|Submitted||Oct. 24, 2017|
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To Whom It May Concern:
Pursuant to the Massachusetts Public Records Law, M.G.L. c.66, §10, I hereby request the following records:
Any settlement agreements, or consent agreements reached between the agency and any of its employees to settle claims or disputes in the year of 2016. These claims and disputes may involve matters including but not limited to disciplinary or other actions taken or contemplated with regard to the employee, as well as compensation and benefits due that employee.
I also request that, if appropriate, fees be waived as we believe this request is in the public interest, as suggested but not stipulated by the recommendations of the Massachusetts Supervisor of Public Records. The requested documents will be made available to the general public free of charge as part of the public information service at MuckRock.com, processed by a representative of the news media/press and is made in the process of news gathering and not for commercial usage.
I expect the request to be filled in an accessible format, including for screen readers, which provide text-to-speech for persons unable to read print. Files that are not accessible to screen readers include, for example, .pdf image files as well as physical documents.
In the event that there are fees, I would be grateful if you would inform me of the total charges in advance of fulfilling my request. I would prefer the request filled electronically, by e-mail attachment if available or CD-ROM if not.
Thank you in advance for your anticipated cooperation in this matter. I look forward to receiving your response to this request within 10 business days, as the statute requires.
Please offer some clarification as to your request. We have personnel
orders that would contain most of the information you seek and are easily
obtainable. Would those suffice for your request, or do you seek the actual
written agreements if they exist?
Please let us know
Hi Lt McCarthy,
Thanks for getting back to me! I would like the actual written agreements if they exist, pending a cost estimate.
Ok We will get back to you shortly
To Whom It May Concern:
I wanted to follow up on the following Public Records Law request, copied below, and originally submitted on Oct. 24, 2017. Please let me know when I can expect to receive a response, or if further clarification is needed.
Thanks for your help, and let me know if further clarification is needed.
Hello: I will be out of the office from November 9 - November 10, 2017.
If you require immediate assistance, please contact the Office of the Legal Advisor at
Boston Police Department
Office of the Legal Advisor
One Schroeder Plaza, 4th Floor
Boston, MA 02120
CONFIDENTIALITY NOTICE : The information contained in this electronic mail transmission isintended by the Boston Police Department's Office of the Legal Advisor for the use of the named individualor entity to which it is directed and may contain information that isprivileged or otherwise confidential. If you have received this electronic mailtransmission in error, please delete it from your system without copying orforwarding it, and notify the sender of the error by reply e-mail so that thesender's address records can be corrected.
December 18, 2017
Dear Ms Lustig:
You have requested documents in the possession, custody or control of the
Boston Police Department under the Massachusetts Public Records Law (MGL c.
66 s 10) Specifically, you requested:
Any settlement agreements, or consent agreements reached
between the agency and any of its employees to settle claims or disputes in
the year of 2016. These claims and disputes may involve matters including
but not limited to disciplinary or other actions taken or contemplated with
regard to the employee, as well as compensation and benefits due that
Please find along with this letter documents responsive to your
request. The accompanying documents are public personnel orders regarding
matters involving employee settlement agreements etc.
As for any settlement agreements executed in resolution of discipline
Settlement agreements executed in resolution of disciplinary matters are
exempt from disclosure by M.G.L. c. 4 §7(26)(c) as personnel information.
The term personnel includes “employment applications, employee work
evaluations, disciplinary documentation, and promotion, demotion, or
termination information pertaining to a particular employee.” *Wakefield
Teachers Ass’n v. School Comm.*, 431 Mass. 792, 798 (2000). Where your
request seeks access to settlement agreements executed in resolution of
disciplinary matters, it encompasses information contained within the core
categories of personnel information that is exempt from disclosure as a
public record. *Id.*
Additionally, when evaluating the existence of an interest under the public
records privacy exemption, M.G.L. c. 4 §7(26)(c) prohibits disclosure of
information that constitutes “intimate details of a highly personal
nature,” keeping in mind the “balance[e] between the seriousness of any
invasion of privacy and the public right to know.” *Pottle v. Sch.
Committee of Braintree*, 395 Mass. 861, 865 (1985) (quotations omitted). *See
also Champa v. Weston Public Schools*, 473 Mass. 86 (2015) (one must
consider whether the disclosure would result in personal embarrassment to
an individual of normal sensibilities, whether the materials sought contain
intimate details of a highly personal nature, and whether the same
information is available from other sources). The mutually agreed upon
terms contained within a settlement agreement are confidential. Further,
the disclosure of these details may serve to have a chilling effect on
future settlements if the terms of said agreements become available to the
public. As such, the disclosure of such information is prohibited by M.G.L.
c. 4 §7(26)(c) and this portion of your request is denied.
Please be advised that this office does not provide legal
assistance, opinions or explanations about police policy to the public, and
will not respond to any such request. If you have been denied records by
the Boston Police Department, you have the right to appeal this decision
with the Supervisor of Public Records at the Public Records Division of the
Secretary of the Commonwealth.