Public Records

How Capeless plotted succession plan

How Capeless plotted succession plan

DA pulled nomination papers to throw off reporters

DAVID CAPELESS WORKED CLOSELY with Gov. Charlie Baker to choreograph the handoff of his job as Berkshire Country district attorney to a top aide, going so far as to pull nomination papers for himself to throw reporters off the scent. Emails obtained from the district attorney’s office under the Public Records Law indicate Capeless was concerned that reporters might(...)

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Lawmakers refuse to release records

Lawmakers refuse to release records

Governor, courts met some requests despite exemption

THE LEGISLATURE, THE GOVERNOR, and the judiciary are all exempt in one way or another from the state’s Public Records Law, but the governor and the judiciary sometimes voluntarily comply with requests for information. By contrast, lawmakers take the view that their records are off-limits to the public. CommonWealth tested the willingness of officials from(...)

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On records, State Police all about delay

On records, State Police all about delay

Agency routinely rejects requests, loses on appeal

THE MASSACHUSETTS STATE POLICE are not a big fan of transparency, as the agency’s policy on public records seems to be all about delay. The State Police regularly redact documents or withhold them in their entirety from public view. The approach results in a voluminous amount of public records appeals being filed against the agency(...)

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DAs differ on expense approaches

DAs differ on expense approaches

No pattern or guide on office spending

AS A GROUP, the 11 district attorneys in Massachusetts are not big spenders when it comes to dining out or traveling on the state’s dime. But within the group, there are some wide variations. Overall, the district attorneys spent $67,012 over the course of a year on trips, meals, and related expenses, according to records(...)

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State: Wellesley can ignore public records request

State: Wellesley can ignore public records request

First-of-its-kind ruling cites harassment clause

THE STATE’S SUPERVISOR OF PUBLIC RECORDS for the first time has allowed a governmental entity to ignore a citizen’s bid for documents because the request was a form of harassment or intimidation. The ruling by Rebecca Murray dealt with Wellesley resident Ronald Alexander, who has filed more than 200 public records requests with the town(...)

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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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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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Advocates hail challenge to Baker on public records

Advocates hail challenge to Baker on public records

Governor insists court decision exempts his office from law

TWO ADVOCATES for greater government transparency are applauding the state supervisor of public records for questioning Gov. Charlie Baker’s assertion that his office is not subject to the Public Records Law. Rebecca Murray, the public records supervisor, recently balked at Baker’s refusal to cough up records and referred the matter to Attorney General Maura Healey(...)

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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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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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