MBTA surveillance system DHS grant materials

Shawn Musgrave filed this request with the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) of Massachusetts.
Tracking # 15-02-SPR
Due Aug. 24, 2015
Est. Completion None
Status
Awaiting Response

Communications

From: Shawn Musgrave

To Whom It May Concern:

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

The full application, approval notification/award letter and acceptance materials for the Department of Homeland Security grant(s) awarded to the MBTA to underwrite live video surveillance system installation.

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 fees cannot be waived, 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,

Shawn Musgrave

From: Shawn Musgrave

Hello,

Please confirm that this public records request was received, as I have received no acknowledgement.

Thank you,
Shawn Musgrave
MuckRock

From: Krupanski, Susan

Receipt acknowledged and sent to records custodian for processing.

From: Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA)

A letter stating the requester must agree to or prepay assessed or estimated fees in order for the agency to continue processing the request.

From: Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA)

A letter stating the requester must agree to or prepay assessed or estimated fees in order for the agency to continue processing the request.

From: MuckRock.com

To Whom It May Concern:

I wanted to follow up on the following Freedom of Information request, copied below, and originally submitted on Dec. 19, 2014. Please let me know when I can expect to receive a response, or if further clarification is needed.

Thank you for your help.

From: Krupanski, Susan

An estimate of costs for document production was mailed to you on January 13, 2015.

A duplicate copy has been mailed this morning.

From: Shawn Musgrave

Ms. Krupanski -

I have reviewed the fee estimate, and would like to request clarification on a couple of points.

Foremost, please confirm that the Security Director is the lowest-paid employee qualified to conduct the entirety of the search and segregation for these documents, as provided under the Massachusetts public records law.

Second, given your estimate of 200 pages total, a search and segregation time of 15 hours seems high — this works out to just over 13 pages reviewed per hour. Please confirm that 15 hours are required to review such relatively standardized documents as grant application and acceptance materials.

Please advise whether the fee estimate might be revised down, in light of the above.

Thank you,

Shawn Musgrave
MuckRock

From: Shawn Musgrave

Ms. Krupanski -

I am checking on my inquiry below regarding the high fee estimate for this request.

Thank you for your attention to this matter.

Best,
Shawn Musgrave
MuckRock

From: MuckRock.com

To Whom It May Concern:

I wanted to follow up on the following Freedom of Information request, copied below, and originally submitted on Dec. 19, 2014. Please let me know when I can expect to receive a response, or if further clarification is needed. You had assigned it reference number #15-02.

Thank you for your help.

From: Krupanski, Susan

The records custodian for the requested documents is the Sr. Security Director who has advised that he is the lowest paid person who can search, segregate and redact any security sensitive data including any information relating to Homeland Security.

He has provided the estimate and it will not be reduced.

Thank you

From: Shawn Musgrave

Supervisor of Records
Office of the Secretary of the Commonwealth
McCormack Building, Room 1719
One Ashburton Place
Boston, MA 02108

March 2, 2015

To Whom It May Concern:

This is an appeal of the fee estimate provided by the MBTA in response to a public records request submitted on December 19, 2014. The MBTA's estimate is unreasonable and unduly burdensome, and I request that the Supervisor of Records direct the MBTA to issue a good faith estimate of the true cost of processing the request.

On December 19, 2014, I submitted a request to the MBTA for: " The full application, approval notification/award letter and acceptance materials for the Department of Homeland Security grant(s) awarded to the MBTA to underwrite live video surveillance system installation."

The MBTA did not acknowledge my request until January 8. On January 13, Ms. Susan Krupanski emailed the attached fee estimate, in which the MBTA determined that the cost to release approximately 200 pages would be $942.35.

Per the attached fee breakdown, nearly $900 of this rather steep fee comes from 15 hours of search and segregation time by an MBTA Senior Security Director at an hourly rate of $59.89.

As I indicated in a January 27, 2015 followup to Ms. Krupanski, 15 hours of search and segregation time works out to just over 13 pages reviewed per hour. Given that the requested documents are of a rather easily identified and standard format, this estimate of the time required to locate and review them for exempt materials seems excessive.

Furthermore, it is unclear to me the reason that a Senior Security Director is the lowest-paid employee qualified to conduct the entirety of the search and segregation for these documents, as provided under the Massachusetts public records law. In particular, the search component of this document request strikes me as a task fit for an MBTA employee at a much lower pay grade than the Senior Security Director.

After two followups, Ms. Krupanski confirmed by email on February 24 that the estimate "will not be reduced." As such, I appeal to the Supervisor of Records to review the estimate and remand it to the MBTA for good faith revision in light of the necessary processing time and cost to fulfill the request.

