.
7 A. Well, I didn't know that at that time. I might
8 add, too, you know, it doesn't take long to look them up, but
9 I don't know how long he wanted to spend looking at those
10 files that were in the cookies, looking at the information
11 that was in there.
12 Q. No, you just asked for research time at that point.
13 A. Well, research time is the time for that employee
14 to go with Mr. Davidian to each employee -I mean each
15 employee's computer -pull up the cookie files, let Mr.
16 Davidian get his information, and go to the next one. I had
17 no idea.
18 Q. Why throw out 20 hours?
19 A. I threw out 20 hours because that's what my
20 Computer Manager told me it would take.
21 Q. Are you telling me Steve Corder didn't realize that
22 it only takes a minute to look at one computer?
23 A. I wouldn't attempt to tell you what Mr. Corder
24 realized or didn't realize.
25 Q. Well, I'm trying to figure out what you would have
1 told him. He is pretty knowledgeable about computers, isn't
3 A. Fairly. Yes, he is knowledge.
4 Q. So a lot of his decision was dependent upon what
5 you told him exactly that some customer request for public
6 records of the city wanted.
7 A. I've already stated that I don't remember exactly
8 what my words were to him.
9 Q. Had you ever charged anybody else prior to this?
10 Had you ever charged anybody else 130 percent to cover
12 A. I don't ever recall having to charge anybody for
13 the employee's time, because there was never that much demand
14 on an employee's time to look something up or do something.
15 Q. Is there any reason that you believed you had to
16 charge the deposit in advance to Geoff Davidian?
17 A. Well, these were not the first encounters that we
18 had with Mr. Davidian and I felt it prudent to go ahead and
19 get the money up front, and then if it didn't take 20 to 30
20 hours, he would be refunded the difference.
21 Q. Well, why was it prudent to the get the money in
22 advance? I mean, had Geoff Davidian ever not paid you?
23 A. I don't know that Mr. Davidian had not ever paid
24 us. I do know that Mr. Davidian made numerous requests for
25 records and would not come back and pick them up.
1 Q. Approximately two weeks after the request for the
2 $327.60 deposit, you wrote this letter.
3 MR. O'MARA: First off, let's clear this up.
4 First off, let's clear this up. Mr. Shipley responded on
5 August 13th, 1997, to Mr. Davidian's transmittal, and this
6 letter is dated August 27th. By my calculations, that is
7 precisely two weeks later.
8 MR. HARRIS: I thought that's what I said.
9 MR. O'MARA: I thought you said three.
10 MR. HARRIS: Off the record.
11 (Discussion off the record.)
12 (Whereupon, Deposition Exhibit No. 2 was
13 marked for identification by the reporter, attached at the
14 end of the original transcript.)
15 Q. (By Mr. Harris) Mr. Shipley, you have what has now
16 been marked as Exhibit No. 2.
17 A. Uh-huh.
18 Q. Did you write this letter?
19 A. Yes, I did.
20 Q. And that is your signature at the bottom.
21 A. Yes.
22 Q. Or a facsimile to this copy. Did Geoff Davidian
23 ever pay you the deposit?
24 A. No, he did not.
25 Q. Did you go ahead and do the research on what cookie
1 files were?
2 A. Yes, we did.
3 Q. Without the deposit?
4 A. Well, we researched what cookie files were, not our
5 separate cookie files in all of our computers. That's two
6 different things.
7 Q. Who did the research on what the cookie files were?
8 A. My Administrative Assistant.
9 Q. Gail Fowler?
10 A. Gail Fowler did some research. That's the only
11 person I know of for sure that did.
12 Q. Steve Corder did not?
13 A. He probably did, but I don't know that for a fact.
14 Q. Do you remember or know whether either you or Gail
15 Fowler ever asked Steve Corder, "What's a cookie?"
16 A. I don't know that I did, and I certainly don't know
17 what Gail Fowler asked him.
18 Q. So in Paragraph 2 of Exhibit No. 2 your research
19 revealed that cookies files are not really the property of
20 the City of Cookeville. How did you come to that conclusion?
1 is placed on the receiving computer by the web server."
2 Q. Certain web sites when visited by somebody leave
3 cookies on a person's computer. Are you familiar with that
5 A. I know that now. I didn't at the time.
6 Q. Well, I think that goes for most of us, and I will
7 even put this on the record. We all probably didn't want to
8 hear the word, but if somebody used the Internet to visit a
9 web site and that particular web site left cookies such as,
10 say, the New York Times, then the New York Times would leave
11 a cookie on that computer; is that correct? Have you ever
12 experimented with that, to your knowledge?
13 A. I have never experimented with it. To the best of
14 my knowledge, it might or might not.
15 Q. Well, do you know whether cookies can get on
16 somebody's computer without them visiting a particular web
18 Q. Do city employees ever use the Internet access that
19 the City of Cookeville has for personal use?
20 A. I'm sure they do.
21 Q. But that would be against, not public policy, but
22 the City of Cookeville's stated policy, correct?
23 A. I don't think our personnel manual specifically
24 states that an employee shall not do any personal visit on
25 the Internet, or make personal visits on the Internet.
1 Q. I have got what appears to be a document in front
2 of me and I wasn't necessarily going to make it an exhibit,
3 but do you recall or know whether there is not a Section
4 19.02 of the City Ordinance that says, "City-owned personal
5 computers or laptops made available for work away from the
6 office are to be used exclusively for business purposes
7 during the work day. Permission must be obtained from your
8 supervisor to use personal computers during non-business
9 hours. Any and all records stored in personal computers are
10 the property of the City and as such, are subject to
11 inspection at any time." Is that not the City of
12 Cookeville's computer policy, computer and software policy?
13 A. That sounds like a section from our Personnel
14 Policy and Procedures Manual, yes.
15 Q. So when an employee uses a computer for the City of
16 Cookeville, it is subject to inspection by the supervisor of
17 the chain of command.
