Monday, October 29, 2007

CLT Receives Response to
its Public Records Request of Gov. Patrick


On January 18, 2007, Governor Deval Patrickís administration released a statement with the heading "Governor Patrick, Secretary Kirwan Direct Departments to Identify Savings."

Thinking that these suggestions might come in handy if there was an attempt during the budget process to raise taxes, CLT filed a Freedom of Information request (a PDF file) on January 30th.

This request was rejected so we filed an appeal on February 13th with Mr. Alan Cote, Supervisor of Public Records in the Secretary of Stateís office.

Mr. Cote called last week to inform us that the information was being sent by the Governorís office. On Friday CLT received 258 pages, with a cover letter from Michael Pineault, the governorís Deputy Chief Counsel.

We were told the Office of the Governor is not legally subject to disclosure under the public records law, but that "it is the practice of the Office voluntarily to consider and to respond to public records requests on a case-by-case basis." It was also stated that the governorís office had no such records, but that we would receive the requested documents from the Office for Administration and Finance.

While we do not agree that the governor is immune from the public disclosure law, we are happy to finally receive the information and thank the governorís office for mailing it to us. We also want to express our thanks to Alan Cote for his responsiveness and effort.

Our immediate intent is to get copies of the material to the State House News Service, which had also requested them. As long-time subscribers to the SHNS, we were concerned that the media could be and was being denied information on budget issues, so we decided to appeal the denial and share the information if we could get it.

If the issue of new taxes for the state budget arises, we now have many suggestions for savings that we can share after comparing the suggestions to the new budget recommendations.

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