Since Massachusetts public records overhaul, more towns turning to tech solutions to handle requests

A candidate for Framingham state representative was seeking a list of all city voters who applied for absentee ballots. A reporter wanted information about Framingham Mayor Yvonne Spicer’s expenses. Insurance companies are asking for police records of clients’ car accidents.

The city of Framingham posts on its website a log of public records requests, along with the documents that were provided — such as a list of absentee voters or building project files. 

“If it’s not private information they’re requesting, if it’s basic public records they’re entitled to, they can search our database before logging a request,” said Mike Tusino, the records access officer for Framingham. “It’s a great log of what’s been done and a good resource for the community.”

Framingham is not alone.

Since Massachusetts updated its public records law last year, an increasing number of city and town clerks have been using computer software for the first time to manage public records requests. One side-effect of that shift is that more of these requests are becoming fully public on the internet, making it easier for people to search for information about city and town affairs. (Read more…)