Public documents law needs to be addressed in Cohasset

This is not a new issue. In fact, it is a very old issue, and it needs to be resolved.

Many years ago if reporters wanted to see the Selectmen’s correspondence they could arrive at the Selectmen’s office on any day and see what nasty letters and/or reports had arrived that were placed in a hard copy file. Not so today. Most of the mail Selectmen receive come via e-mail. Those public records are not available unless someone hears about them or a selectmen or the board makes it known to the press, or the issue is discussed at a Selectmen’s meeting.

If you send a letter to all five members of the Board of Selectmen, that letter is a public document as soon as it is received. And it should be able to be read on-line.

A few weeks ago Mariner Columnist John McSheffrey sent an e-mail to the BOS and Town Manager Chris Senior about Senior’s choice for Permanent Police Chief having showed up at Annual Town Meeting and how McSheffrey thought the individual was out of line in having done so.

We heard via the grapevine that McSheffrey had written the public e-mail and that Senior had a really great response to it. We called the Selectmen’s office and asked for McSheffrey’s  and Senior’s response. The Selectmen’s office eventually released both, but not without some pull-back. And I was ordered to put in a request for the same. This is wrong. These are public documents and I should be able to see them, whether I know they exist or not. I should not have to request them or write a letter. They should be available.

The matter of public documents and their availability to the press needs to be attended to now.

Further, people like John McSheffrey and everybody else need to be advised that when they write or e-mail all five members of the BOS their letter is public.  It can be reprinted on a blog, in a newspaper, and be discussed, without their permission.

Steve Gaumer, newly elected chair of the Board of Selectmen, should address this matter early on.






© Copyright 2015 Tanna K, All rights Reserved. Written For: Tinytown Unleashed