18 A. Yes, sure.
19 Q. Have you ever conducted inspections of anybody's
21 A. No, I have not.
22 Q. Has anybody at the City of Cookeville ever con-
23 ducted inspections of use of the Internet by any city
25 A. Yes.
1 Q. Who did the investigation of that, of the inspec-
3 A. The inspection was done by Steve Corder, Computer
4 Operations Manager.
5 Q. Who are the individuals that were -
6 A. I don't know who all the individuals were that he
7 looked at, the computers that he looked at. I don't know all
8 of them.
9 Q. Did he prepare a report of what he found?
10 A. No, he did not.
11 Q. Did he prepare any documentation of his
12 investigation and inspection?
13 A. He printed a report of that inspection.
14 Q. Would it be possible for you to provide that to me
15 as a late-filed exhibit? I think we are on No. 3.
16 A. If that exists. I don't know that it still exists.
17 I mean I don't know what he did with it.
18 Q. Did he find and let you know of any improper access
19 on the Internet?
20 A. Yes, he did.
21 Q. What type of improper access?
22 A. He found one employee that was spending an
23 extensive amount of time on the Internet.
24 Q. Did he tell you where they were -when I say
25 "where", I know it's not a physical location, but did he tell
1 you what web site this employee was visiting?
2 A. He didn't tell me. He showed me the report and
3 explained that those numbers and letters that were on that
4 report -that they were specific sites on the Internet.
5 Q. But he never said anything about somebody might be
6 accessing pornography?
7 A. He did indicate that this person had spent a lot of
8 time on pornographic sites, yes.
9 Q. Well, I'm going to skip a whole bunch of questions
10 that I don't want to ask on that. What about Brad Chambers?
11 Have you ever accessed the Putnam Pit and seen where Mr.
12 Davidian and the Putnam Pit put up an article about Brad
13 Chambers visiting some site about baseball cards?
14 A. I don't recall seeing it on the Putnam Pit. I
15 believe Brad Pit did advertise on the Internet. He did have
16 baseball cards for sale, yes.
17 Q. Do you know if he was using the City of
18 Cookeville's Internet access to access the Internet for
19 personal purposes?
20 A. I think that there is no doubt that was for
21 personal purposes. As City Manager, I had no problem with
22 it. It doesn't cost us any more for him to advertise the
23 availability of baseball cards. It might not be entirely the
24 right thing to do in some people's minds, but personally, I
25 didn't have a problem with it.
1 Q. Regardless of whether there is a problem, it does
2 seem to contradict computer and software policy, which says -
3 MR. O'MARA: Why don't you let him look at it?
4 MR. HARRIS: I thought he knew the computer
5 and software policy by heart.
6 MR. O'MARA: Let me show you the book.
7 MR. HARRIS: That's okay, Mike, I said that in
14 MR. HARRIS: Okay.
15 (Whereupon, Deposition Exhibit No. 4 was
16 marked for identification by the reporter, attached at the
17 end of the original transcript.)
18 Q. (By Mr. Harris) Now, you have in front of you
19 Exhibit No. 4. This is a letter to Geoffrey Davidian and
20 it's cc'd on Page 2 of Exhibit 4 Jim Shipley. Did you
21 actually receive this copy?
22 A. You know, I think I did. I don't know for a fact
23 that this is the exact copy of that letter, but yes, it looks
24 familiar. To the best of my knowledge, it is.
25 Q. In Paragraph 1 it states -and this letter is
1 written by T. Michael O'Mara. "If the records are kept
2 electronically, you will have a chance to look at the
3 information, as it is kept, on a computer screen." When
4 Geoff Davidian went to see Lieutenant Honeycutt about the
5 parking tickets, wouldn't it have been easier to allow him to
6 download that electronically, rather than sitting there going
7 through the screen one by one?
8 A. I don't know whether it would have easier or not.
9 Q. But as far as you know, this was your impression as
10 to what Mike O'Mara had written Geoff Davidian about access-
11 ing the City's various computer records.
12 A. Well, this letter says, "If the records are kept
13 electronically, you will have a chance to look at the
14 information, as it is kept, on a computer screen." That
15 means he will be able to look at the computer screen. At
16 least, that's the way I interpret it.
17 "If you desire a copy of printed material, a
18 photocopy will be made. If you desire a copy of information
19 stored electronically, a printout of the stored information
20 will be made for you." I don't think that says that he will
21 be allowed to sit down at our computers.
22 Q. Well, I never asked you if it says he will be
23 allowed to sit down. Basically, this whole letter is your
24 understanding as of July 9th, 1997, that this is what the
25 City Attorney, T. Michael O'Mara, told Geoff Davidian was the
1 City's policy regarding the very subject matter of this
2 letter, which is access to public records, in particular,
3 computer records. In other words, I guess what I'm simply
4 asking -you have got a copy of this, correct?
5 A. Correct.
6 Q. And as far as you know, this was sent to Geoff
7 Davidian, correct?
8 A. As far as I know.
9 Q. On Exhibit No. 1, Page 1, the first e-mail that is
10 from you to Geoff Davidian, in Paragraph 1 it is referring to
11 parking tickets, correct, the parking ticket data, records,
12 and such; is that correct?
13 A. By Paragraph 1 you mean it starts, "Lt. Honeycutt
14 and Chief Benson are scheduled to be out of town..."
15 Q. Right.
16 A. That is referring to the Police Department's
17 computerized parking violation data.
18 Q. Because the last sentence of that Paragraph 1 of
19 October 2nd e-mail from you to Geoff Davidian says, "Ms.
20 Fowler has a copy of the data you reviewed in July, if you
21 wish to see it again."
22 A. Correct.
23 Q. Why does Ms. Fowler have a copy of the data?
24 A. Because Ms. Fowler tries to keep a copy of
25 everything he reviews.
1 Q. Just Geoff Davidian, or everybody else? She keeps
2 a copy of everything?
3 A. I know she keeps a copy of some other times that we
4 have charged attorneys for copies, or whatever, for records,
5 but we like to keep a copy of everything we provide Mr.
6 Davidian, because he has a habit of coming back and asking
7 for it again.
8 Q. Well, do you keep a copy of what Dyana Bagby or
9 Mary Jo Denton, or any other reporter in Cookeville, makes a
10 public records request for?
11 A. I don't know that they have ever made a public
12 records request.
