Executive Session Minutes (Middlesex County) (Everett City Clerk)

Caitlin Russell filed this request with the Everett City Clerk of Everett, MA .
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Completed

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From: Caitlin Russell

To Whom It May Concern:

Pursuant to the Massachusetts Public Records Law, M.G.L. c.66, §10, I hereby request the following records:

Pursuant to Massachusetts General Law Chapter 66, Section 10, I'm requesting all executive session minutes generated, by the Board of Selectmen for the years 2010 through the of end 2015.
Massachusetts law requires that executive session minutes be reviewed and released regularly, and that once the stated purpose for a particular executive session has ended, the minutes of the executive sessions are to be made public.
Please be advised that denial of this request, or redactions made to released materials must be accompanied by citations of the exemptions you believe allow you to withhold the information requested.

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 calendar days, as the statute requires.

Sincerely,

Caitlin Russell

From: Michael Matarazzo

Sorry, we are transitioning from the Clerk’s Office running elections to an Election Commission. I am involved in training and shadowing them. So I have been busy.

We have gathered the executive session minutes and I only need to sit with the City Solicitor to determine which are available and which must still remain sealed.

Should be able to provide cost (if any) and the documents next week.

From: Colleen Mejia

Good afternoon Caitlin

The City of Everett is in receipt of your request, dated October 25, 2016 for all Board of Selectmen executive session meeting minutes from 2010-2015. The City does not have a Board of Selectmen, and therefore does not have any responsive records. If you are instead seeking executive session meeting minutes of the Everett City Council, the City has records responsive to your request, and will provide those executive session meeting minutes which may be disclosed at this time, at no charge.

Please note, however, that executive session meeting minutes for the date range you have requested are under review, and it is anticipated that those minutes will not be available until December 14, 2016.

You will be informed if any of the requested minutes will be withheld because the purpose for the executive session has not yet expired, pursuant to G.L. c. 66, §10, G.L. c.4, §7(26) and G.L. c. 30A, §21. Reasons for the executive sessions at issue may include but are not limited to personal and personnel matters, collective bargaining, ongoing litigation, strategy with respect to collective bargaining and litigation where open session would be detrimental to the City's collective bargaining or litigation strategy, value of real property, and others. Where the purposes of any session or portion thereof have not been met, the minutes or portion thereof will be withheld from disclosure pursuant to the exemptions to the Public Records Law, G.L. c.4, §7(26). Furthermore, it is anticipated that information may be redacted from any released executive session meeting minutes pursuant to the attorney-client privilege. More specific information in this regard will follow, as the minutes are reviewed and released.

Sincerely,

Colleen M. Mejia, Esq.
City Solicitor
City of Everett
484 Broadway, Room 21
Everett, MA 02149
617-394-2230

_________________________
CONFIDENTIALITY NOTICE
This e-mail message from the City of Everett Solicitor's Office is intended only for the individual or entity to which it is addressed. This e-mail may contain information that is privileged, confidential and exempt from disclosure under applicable law. If you are not the intended recipient, you are hereby notified that any dissemination, distribution or copying of this communication is strictly prohibited. If you received this e-mail by accident, please notify the sender immediately and destroy this e-mail and all copies of it. Thank you for your compliance.

From: Colleen Mejia

Ms. Russell

Attached are all minutes that are being released at this time. One set of minutes (August 24, 2015) is being withheld at this time, pursuant to Exemption (a) to the Public Records Law, G.L. c. 4, §26(7)(a). Under exemption (a), records that are "specifically or by necessary implication exempted from disclosure by statute" may be withheld from disclosure, or relevant information redacted therefrom. Exemption (a) has been interpreted to mean that requested materials may be withheld where the language of the statute of exemption relied upon expressly states or necessarily implies that the public's right to inspect records under the Public Records Law is restricted. In this instance, the August 24, 2105 minutes may be withheld from public disclosure under the Open Meeting Law, G.L. c. 30A, §21(a) and §22(f), whereby executive session minutes may be withheld so long as publication may defeat the lawful purposes of the executive session. The purpose for this executive session has not yet expired, and therefore the minutes will continue to be withheld at this time.