Respectfully,

Shawn Musgrave
MuckRock

From: Shawn Musgrave

Ms. Rastellini -

Please confirm whether the below appeal was received as submitted to SPR by mail.

Thank you,
Shawn Musgrave
MuckRock

From: Shirley, Jean (SEC)

Dear Mr. Musgrave,

Could you please give me a call related to the below Appeal/public records request.

Cordially,

Jean Shirley
Administrative Assistant
Office of the Secretary of the Commonwealth
Public Records Division
One Ashburton Place, Room 1719
Boston, MA 02108
(617) 727-2832

From: Shawn Musgrave

Jean -

I've attached the fee estimate and breakdown from the MBTA's Susan Krupanski, dated January 13, 2015.

Thank you for your help, and apologies for the confusion.

Best,
Shawn Musgrave
MuckRock

From: Shirley, Jean (SEC)

Thank you Shawn & thanks for the call also. The information provided was very helpful.

Cordially,

Jean Shirley
Administrative Assistant
Office of the Secretary of the Commonwealth
Public Records Division
One Ashburton Place, Room 1719
Boston, MA 02108
(617) 727-2832

From: Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA)

A letter stating that the request appeal has been received and is being processed.

From: Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA)

A letter stating that the request appeal has been succesful.

From: Shawn Musgrave

Ms. Krupanski -

Per the attached determination from the Supervisor of Records, I ask that you provide a good faith estimate for the actual amount of time that it will take to locate and review these grant materials.

I respectfully ask that you keep in mind the amount of time that has passed since this request was submitted in December, as well as the fact that many of the documents requested herein are likely template pages that do not require personal review or redaction by the Senior Security Officer or any senior official within MBTA. I also ask that you take careful consideration of the SPR's encouragement that agencies waive fees in the interest of greater transparency. Given the considerable public interest in how both the Department of Homeland and the MBTA issue and receive funds, I submit that there is considerable interest in the grant process that will be illuminated by releasing these documents.

Best,
Shawn Musgrave
Investigative reporter, MuckRock

From: Krupanski, Susan

Your email and a copy of the Supervisor’s Order has been forwarded to the Security Department for review and reconsideration.

From: Shawn Musgrave

Ms. Krupanksi -

More than 10 business days have passed since the MBTA received the Supervisor's order. Please advise as to the MBTA's fee estimate for this request.

Respectfully,
Shawn Musgrave
MuckRock

From: Krupanski, Susan

As noted below, the Supervisor’s Order and your request were forwarded to the Security Department on May 14, 2015, for reconsideration of the fee estimate. They have not yet replied to me. I have, again, forwarded this email to them seeking a status update/reply.

I will follow up again.

From: Shawn Musgrave

Ms. Krupanski -

Thank you for your update, and I look forward to a substantive reply soon.

Best,
Shawn

From: Krupanski, Susan

A revised estimate will be sent to you tomorrow. We apologize for the delay.

From: Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA)

A letter stating the requester must agree to or prepay assessed or estimated fees in order for the agency to continue processing the request.

From: Shawn Musgrave

Ms. Krupanski -

I have received the MBTA's revised fee estimate. Can you put me in touch with the Transit Security Projects Administrator? I'm still unsure as to which portion of this request merits 8 hours of search and review time. It is my understanding that grant documents are typically templates which focus primarily on the fiscal details of the proposed project. Furthermore, I was under the impression that grant materials are organized in such a fashion as to make them easily accessible without much need for searching in multiple locations.

If there is a portion of the request that might be tweaked so that it can be processed more efficiently, I'd like to proceed with that ASAP.

Best,
Shawn Musgrave
MuckRock

From: Krupanski, Susan

I will forward your request to the Security Administrator/Director for reconsideration.

From: Shawn Musgrave

Hello Susan -

Any update on this request?

Best,
Shawn

From: MuckRock.com

To Whom It May Concern:

I wanted to follow up on the following Freedom of Information request, copied below, and originally submitted on Dec. 19, 2014. Please let me know when I can expect to receive a response, or if further clarification is needed. You had assigned it reference number #15-02-SPR.

Thanks for your help, and let me know if further clarification is needed.

From: MuckRock.com

To Whom It May Concern:

I wanted to follow up on the following Freedom of Information request, copied below, and originally submitted on Dec. 19, 2014. Please let me know when I can expect to receive a response, or if further clarification is needed. You had assigned it reference number #15-02-SPR.

Thanks for your help, and let me know if further clarification is needed.

From: MuckRock.com

To Whom It May Concern:

I wanted to follow up on the following Freedom of Information request, copied below, and originally submitted on Dec. 19, 2014. Please let me know when I can expect to receive a response, or if further clarification is needed. You had assigned it reference number #15-02-SPR.

Thanks for your help, and let me know if further clarification is needed.

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