13 Q. Have you ever sent information to Becky Hammond?
14 A. I'm sure I have. I have faxed press releases.
15 Q. You have faxed press releases. Have you ever faxed
16 press releases to Geoff Davidian?
17 A. Not that I know of.
18 (Whereupon, Deposition Exhibit No. 5 was
19 marked for identification by the reporter, attached at the
20 end of the original transcript.)
21 Q. (By Mr. Harris) You have got a copy of what has now
22 been marked over here as Exhibit 5 and at the top it's dated
23 9-4-97, City of Cookeville. It has some phone number and it
24 says it's entitled Activity Report. What is this? Do you
25 know what this document is?
1 A. This is an activity report on faxes from the City
2 of Cookeville.
3 Q. Do you know -9-4-97 was the date of a City Council
4 meeting. I will represent that to you anyway. Do you know
5 what these faxes were for?
6 A. I have no idea.
7 Q. So when I go down the line, especially in the
8 fourth column under Connection ID, it says what I assume to
9 be an abbreviation for Herald-Citizen, and WHUB, WGSQ, the
10 Putnam Star, News 28, Cable Channel 6, and so on. Do you see
11 that? Were these faxes made to these news stations? Do you
12 know what these faxes were for?
13 A. No, I do not.
14 Q. Do you ever send press releases to the Herald-
15 Citizen or WHUB or the Putnam Star?
16 A. Sure.
17 Q. But you have never sent any to the Putnam Pit, have
19 A. Not that I know of.
20 Q. Well, how do you distinguish between who gets a
21 copy of a press release and who doesn't?
22 A. These are all local news media.
23 Q. Does the Putnam Pit not cover local news?
24 A. I don't know what the Putnam Pit covers.
25 Q. You have never read the Putnam Pit?
1 A. Well, I know what the Putnam Pit covers, but I have
2 not read the Putnam Pit in a long time.
3 Q. When is the last time you read the Putnam Pit?
4 A. It's been several months.
5 Q. What about back in September of '97? Did you read
6 anything back then? Do you recall?
7 A. I don't recall.
8 Q. You don't recall. But would you say, in September
9 of '97, that you knew that the Putnam Pit was a news
10 organization that was covering local news?
11 A. That it was a news organization?
12 Q. Sure.
13 A. In September of '97 I knew that the Putnam Pit was
14 a legal entity in Tennessee.
15 Q. Did you know what type of business it generally
16 carried out, what type of activity?
17 A. I think it called itself the Watch Dog for Putnam
19 Q. You knew the Putnam Pit considered itself the
20 press, correct?
21 A. Yes, I knew that the Putnam Pit considered itself
22 the press.
23 Q. But you didn't consider it the press. Is that true
24 or not?
25 A. No, I didn't consider it the press.
1 Q. Well, I'm having a little trouble. Could you
2 define who is a member of the press and who isn't? I don't
3 mean legally. I want to know how Jim Shipley and the City of
4 Cookeville decides who gets a press release and who doesn't.
5 A. Let me answer it this way.
6 Q. Sure.
7 A. I consider the Nashville Tennessean and the
8 Knoxville Sentinel, the Chatanooga Free Press, or whatever
9 they have, The Atlanta Constitution all members of the media,
10 but I did not send them any press releases on that day or any
11 other day.
12 Q. But those are news organizations in other cities
13 and don't necessarily write on -did you distinguish because
14 the Putnam Pit basically carries on a lot of its activities
15 out in Beverly Hills, California?
16 A. I don't know what I distinguished. No. 1, I don't
17 know that I even made these faxes, and No. 2, it just n ever
18 occurred to me.
19 Q. Do you know whether Geoff Davidian asked you or any
20 other employee of the City of Cookeville to have access to
21 press releases?
22 A. Yes, I think he has asked for access to press
24 Q. Did he do it before September?
25 A. I have no idea. I don't remember.
1 Q. I mean, Geoff Davidian has supposedly bothered you
2 all this time for information and everything, and yet,
3 doesn't it seem likely that he would have asked long before
5 MR. DUFFY: Object to the form of the ques-
7 MR. HARRIS: Okay. I'll strike it. You don't
8 have to answer that one.
9 Q. (By Mr. Harris) At one time you told Geoff that
10 you didn't have to give him information because he wasn't a
11 member of the press, and you relied on a definition of a
12 newspaper of general circulation; is that right?
13 A. That's correct.
14 Q. Are you telling me that Channel 28, which is listed
15 here, could not get access to public records? Is Channel 28
16 a newspaper of general circulation?
17 A. They never held themselves out to be a newspaper.
18 Q. Well, you told Geoff he couldn't get it because he
19 is not a member of the press, as you defined it. I'm trying
20 to get some idea how do you define who is a member of the
21 press? You told me who you don't think is. You have told me
22 Chattanooga is a member of the press, correct?
23 A. Uh-huh.
24 Q. You have told me the National Banner -well, if they
25 were in existence. You told me these out-of-town newspapers
1 are members of the press.
2 A. Uh-huh.
3 Q. Can you articulate why the Putnam Pit was not
4 considered a member of the press?
5 A. I cannot articulate what my reasoning was.
6 Q. That's what I want.
7 A. All right. He had one individual that was printing
8 a paper not of general circulation. He was not charging for
9 it. What if all kinds of people decided they were going to
10 be the press? In the first place, I don't think the press is
11 entitled to any more than an individual is, but Mr. Davidian
12 kept pointing to -he said he was not a resident of the State
13 of Tennessee, but our charter mentioned the press would have
14 access to our records. So how do you define the press, or in
15 this case, he said a newspaper?
16 So, to me, it was the proper thing to do, to try
17 to find some legal definition of just what is a newspaper.
18 So I relied on the TBA definition of the newspaper and, in my
19 opinion, he did not fit that definition.
20 Q. Well, what is a newspaper of general circulation?
21 Are you telling me--it's part of the print media, isn't it?
22 You knew it was part of the print media, right?
23 A. No, I didn't know. What is the print media? I
24 mean, I don't know. I mean, how do you define the print
1 Q. Well, as opposed to -you didn't think he was part
2 of the broadcast. He was not using the airways, either T.V.
