Lawyer for Barwin contends few emails are missing from Sarasota public servers
By: Nicole Rodriguez – Staff Writer
SARASOTA — A partial examination of City Manager Tom Barwin’s personal Gmail account revealed the top administrator’s personal email account contained more than 100 public records he failed to forward to the city.
Barwin’s Palm Beach Gardens-based attorney Lloyd Schwed and the city on Monday evening released a batch of 390 emails out of more than 16,000 from Barwin’s personal account from Nov. 22, 2017, to June 30, 2018, as part of a comprehensive exam Schwed’s firm is conducting of Barwin’s Gmail account. Schwed said his staff has retrieved roughly 53,000 emails from Barwin’s Gmail account going back to 2012 and is meticulously sifting through the messages to identify public records in an analysis that should be complete by Oct. 1 and released in phases. The examination and public release follows revelations last month of Barwin’s extensive use of his personal email account related to city matters.
In the firm’s review of the first batch of Barwin’s emails, Barwin’s lawyers claim more than 97.5 percent were personal and did not qualify as public records. Of the 390 emails that might be construed as public records, 217 — or nearly 56 percent — are already on the city’s computer server and/or were previously produced in response to records requests, Schwed said in a statement the city released Monday.
“Thus far in the evaluation process, the city’s outside counsel has not found evidence that the city manager has engaged in any incidents, pattern or practice of transacting official city business through personal email,” Schwed said.
But 173 of the emails that could be considered public records may not have been saved on the city’s computer server, Schwed said.