From Telegram: STURBRIDGE — Selectmen in April violated the state’s Open Meeting Law when they met in an executive session and eliminated a position in the Fire Department.
Hanne Rush, assistant attorney general in the Division of Open Government in the office of Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley, ruled that the board’s decision to discuss and then vote to eliminate an assistant to the fire chief position was illegal.
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From Lowellsun.com: BOSTON — Area lawmakers are hoping a series of proposed bills will provide better and cheaper public access to government records by moving the costly and time consuming paper chase online.
“Electronic copies should be able to download and people can take what they want,” said Rep. Dave Nangle, D-Lowell, a member of the Joint Committee on State Administration and Regulatory Oversight, which met last month to consider ways to speed access to public records.
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From Boston Herald: Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis praised the sunlight of public scrutiny as “the best of disinfectants.” The dark and dusty corners of Massachusetts government need far more sunshine.
The commonwealth enacted its public records law in 1966, the same year Congress passed the Freedom of Information Act. While the world looks very different than it did in the age of LBJ and Gov. John Volpe, our public records law becomes more antiquated each year, leaving far too many avenues for officials to avoid disclosure.
Read More… from Opinion: State often keeps public in dark
From Patriot Ledger: BOSTON — News media representatives lobbied a legislative committee Tuesday, hoping to relegate to history the current, often slow and expensive process of obtaining official government records.
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From The Boston Globe: BOSTON (AP) — Massachusetts lawmakers are weighing bills designed to make it easier for the public to obtain state records.
Among the bills are proposals to increase access to public records in an electronic format or over the Internet, rather than with paper copies.
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From Masslive.com: PALMER – The Attorney General’s Office has declined to investigate an Open Meeting Law complaint against the Palmer Redevelopment Authority lodged by Paul E. Burns regarding what he said were violations of requirements for quorums and for posting meetings, as well as the use of remote participation when it had not been formally adopted.
Read More… from Mass. Attorney General’s Office declines to investigate Open Meeting Law complaint against Palmer Redevelopment Authority
From The Boston Globe: BOSTON (AP) — The state Attorney General’s Office will hold three educational forums on the Open Meeting Law throughout the state next month.
The forums are part of an effort by Attorney General Martha Coakley to help public boards understand and comply with the requirements of the law. State, local, regional and county public boards are required to comply with the law.
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From The Valley Patriot: Records obtained by the Valley Patriot reveal that Lawrence Mayor William Lantigua has spent a stunning amount of state taxpayer’s money, ($32,178.51) to fight the release of public records regarding legal bills and rental payments to a private law firm representing the City of Lawrence on worker’s compensation claims.
Read More… from Lantigua spends $32,178 of taxpayers money to fight $61 public records request
From The MetroWest Daily News:
Transparency laws are meant to make government officials’ actions and decisions open to the public to hold leaders accountable and ensure that citizens can play an active role in the democratic process.
Read More… from All about Sunshine Week
From New England First Amendment Center:
Emails dealing with public business sent or received by public
officials from their personal email accounts are public records,
according to a ruling by the Massachusetts secretary of state.
Read More… from Lawrence, Mass. official seeks city councilor’s personal emails