Records obtained by REDBROWARD show Pembroke Pines Vice Mayor Iris Siple used her personal email address to conduct city business. While County ethics rules do not prohibit conducting business by personal email, Siple claimed she only conducted city business with her city email address. REDBROWARD obtained dozens of emails from Siple discussing various city issues such as traffic, garbage pickup, and police misconduct.
On July 28, 2015, Florida State Rep. Rick Stark replied to an email from Siple regarding a solidier killed in Afghanistan. From Siple’s reply, it is clear Stark questioned her use of a personal email address. Siple wrote, “It is active for personal. I use city email for city issues. firstname.lastname@example.org.” This email was sent via Siple’s iPhone using an AOL.com email address.
But dozens of emails show Siple used the AOL address, not the city email address, to discuss city issues. In January 2015, Siple used her AOL address to send lobbying disclosure forms to the city clerk’s office. Between January and June 2015, Siple used her AOL email address to send important documents to the city clerk. These documents included her letter of intent to run for re-election, her official financial report and her financial disclosure forms.
In January 2015, Siple emailed information regarding the Broward Inspector General to the Pines city attorney. In March 2015, Siple sent emails to city manager Charlie Dodge discussing incidents involving Pembroke Pines police officers. She sent emails to the Pines Police Chief discussing the “monthly scorecard for 911 communications.”
On March 22, 2015 Siple emailed a city employee seeking “help logging on to my home city computer.”
A document from the Office of the Broward Inspector General states personal emails can become public records. Usually, a public records request is made to the city clerk’s office. City employees, staff and officials would receive the request and forward the information to the person who made the request.
As witnessed in the Hillary Clinton email scandal, issues arise when an official acts as their own custodian of records.
How secure is Iris Siple’s AOL email account? How secure is Iris Siple’s home “city computer?” Is Iris Siple’s iPhone secure from hackers?
Siple is the chief administrator for the Broward Clerk of the Courts. Does she use her AOL email acccount for official Clerk of the Courts business?
Siple did not respond to requests for comment.
She faces re-election on March 15.