3 or radio.
4 A. Well, I mean if somebody publishes a newsletter,
5 does that make them part of the news media? I mean, I don't
7 Q. Well, I would answer, but my answer would be
8 valueless in this deposition. Yes, I think, if somebody
9 publishes something in print and writes it. Let me ask you
10 this. If somebody writes something, or you sit down and you
11 write the tale of your life as City Manager of the City of
12 Cookeville, do you think you are entitled to First Amendment
13 Freedom of Press protection for that writing?
14 A. Sure, I do.
15 Q. But you don't publish on a weekly basis. Once
16 again -
17 A. No, but I don't claim to be a newspaper or member
18 of the media.
19 Q. Let me ask you this. What do you think -you
20 haven't read it recently, but what is your general opinion of
21 what is written about in the Putnam Pit?
22 A. I haven't read it recently. What is my general
23 opinion of what is in the Putnam Pit? I think the stories
24 are slanted. They are Mr. Davidian's opinion, I think.
25 That's my opinion, okay?
1 Q. What do you think of his opinion? Do you like his
3 A. I usually don't care for his opinion, no.
4 Q. You don't like it, do you?
5 A. I usually don't care for his opinion. That's my
7 Q. "I don't care" could mean many things. I want to
8 know whether you like it or dislike it.
9 A. I really don't care what he puts in the Putnam Pit.
10 I really don't.
11 Q. Did you like it when he talked about Shipley
13 A. Of course, I didn't like it.
14 Q. What about Geoff, personally?
15 A. I think Geoff is a likeable enough guy.
16 Q. Has the Herald-Citizen ever come to you and asked,
17 or any other employee of the City of Cookeville, and asked to
18 see public records?
19 A. I can't remember a specific time. I'm sure they
20 have at some point.
21 Q. Do you think they have done that in the last year?
22 A. Not to my knowledge, they have not. Well, let me
23 correct that. I do know the Herald-Citizen reporter goes to
24 the Police Department to look at arrest records every day.
25 Q. Does he have to fill out a record, he or she?
1 A. I don't know. I don't know.
2 Q. Is it fair to say that when we look through all of
3 the records for the past year for records requests, we won't
4 find one for somebody from the Herald-Citizen? Do you know
5 that there are any?
6 A. I don't know that there are any, no.
7 Q. And Becky Hammond, she has called you up and asked
8 for information and records. You have sent that over to her
9 by fax, correct?
10 A. Are you talking about a specific incident?
11 Q. No, just in general. Has she ever asked for
12 information that you sent over by fax?
13 A. I always try to provide any information anybody
15 Q. Don't you make her fill out records requests?
16 A. I don't know if she had been required to fill out a
17 records request or not.
18 Q. On the documents shown Geoff Davidian this morning
19 in his deposition, did you have a chance to look at that?
20 A. No.
21 Q. Do you have that here?
22 MR. DUFFY: What is it you want?
23 MR. HARRIS: I want to see the whole thing.
24 MR. O'MARA: Of what?
25 MR. DUFFY: Of records request documents?
1 MR. HARRIS: Uh-huh. Did the ones you made
2 copies of get back in these files?
3 MR. O'MARA: Everything is back where it
4 belongs. That was Exhibit B, or whatever it is.
5 MR. HARRIS: Can you show me? This is Exhibit
6 B (indicating.
7 MR. O'MARA: No, it's not Exhibit anything to
8 this deposition yet.
9 MR. HARRIS: No, this is--
10 MR. O'MARA: These are responses, documents
11 that were prepared by the City of Cookeville in response to--
12 MR. HARRIS: If I may finish first, this is my
13 deposition and I would like to at least finish the sentence.
14 This is Exhibit B from this morning; is that correct?
15 MR. O'MARA: No, it's not.
16 MR. HARRIS: Okay. That's what I wanted to
18 MR. O'MARA: That's what I said.
19 MR. HARRIS: Let me finish the question.
20 Q. (By mr. Harris) These are the documents that you
21 provided to the Request for Documents; is that not correct?
22 MR. O'MARA: If you have seen them.
23 THE WITNESS: What's the question? I'm sorry.
24 Q. (By Mr. Harris) We asked you and the City of
25 Cookeville, and you are named in your official capacity, to
1 provide us with all of the records requests made, public
2 records requests. Is this everything, or is there some other
3 file that would have other records requests?
4 A. I'm not aware of any other files that would have
5 any other records requests.
6 Q. Is there anything in there from the Putnam Star or
7 Herald-Citizen where some reporter was supposed to fill out
9 A. I take it, you want me to look through all of these
10 and tell you that.
11 MR. O'MARA: That's what he wants.
12 MR. HARRIS: That is correct.
13 THE WITNESS: Here is a request from Jeff Jones
14 requesting on behalf of American Way Real Estate for public
16 Q. (By Mr. Harris) Jeff Jones is not a member. Do
17 you consider him a member of the press?
18 A. No. You just want to know from any other members
19 of the press.
20 Q. Or anybody. That's fine.
21 A. Okay. He is somebody. I'm sorry. I didn't mean -
22 here is one from Thorurness. Here is one from Henry Fincher.
23 Q. Mr. Fincher is not a member of the press, is he?
24 A. To my knowledge, he is not. Angela, D-i-e-h-l, I
25 guess. Mr. Fincher was charged four hours labor, ten fifty
1 per hour, plus 177 pages at 20 cents a page.
2 Q. Did you charge Mr. Fincher in advance for the
4 A. I don't know.
5 Q. That wasn't some setup to create some bogus record
6 that you have charged a few people money, was it?
7 A. No, it was not. Here is a request to see a
8 personnel file from Mark Loftis.
9 Q. Do you know who Mark Loftis is?
10 A. He is a police officer. We have a police officer
11 named Mark Loftis.
12 Q. Do you know if there are any reporters in the area
13 that go by the name Mark Loftis?
14 A. I'm not aware of any. Here is a request from Jeff
15 Beard, Chattanooga, Tennessee. John Nesbitt.
16 Q. Do you know if he is a reporter for the Herald-
17 Citizen or not?
18 A. I do not know that he is a reporter, no. Here is a
19 request from Dan Rader.