The August 24, 2015 minutes may also be withheld from public disclosure at this time pursuant to Exemption (d) [G.L. c. 4, §26(7)(d)]. Pursuant to Exemption (d), the City may withhold or redact (as appropriate) "inter-agency or intra-agency memoranda or letters relating to policy positions being developed by the [public body]." This exemption is intended to avoid release of materials which could taint the deliberative process if prematurely disclosed. The application of the exemption is limited to recommendations on legal and policy matters found within an ongoing deliberative process. Babets v. Secretary of the Executive Office of Human Services, 403 Mass. 230, 237 n.8 (1988). In considering Exemption (d), the Supreme Judicial Court in General Electric Company v. Department of Environmental Protection, 429 Mass. 798, 807 (1999) stated, "[t]he purpose of Exemption (d) is to foster independent discussions between those responsible for a governmental decision in order to secure the quality of the decision."

The courts and the Supervisor of Records have construed exemption (d) as applying to records concerning ongoing litigation involving a public body. See, e.g., Lafferty v. Martha's Vineyard Commission, Superior Court, C.A. No. 03-3397, 2004 WL 792712, Memorandum of Decision and Order on Plaintiff's Motion for Summary Judgment (Brassard, J., April 9, 2004) (citations omitted). "The preparation of and involvement in litigation by [a public body] inherently entails the development of 'policy positions' by that [public body].... Further, the [public body] prosecutes a strategy for the litigation, and its 'policy positions' are frequently subject to change and refinement throughout the litigation." Id., 2004 WL 792712 at *3. The August 24, 2015 executive session minutes contain discussions concerning an ongoing dispute involving the City which has not yet finally resolved, and accordingly, those minutes are being withheld under Exemption (d).

Pursuant to 950 CMR 32.08, you may appeal this response to the Supervisor of Public Records within 90 days.

Sincerely,

Colleen M. Mejia, Esq.
City Solicitor
City of Everett
484 Broadway, Room 21
Everett, MA 02149
617-394-2230

_________________________
CONFIDENTIALITY NOTICE
This e-mail message from the City of Everett Solicitor's Office is intended only for the individual or entity to which it is addressed. This e-mail may contain information that is privileged, confidential and exempt from disclosure under applicable law. If you are not the intended recipient, you are hereby notified that any dissemination, distribution or copying of this communication is strictly prohibited. If you received this e-mail by accident, please notify the sender immediately and destroy this e-mail and all copies of it. Thank you for your compliance.

From: Caitlin Russell

Thank you for all your help. What was the purpose of the Aug. 24, 2015 meeting? Thanks!
Caitlin Russell

From: Colleen Mejia

Good afternoon Ms. Russel.

I apologize for the late response. I must have inadvertently overlooked your last email. That meeting was a result of a lawsuit filed by Wentworth Precious Metals against the City for allegations of civil rights violations regarding the operation of his business. The former Building Commissioner determined that his business was in violation of the zoning ordinances for that zoning district in which the business was located. The Code Enforcement Department also cited the business for violations.

The type of business was in the scrap metal industry and this type of business needed a license for the Board of Aldermen

Sincerely,

Colleen M. Mejia, Esq.
City Solicitor
City of Everett
484 Broadway, Room 21
Everett, MA 02149
617-394-2230

_________________________
CONFIDENTIALITY NOTICE
This e-mail message from the City of Everett Solicitor’s Office is intended only for the individual or entity to which it is addressed. This e-mail may contain information that is privileged, confidential and exempt from disclosure under applicable law. If you are not the intended recipient, you are hereby notified that any dissemination, distribution or copying of this communication is strictly prohibited. If you received this e-mail by accident, please notify the sender immediately and destroy this e-mail and all copies of it. Thank you for your compliance.

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