Colman M. Herman

Guest Contributor

Stories by Colman M. Herman

Does web browsing leave a public record?

Does web browsing leave a public record?

Dispute with Baker administration heads to Healey

THE STATE’S SUPERVISOR of public records says a state employee’s web browsing history is a public record, and has asked Attorney General Maura Healey to order the Baker administration to turn the information over to a reporter. The case represents another attempt by state officials to determine what a public record is in an increasingly(...)

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Walsh plays hardball at Quincy Market

Walsh plays hardball at Quincy Market

Mayor seeks to redo lease for higher return

BOSTON MAYOR MARTY WALSH is trying to play hardball with the company that owns the lease on Faneuil Hall Marketplace. City officials and heavily redacted emails obtained under the Public Records Law confirm that the city, which owns the marketplace, is attempting to renegotiate the terms of the lease, which dates back to 1975 and(...)

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Public records harassment tough sell

Public records harassment tough sell

Enforcement rare on statute aimed to give communities relief

WELLESLEY RESIDENT RONALD ALEXANDER seems to be exactly the sort of guy lawmakers had in mind when they included a harassment provision in the new Public Records Law. Alexander has filed more than 200 public records requests with Wellesley since 2013. He has filed 162 requests with the school department and school committee, 40 with(...)

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Authorities offer financial help to state

Authorities offer financial help to state

3 agencies provide $69.5m for deficit effort

Gov. Charlie Baker is asking some of the state’s independent authorities for help in balancing the fiscal 2017 budget, but it appears only three have stepped forward. The Massachusetts Development Finance Agency agreed to provide $17.5 million and the Massachusetts Housing Finance Agency is contributing $5 million, for a total of $22.5 million. The MBTA(...)

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Tracking assisted living ‘incidents’

Tracking assisted living ‘incidents’

Half of reports were filed late with state

Massachusetts assisted living facilities reported 305 cases of abuse, neglect, and exploitation involving residents in 2015 – and half of the reports were filed late. Reports are supposed to be filed with state officials within 24 hours of the incident, but the data indicate 155 came in late. Most came in fairly quickly after the(...)

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Baker public records stance referred to Healey

Baker public records stance referred to Healey

Galvin’s office urges AG to compel governor’s compliance

THE STATE’S SUPERVISOR OF PUBLIC RECORDS said Gov. Charlie Baker failed to comply with an administrative order to produce documents and referred the matter to Attorney General Maura Healey for action. The referral to Healey’s office marks a new direction for the public records office, which reports to Secretary of State William Galvin. Baker and(...)

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Baker’s ‘streamlined’ diversity disclosures

Baker’s ‘streamlined’ diversity disclosures

Overall numbers are good, but no breakdown for his office

Gov. Charlie Baker is doing slightly better than his predecessor in recruiting blacks, Hispanics, and Asians to work in the executive branch, but the way his administration goes about presenting demographic data makes it impossible to learn how individual agencies are faring, including his own office. A recent report from the state Office of Diversity(...)

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Nickeled and dimed

Nickeled and dimed

Dartmouth officials give little in public records requests

THE TOWN OF Dartmouth is certainly a stickler for the rules, unwilling to forego a nickel copying fee for a document disclosing a legal settlement involving hundreds of thousands of dollars. CommonWealth sent a public records request to Town Administrator David Cressman for a copy of a settlement agreement between Dart-mouth and its former police(...)

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MassHousing conflict?

MassHousing conflict?

Official failed to disclose ties to father, girlfriend

THE STATE’S CONFLICT of interest law seems pretty straightforward. A public official may not participate in any matter in which she or a member of her immediate family has a financial interest. But real life, as illustrated by a situation at the Massachusetts Housing Finance Agency, is rarely that simple. CommonWealth received a tip recently(...)

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Baker’s record on records

Baker’s record on records

Governor withheld documents in 33 instances

Over the past two years, Gov. Charlie Baker has responded to 33 requests for public records by either withholding the information in its entirety or releasing it in redacted form. Baker’s record on records requests, which itself was obtained through a public records request, aligns with his view that his office is not subject to(...)

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