20 Q. Do you know who Dan Rader is?
21 A. Yes.
22 Q. Who is he?
23 A. He is a local attorney.
24 Q. Is there anything on that document to tell whether
25 he was acting in a capacity of the press when he made this
2 A. No, there is not.
3 Q. So he could have been, or you doubt that. Is it
4 likely that Mr. Rader was seeking access to this information
5 in his capacity as a member of the press?
6 A. It's not likely. Here is a request from Bill
7 Trentle, T-r-e-n-d-l-e.
8 Q. Well, if it helps you, you can continue looking,
9 because I want to make sure it's thorough. You have looked
10 through a number of documents; is that correct?
11 A. That's correct.
12 Q. I would say more than 20. Have you found any
13 records requests that were completed or filled out by anybody
14 who was an employee of the press, or indicated they were an
15 employed by the Herald-Citizen, the Putnam Star, or any other
16 news media?
17 A. No, I have not.
18 Q. Do you want to continue looking?
19 A. No.
20 Q. Do you think you will find any?
21 A. There is one from the Putnam Morning Light.
22 Q. Can I see that document, please?
23 A. (Indicating).
24 Q. This document that you have shown me, is it not
25 correct that it was by Putnam Morning Light, Tanya Moody, and
1 the date of the request was 17 November,1995?
2 A. That's what is on the form, 17 November of '95.
3 Q. And you had not yet passed the ordinance, obviously
4 that was passed back in September of '97; is that correct?
5 Obviously, from the date?
6 A. Obviously.
7 Q. So that is a relatively ancient request for a
8 public record, isn't it?
9 A. Yes, but it's still a request for a public record.
10 Q. The Putnam Morning Light. Now, what happened to
11 that newspaper?
12 A. That newspaper stopped publishing.
13 Q. Well, are there any records requests in that file
14 from a newspaper that was able to stay in business, other
15 than the Putnam Pit, so far?
16 A. I didn't see any.
17 MR. DUFFY: I object to the form of that
18 question to the extent it insinuates that staying in business
19 has anything to do with the request for public records.
20 MR. HARRIS: Draw your insinuations any way
21 you want.
22 (Whereupon, Deposition Exhibit No. 6 was
23 marked for identification by the reporter, attached at the
24 end of the original transcript.)
25 Q. (By Mr. Harris) Just marked as Exhibit No. 6 is an
1 e-mail that states it is from Geoff Davidian to you. Do you
2 recall receiving this e-mail?
3 A. Yes, I think I recall receiving that e-mail.
4 Q. Now, it states that on October 15th Geoff Davidian
5 apparently asked Steve Corder, your Computer Manager, that he
6 wanted to be listed on the local link, and Mr. Corder never
7 responded to him about that. My question to you is when did
8 you first learn that Geoff Davidian was trying to link up to
9 the City of Cookeville's web page?
10 A. I don't remember the date. I would assume it is
11 somewhere on or about October 24th, 1997.
12 Q. Okay. Did you respond to this?
13 A. I don't know whether I did or not.
14 Q. Had you set any policy about local links on the
15 City of Cookeville's web page?
16 A. When this was written, had I?
17 Q. Yes, when this was written. I'm sorry, on October
18 24th, 1997.
19 A. I don't remember when I did set the policy about
20 what was on the web page.
21 Q. Was it after October 24th, 1997?
22 A. I could refer you to Page 3 of Exhibit 1, a
23 response to a fax dated 10-31, 1997, from Jim Shipley to
24 Geoffrey Davidian. "Until you asked to be linked to our web
25 page, I did not know that we were allowing any private
1 businesses to link. I have stopped that practice. I do not
2 feel the City should be allowing any links by private
3 businesses. The only links that will be permitted on our
4 page will be non-profits. Therefore, I must decline your
5 request to be linked."
6 Q. Prior to this, are you aware that the City of
7 Cookeville was pretty much or basically allowing anybody--
8 A. No, I was not.
9 Q. -to be linked to the web page?
10 A. No, I was not aware of it.
11 Q. So Mr. Corder was the only one who was setting up
12 local links.
13 A. That was Mr. Corder's responsibility and job, to
14 establish a City of Cookeville web page.
15 Q. But you had never told him to allow there to be
16 local links.
17 A. Didn't know what a local link was.
18 Q. So if there was no policy, for example, about
19 tourism and promoting what you consider to be -
20 A. I had never given it any -it had never occurred to
21 me. I didn't even know what a local link was.
22 Q. What is the criteria now about being linked to the
23 local web page?
24 A. It has to promote industry, tourism, the economic
25 welfare of the City of Cookeville. I think Tennessee Tech
1 has a link on our page, and there is one virtual community
2 information link. As far as I know, that's the only two.
3 Q. Is there a requirement that they be non-profit?
4 A. There was a requirement at the time I wrote that e-
5 mail that it be non-profit. I think it can be the virtual
6 community page, I believe, that is for profit. I don't know
7 that it is, but it is information about the City of
8 Cookeville, lodging, restaurants, theaters, all those things.
9 Q. You didn't tell Geoff Davidian, even if he was non-
10 profit, you wouldn't allow him to be linked to the City's web
11 page, did you?
12 A. State your question again.
13 Q. Okay. Did Geoff Davidian ever say, "If the Putnam
14 Pit becomes a non-profit entity -" Did he ever ask you if he
15 would then be allowed to be linked to the web page?
16 A. Yes, he did.
17 Q. Did you tell him no?
18 A. Yes, I did.
19 Q. Did you say that because, in your opinion, he
20 doesn't promote the economic welfare and all of the
21 previously stated criteria?
22 MR. O'MARA: "He" or "it"?
23 MR. HARRIS: He, the Putnam Pit.
24 MR. O'MARA: I object to the form of the
1 Q. (By Mr. Harris) All right. Did you say that
2 because you don't think the Putnam Pit promotes?
3 A. No. At the time he asked me the question, I had
4 just found out that we had four profit businesses on our web
5 page, and I have a real problem with allowing for-profit
6 businesses to be linked to the City of Cookeville's web page.
