Processing Notes and Final Determination Reports for Dispensary Eval

Chris Caesar filed this request with the Department of Public Health of Massachusetts .
Status
Rejected

Communications

From: Chris Caesar

To Whom It May Concern:

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

All final determination reports and processing notes - including scoring rubrics and guiding/training materials - related to medical marijuana dispensary applications, whether granted or denied by DPH.

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 business days, as the statute requires.

Sincerely,

Chris Caesar

From: Roach, Anne (DPH)

Hi Chris,
Summary score sheets for each applicant are available on our website. The full score sheets will be posted online in the very near future.

Here's the link: http://www.mass.gov/eohhs/docs/dph/quality/drugcontrol/medical-marijuana/applications/results/application-summaries.pdf
Thanks,
Anne

Anne Roach
Media Relations Manager
Massachusetts Department of Public Health
250 Washington St.
Boston, MA
(617) 624-5006

From: Chris Caesar

Thanks Ms. Roach. After reviewing the documents it appears that this only partially fulfills my request, as I was also seeking any training manuals related to process as well as any processing notes and guiding/training materials employed in each applicant's evaluation. While the linked information is helpful for reviewing each applicant's final grades, my real interest was learning more about the process of the evaluation itself - i.e., on what bases these scores were determined.

Additionally, with regard to the full scoring sheets, it's my understanding under the state's Right to Know statute that existing documents may only be withheld from release based on specific exemptions. Wouldn't these documents be releaseable regardless of when it is posted on your website?

Thanks,
Chris

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 Feb. 12, 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: Chris Caesar

Dear Supervisor of Records, Ms. Roach:

I am filing an appeal of a Public Records Law request that was effectively denied by the Department of Public Health on Feb. 12, 2014, seeking "All final determination reports and processing notes - including scoring rubrics and guiding/training materials - related to medical marijuana dispensary applications, whether granted or denied by DPH."

The records custodian, Anne Roach replied on Feb. 12:

"Hi Chris,
Summary score sheets for each applicant are available on our website. The full score sheets will be posted online in the very near future.

Here's the link: http://www.mass.gov/eohhs/docs/dph/quality/drugcontrol/medical-marijuana/applications/results/application-summaries.pdf
Thanks,
Anne

Anne Roach
Media Relations Manager
Massachusetts Department of Public Health
250 Washington St.
Boston, MA
(617) 624-5006"

The reply was an incomplete fulfillment of my request, and as such I sent a clarifying note on the same day:

"Thanks Ms. Roach. After reviewing the documents it appears that this only partially fulfills my request, as I was also seeking any training manuals related to process as well as any processing notes and guiding/training materials employed in each applicant's evaluation. While the linked information is helpful for reviewing each applicant's final grades, my real interest was learning more about the process of the evaluation itself - i.e., on what bases these scores were determined.

Additionally, with regard to the full scoring sheets, it's my understanding under the state's Right to Know statute that existing documents may only be withheld from release based on specific exemptions. Wouldn't these documents be releasable regardless of when it is posted on your website?

Thanks,
Chris"

I have not received a reply since Feb. 12. I also sent a brief follow-up message on Feb. 27 that went unaddressed.

I feel the documents should not be exempt from disclosure, and it appears the records custodian agrees, in principle, these are public documents (i.e. she acknowledges they will be released in the future). However, if the documents exist and are not exempt from public records law, denying them on the basis of an arbitrary scheduling for release is not an appropriate exemption.

Thank you for your consideration,
Chris Caesar
339-224-3268

From: Chris Caesar

Ms. Rastellini:

A copy of the below appeal was sent out via mail on February 28, please confirm receipt when your office receives it.

Thanks for your help,
Chris Caesar

From: Rastellini, Patricia (SEC)

Received and acknowledged Mr. Caesar.

From: Shirley, Jean (SEC)

Dear Sir or Madam:

I am in receipt of your Public Records request dated February 28, 2014. In order for our office to proceed forward with your request I will need you to provide me with a mailing address as our tracking system requires this information to open an appeal. If you could please respond with this information at your earliest convenience that would be most appreciated.

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: Chris Caesar

Ms. Shirley,

I apologize for the tardiness in my response. You can use the address below:

MuckRock News
DEPT MR 10504
PO Box 55819
Boston, MA 02205-5819

Hopefully that is acceptable, but let me know if I can provide anything else.

Regards,
Chris

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 Feb. 12, 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: Department of Public Health

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

From: Department of Public Health

A letter stating that the request appeal has been succesful.

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 Feb. 12, 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: Shirley, Jean (SEC)

Dear Sir or Madam:

Your appeal was closed on May 2, 2014. You may view a copy of the Determination letter on our website at www.sec.state.ma.us . Under the Public Records tab you will find a link to Public Records Appeals Status and your number is SPR14/149 or 20140149.

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: Department of Public Health

The request has been rejected, with the agency stating that the information or document(s) requested are exempt from disclosure.

Files

pages

Close