7 So that was my position, that, "Well, we will only allow non-
9 Like I say, I didn't know what a local link was.
10 This was new stuff to me, but I don't like the City of
11 Cookeville to endorse any local business, endorse any
12 attorney's practice, or air-conditioning service, or anything
13 else, and I felt like that would give the impression we were
14 doing that. That was my reasoning that only non-profit
15 entities would be on there.
16 Q. But that is not the policy today, correct?
17 A. Well, the policy today is that it is the City of
18 Cookeville's web page and we want only links on our page that
19 promote the general economic welfare, tourism, and industry
20 in Cookeville.
21 Q. Are you saying that the Putnam Pit doesn't do that,
22 doesn't promote the economic welfare?
23 A. Yes, I'm saying that.
24 Q. What makes you think that it doesn't? Careful now.
25 MR. O'MARA: We don't need for you to be giving
1 advice to my client on answering his question, Mr. Harris.
2 THE WITNESS: It is my opinion that the Putnam
3 Pit does nothing to promote the economic welfare of the City
4 of Cookeville.
5 Q. (By Mr. Harris) Well, does the Putnam Pit report
6 the State health inspection reports?
7 A. According to Mr. Davidian, they do.
8 Q. You have not seen it.
9 A. I haven't seen them in a long time.
10 Q. But if a web site was reporting State restaurant
11 inspections, that would not be the type of site you would
12 want linked to the City?
13 A. I don't know.
14 Q. Well, what do you -I'm sorry. Go ahead.
15 A. It is the City's web page. We want a link to
16 Tennessee Tech and just general information about the City of
17 Cookeville. If you're coming to Cookeville, where you stay,
18 where you eat, those type of things.
19 Q. So if the Putnam Pit put that information in their
20 web page, would they then be allowed to link up to the City?
21 A. I don't know.
22 Q. Well, you don't know? Who sets the policy for
23 linking to the web page?
24 A. Well, ultimately the City Manager does.
25 Q. And that would be you.
1 A. Yes.
2 Q. If the Putnam Pit provides the same information
3 that these other local links do, why wouldn't you allow the
4 Putnam Pit to link up to the web page?
5 A. I don't think the Putnam Pit does provide that same
7 Q. But you haven't read the Putnam Pit in a long time.
8 How do you know?
9 A. I don't know.
10 Q. Well, if Geoff Davidian submitted a request to be
11 linked to the web page, would he be allowed to be on the web
12 page, linked to the web page?
13 MR. DUFFY: Object to the form of the
15 THE WITNESS: I think the Putnam Pit would be
16 given the same consideration as any other newspaper that ask
17 to be linked to the City's news page, other for-profit
19 Q. (By Mr. Harris) If a non-profit newspaper ask to
20 be linked to the web page, under your current policy, would
21 they be allowed to link to the City's web page?
22 A. I don't know. You know, you are asking me to make
23 a snap decision. I mean, I don't know.
24 Q. Okay. Would you agree that you have a forum to
25 discuss promoting the City of Cookeville?
1 MR. DUFFY: Object to the question to the
2 extent it calls for a legal conclusion.
3 Q. (By Mr. Harris) Is this a place where businesses or
4 web pages -strike the businesses, I guess. Is this a place
5 where web pages that promote the City of Cookeville's
6 economic welfare, the tourism--is this a place where they can
7 link to the City's web page and promote their agenda?
8 A. Let me tell you why. Let me answer it this way.
9 Let me tell you why, in my opinion, the City has a web page.
10 It is to give information on the Internet about the city. It
11 is not a public forum for people to express their opinions.
12 It is not a public bulletin board for people to advertise
13 their businesses. I didn't know what a link was. I just -
14 when we set out to establish a web page, I thought it was a
15 good idea. It will put us out there on the Internet so
16 people might see Cookeville. We might get a business out of
17 it. We will promote the lakes around the area, just our
18 general community. I didn't think about a local link, but I
19 do not think it is a public forum for anything. I think it
20 is a bulletin board about the City of Cookeville. "Here we
22 Q. And this virtual community, who are they?
23 A. I really don't know who they are. All I know is
24 that when I have hit that link and gone into it, it has a lot
25 of information about what is in Cookeville.
1 Q. Have you ever accessed the Putnam Pit on-line?
2 A. Yes, I have.
3 Q. Did it have a lot of information about Cookeville?
4 A. I don't think you could say it had any -the Herald-
5 Citizen has information about Cookeville. So does the Putnam
6 Pit, but neither one of them have the information that the
7 virtual community link had about Cookeville, which was just
8 general information for the visitor to Cookeville.
9 Q. Who makes the decision? Who is the decision maker
10 that a particular web page has or does not have the type of
11 information that you are wanting?
12 A. The particular web page or the City's web page?
13 Q. To the City's web page.
14 A. The ultimate decision would be the City Manager's.
15 Q. And that would be you?
16 A. Yes.
17 Q. You basically stopped, and pardon the expression,
18 kicked off, or got rid of a lot of local links in October of
19 1997; isn't that true? Do you remember?
20 A. Well, November of '97 is probably correct, because
21 this e-mail is dated 31 October, and that is, once I became
22 aware of some of the links that Mr. Corder had added to our
23 web page, I asked that those be removed.
24 (Whereupon, Deposition Exhibit No. 7 was
25 marked for identification by the reporter.)
1 Q. (By Mr. Harris) I have in my hand what has now been
2 marked as Deposition Exhibit No. 7. It's an e-mail from Jim
3 Shipley to Geoff Davidian dated October 31st.
4 MR. O'MARA: Isn't that duplicative (ph) of
5 some of the documents already in this exhibit?
6 THE WITNESS: It's the same page as Page 3.
7 MR. DUFFY: Just get rid of it.
8 MR. HARRIS: Strike Exhibit 7.
9 Q. (By Mr. Harris) Okay. Let's go back to this
10 Exhibit No. 1 dated October 31st, 1997. Let's make sure we
11 have the exhibit numbers right. The very first sentence of
12 that e-mail states, "Until you asked to be linked to our web
13 page, I did not know that we were allowing any private
14 businesses to link." So really, you first learned about
15 local links through Geoffrey Davidian and the Putnam Pit
16 matter, and his request for a link?
17 A. Correct.
18 Q. And then within a week later, you got rid of every-
19 body who didn't- you set a policy and got rid of everybody
20 who didn't meet that policy.
21 A. I explained that I didn't think it was proper for
22 private businesses to be linked to a City's web page.
23 Q. You did that within a week, within roughly a week,
24 of this e-mail dated October 31st, 1997.
25 A. I don't recall when I did it, but I hope I did it
1 pretty soon after I learned about it.
2 Q. Do you take this lawsuit seriously?
3 A. I take any lawsuit seriously.
4 MR. DUFFY: Where did you get that question?
5 MR. HARRIS: I thought it was a standard
6 question. You asked it twice this morning.
7 Q. (By Mr. Harris) Do you think the Putnam Pit only
8 writes negative information about public officials, from your
9 reading of the Putnam Pit?
10 A. As I have stated, I haven't read it in a long time,
11 but it has been my experience that it's all negative about
12 public officials.
13 Q. How do you define negative? Is it negative because
14 it puts the public official in a bad light?
15 A. I think it's negative because it distorts the
16 truth, slants the truth, gives Mr. Davidian's opinions about
17 what has happened.
18 Q. Do you have a problem with citizens giving their
19 opinions about things?
20 A. No, I have no problem.
21 Q. But it's safe to say, by your characterization of
22 the newspaper as somebody that slants the truth, you don't
23 think highly of it, do you?
24 A. No, I don't think highly of it.
25 Q. Why does the City of Cookeville have so many
1 Internet access sites, computers that can access the
3 A. I believe we have 35. We have close to 400 full-
4 time employees. I don't know that that's so many.
5 Q. Where are the employees who access the Internet?
6 What are they using that for?
7 A. I have no idea what they all are using it for.
8 There are 10,000 uses for the Internet.
9 Q. But you don't know why. How much does the City
10 spend each month on the Internet?
11 A. I think it's a nominal amount. I don't know what
12 it is.
13 Q. But when they are on the Internet, usually they are
14 on the Internet for business purposes and they are taking up
15 City time. They are being paid by the City. Who knows what
16 they are using it for? Does anybody?
17 A. Their supervisor should know what they are using it
19 Q. You have never talked to them and said, "What are
20 your employees doing with the Internet?"
21 A. No.
22 Q. Accessing the Internet, that wasn't done in any way
23 to give them something to waste time on instead of research-
24 ing public records requests, was it?
25 A. Do you want to state that question again? I'm
2 Q. You didn't give city employees access to the
3 Internet so they could waste their time on the use of the
4 Internet instead of researching public records requests?
5 A. No.
6 Q. You don't suffer from any paranoia, do you?
7 A. No.
8 Q. You haven't received any psychological treatment
9 within the last five years?
10 A. No.
11 Q. You have not in any way tried to make Geoff
12 Davidian and the Putnam Pit's reporting and publishing more
13 difficult, have you?
14 A. No.
15 Q. But you haven't gone out of your way to help it
16 either, have you? Is that a fair characterization?
17 A. I don't know if that is a fair characterization or
18 not. I have -no, I have not gone out of my way to make it
19 hard on the Putnam Pit.
20 Q. Prior to the filing of this lawsuit, October 3rd,
21 1997, or sometime thereabouts, there was another lawsuit
22 involving Geoff Davidian against the city. That is still
23 ongoing; isn't that correct?
24 A. Yes.
25 Q. And you are named in your personal capacity in that
2 A. That's correct.
3 Q. And so is the City Attorney. He is named as a
4 defendant in that case.
5 A. That's correct.
6 Q. Now, you would definitely say that hasn't endear-
7 ed--being sued by the Putnam Pit hasn't endeared the Putnam
8 Pit to you, has it?
9 MR. DUFFY: I don't believe the Putnam Pit is
10 a party to Davidian I.
11 MR. HARRIS: I apologize.
12 MR. O'MARA: It's not in existence.
13 MR. HARRIS: Okay. I will rephrase it.
14 Q. (By Mr. Harris) Being sued by Geoff Davidian has
15 not endeared Geoff Davidian and projects he works on, such as
16 the Putnam Pit -was that something that was likely to make
17 you feel favorable about the Putnam Pit and Geoff Davidian?
18 A. No one likes to be named in a lawsuit.
19 Q. You are not enjoying this lawsuit at all, are you?
20 A. Never. I don't know that anybody ever has enjoyed
21 a lawsuit.
22 Q. I guess, to sum it up, prior to filing this lawsuit
23 in October of '97, there was a lengthy history between you
24 and Geoff Davidian and the Putnam Pit.
25 A. I have known Mr. Davidian since 1994 when he got a
1 speeding ticket.
2 Q. When you were still City Finance Manager, when you
3 held that position, you were instructed to keep a file on
4 Geoff Davidian.
5 A. No, I wasn't instructed to. I kept a file of all
6 records that he requested.
7 Q. Why did you do that?
8 A. Because he kept coming back and asking for the same
9 thing over and over, and I wanted to be able to say, "Mr.
10 Davidian, here's where we gave it to you before."
11 Q. Well, is there a problem with somebody coming back
13 A. There is no problem with it, but you get a little
14 tired of it when it occurs more than once or twice.
15 Q. Did you think he was doing that just to harass you?
16 A. I didn't know why he was doing it.
17 Q. Have you ever kept a file on any other member of
18 the press?
19 A. No.
20 Q. Have you ever been sued by any other member of the
21 local press? By local press I mean the Herald-Citizen
22 A. No.
23 Q. -or any other news broadcasting.
24 A. No, I have not.
25 Q. But your response to all of these matters involving
1 Geoff Davidian is that you have never been motivated by any
2 intent to obstruct Geoff Davidian or the Putnam Pit.
3 A. The only motivation I had is that I wanted Mr.
4 Davidian to ask for his records and be reasonable about his
5 requests, and that was it.
6 Q. Well, let me ask you this, and I only have one
7 copy, but this states at the top of it that it is a
8 Cookeville Police Department fee schedule for records
9 release. Are you aware of this policy?
10 A. I have never seen this policy written before, no.
11 Q. So nobody at the Police Department has contacted
12 you on that policy.
13 A. No. Are you talking about one, two, three, or
14 four, or all of them, or what?
15 Q. This whole page, all of the policies set forth on
16 that page. Take your time to read it.
17 A. I don't know that I have ever seen it.
18 Q. Does the City of Cookeville intend to enforce that?
19 A. Enforce what?
20 Q. Well, for example, it states that all copies of
21 accident reports and such will be charged at the rate of
22 $2.00 a report. It states that there is an overall minimum
23 charge of $2.00. Are you aware that within the last couple
24 of days Geoff Davidian was getting a photocopy of one page
25 and was told he had to pay $2.00, regardless? Are you aware
1 of that?
2 A. No, I am not.
3 Q. Let me ask you this. Because the Police Department
4 certainly wouldn't be setting up some sort of costly records
5 retrieval system to continue to harass Geoff Davidian and
6 make it more costly for him to investigate the City of
7 Cookeville government, would it?
8 A. No.
9 Q. There is no set policy on that strategy tactic?
10 A. The Police Department has always charged $2.00 for
11 copies of accident reports. I do know that.
12 Q. On September 4th there was a City Council meeting.
13 MR. O'MARA: What year?
14 MR. HARRIS: 1997. - at which you introduced
15 what is, I guess, now the current public records request. I
16 can either play the tape or summarize it for you.
17 MR. O'MARA: I have no idea what your question
18 is. Do you have a question of the witness?
19 MR. HARRIS: My question points out there are
20 things on here that Mr. Shipley states. I would kind of like
21 to know what he meant by them. It might be easier -
22 MR. O'MARA: Do you have a transcript?
23 MR. HARRIS: No, we could play it. Nah, I
24 don't need to play it.
25 Q. (By Mr. Harris) Let me ask you this. On that
1 night you said there was one individual.
2 MR. O'MARA: Do you want to play it?
3 MR. HARRIS: Nah, that's all right.
4 MR. DUFFY: There is a player right up there
6 Q. (By Mr. Harris) We will do it to the best of your
7 recollection. If you don't remember - On that night, if you
8 remember, you basically stated at the City Council meeting
9 when you were introducing the first reading of this public
10 records request, you stated that there was one individual who
11 had been costing the City a lot of money. Now, I'm para-
12 phrasing. Do you remember what individual you were referring
14 A. Yes, I do.
15 Q. Who was that?
16 A. Geoffrey Davidian.
17 Q. There was also a comment about the Herald-Citizen,
18 or at least somebody named Dyana. Do you remember that
19 night? Was that Dyana Bagby that would have been at that
21 A. She attends a lot of meetings. She probably was
22 there that night.
23 Q. So has it ever been your intention not to apply
24 this public records request with the charges, the 130 percent
25 charge and all that -you know what I'm talking about, right?
1 A. (Indicating).
2 Q. Has it ever been your intention not to apply that
3 to the Herald-Citizen?
4 A. It has never been my intention not to apply it
5 fairly to everybody.
6 Q. Have you ever applied it to the Herald-Citizen?
7 A. They have never given me any occasion to apply it
8 to them.
9 Q. The Putnam Star, same thing?
10 A. Same thing.
11 Q. Now, we have talked about cookies. You know that
12 Geoff Davidian subsequently came in on November 3rd and asked
13 to see what I'm going to call Internet files, which would be
14 any documentation that shows where somebody has been on the
15 Internet. Are you familiar with that aspect of the
17 A. I don't know if I know exactly what you're talking
19 Q. Go ahead.
20 A. Explain a little further, please.
21 Q. Well, is it true or not that on October 31st, 1997,
22 Geoff Davidian and the Putnam Pit sent a request by e-mail to
23 inspect the City's Internet files, which includes browser
24 files, cache files, c-a-c-h-e, in addition to the cookies.
25 Do you remember that?
1 A. Do you have a copy of that fax?
2 Q. I don't think so. Is it fair to say this, from
3 your recollection, that Geoff Davidian subsequent to the
4 initiation of this lawsuit, has come back in and ask the City
5 to see Internet files?
6 A. Yes.
7 Q. In addition to cookies.
8 A. Correct.
9 Q. And you did not let him see them.
10 A. I believe my response was that they do not exist,
11 that they are deleted from our computer.
12 Q. On November 3rd, do you know whether, in fact,
13 although this was probably the result of a discussion between
14 me and Mr. O'Mara, do you know whether or not Geoff Davidian
15 was allowed to see one computer to show him that the Internet
16 files were deleted?
17 A. I let him look in mine one time. I don't know if
18 that was November 3rd.
19 Q. But you do recall one time where you let him look?
20 A. Yes, that was in an effort to try to be coopera-
22 MR. HARRIS: That's it.
23 (Whereupon, the deposition of JIMMY DALE
24 SHIPLEY was concluded at the approximate hour of 5:15 p.m.,
25 on Thursday, June 25, 1998.)
2 STATE OF TENNESSEE
3 COUNTY OF PUTNAM
4 I, PHYLLIS J. STINSON, a Court Reporter and
5 Notary Public in and for the State of Tennessee at Large, DO
6 HEREBY CERTIFY the foregoing deposition was taken at the time
7 and place set forth in the caption hereof; that the witness
8 herein was duly sworn on oath to testify the truth; that the
9 proceedings were stenographically reported by me, and the
10 foregoing pages constitute a true and correct transcript of
11 said deposition to the best of my ability.
12 I FURTHER CERTIFY that I am not a relative or
13 employee or attorney or counsel of any of the parties hereto,
14 nor a relative or employee of such attorney or counsel, nor
15 do I have any interest in the outcome or the events of this
17 IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto affixed my
18 official seal and signature this 3rd day of July, 1998, at
19 Cookeville, Putnam County, Tennessee.
20 My Commission expires November 20, 2000.
Phyllis J. Stinson
Notary Public at Large
State of Tennessee
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