Upham and Howard Street emails

Steve Milano filed this request with the Melrose City Clerk of Melrose, MA.
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Completed

Communications

From: Steve Milano

To Whom It May Concern:

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

1. All emails pertaining to Upham Street and/or Howard Street that were sent to or by Mayor Robert Dolan, Chief of Staff Michael Lindstrom, police Chief Michael Lyle, police Lt. Mark Decroteau, Sgt. Jon Goc, DPW Director John Scenna and City Engineer Elena Proakis-Ellis between March 1, 2017 and August 15, 2017;

2. Copies of the police department's FY15, FY16 and FY17 annual reports;

3. A map that depicts the police department's three patrol sectors;

4. Copies of all police department policies and general orders.

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.

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 be 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,

Steve Milano

From: Krasco, Susan

Dear Mr. Milano:

Regarding the above referenced request, please see below the good faith estimate regarding copies of emails and the hourly rate it took to gather all this information together.

Estimated fee for copies $126.05
Estimated Hourly rate fee $450.00

If you want to proceed with this request, please let my office know. I won't be in the office on Friday, August 25th, so please let the City Clerk, Mary-Rita O'Shea (moshea@cityofmelrose.org<mailto:moshea@cityofmelrose.org>) know your decision.

Thank you for your attention to this request.

Susan

Susan E. Krasco
Asst. City Clerk
Justice of the Peace
City of Melrose
562 Main Street
Melrose, MA 02176
781.979.4113
Fax. 781.979.4149

From: Steve Milano

Dear Ms. Krasco,

Thank you for your response. Can you provide the basis for the fee estimate? The public records law allows Melrose to charge 5 cents per copy, which would suggest the city believes it will provide 2,500 pages of paper documents despite the fact that I sought electronic copies. In addition, the labor estimate suggests employees will spend approximately 20 hours working on the request.

Thank you.

From: Krasco, Susan

Mr. Milano:

Below, I will break down the estimated cost as best I can. I have eliminated the cost for some copies because I will be sending them electronically, but the City will be charging for Chief Lyle’s and Elena Proakis Ellis’s copies because the files are either too big or too old to scan and not in good condition. The City chooses not to wave the hourly rate. We cannot charge for the first 2 hrs. in each department according to the law, but anything after that, we will be charging $25.00 per hour.

John Scenna – 3 hours – only charging 1 hour @ $25.00 (Mr. Scenna is still going through his files-copies unknown)
Sgt. Goc – 100 pages - will be sent electronically - 3 hours – only charging 1 hour @ $25.00
Mayor Dolan & Michael Lindstrom – 36 copies – will be sent electronically – no hourly fee
Chief Lyle – 835 pages @ 5 cents per copy - $41.75 – 16 hours – only charging 14 hours @ $350.00- will not be
sent electronically.
Elena Proakis Ellis - 1,650 pages @ 5 cents per copy - $82.50 – 8 hours – only charging for 6 hours @ $150.00- will
not be sent electronically.
Lt. Decroteau – 1 page will be sent electronically – no hourly fee.

The estimated hourly fee is $550.00. The fee for copies will be $124..25. Total estimated fee will be $716.00.

Please let me know if you will be going forward with this request, as the City will need a check before we continue.

Thank you for your attention to this matter.

Very truly yours,

Susan

Susan E. Krasco
Asst. City Clerk
Justice of the Peace
City of Melrose
562 Main Street
Melrose, MA 02176
781.979.4113
Fax. 781.979.4149

From: Steve Milano

Thanks, but I'm still confused.

The estimate seems to have increased dramatically since your August 24th email. Can you explain why?

Can you explain why so many copies of emails won't be provided electronically?

Can you explain why the hourly estimate for Chief Lyle is more than double that of Elena Proakis Ellis when Chief Lyle has half as many pages to review?

From: Krasco, Susan

Mr. Milano:

Regarding Chief Lyle’s fee and Elena Proakis’s fee; I gave you the hours that they gave me. Chief Lyle told me he had to do a lot of research; going through a lot of material. It could be that Ms. Proakis was able to locate her emails faster and easier. Also, I didn’t have everyone’s total the first time I sent you an estimate and that’s why the estimate changed. I’m still waiting to hear from Mr. Scenna regarding how many emails and corresponded he has. He’s still working on this, so the estimate could change again; I won’t know until I hear from Mr. Scenna. I explained in the last email that Chief Lyle and Ms. Proakis’s email files were too big to send electronically according to them. It’s very time consuming, especially when everyone is trying to do their jobs. It takes a lot of time to gather this information; especially with multiple people working on this. With that being said, I need to know if you are willing to pay the fee before the City goes any further.

Sincerely,

Susan

Susan E. Krasco
Asst. City Clerk
Justice of the Peace
City of Melrose
562 Main Street
Melrose, MA 02176
781.979.4113
Fax. 781.979.4149

From: Steve Milano

I may be willing to pay applicable fees to the extent they may be charged. However, based on your response, the basis for the charges is unclear and they do not seem appropriate.

Copying fees may not be charged for electronic documents. A municipality may not convert an electronic document to paper form for the purposes of charging a fee. If the aggregate size of responsive email files is too large to transmit by email, the city can place it on a CD and mail it. But there does not seem to be a valid reason for charging hundreds of dollars in copying fees when the majority of responsive records appear to be electronic.

Furthermore, municipalities cannot charge for time spent segregating or redacting records unless such
segregation or redaction is required by law. See G. L. c. 66, 5 10(d)(iii); 950 CMR 32.06(4). In order to require prepayment for the time segregating and redacting records, the municipality must demonstrate that segregation or redaction will be required by law. Thus far, the city hasn't made the required demonstration.

Finally, as I explained previously, the labor estimate to process records of Chief Lyle doesn't sense when the estimate for records of Elena Proakis Ellis is for half as much and time with twice as many records.

I would appreciate it if you would revise your fee estimate to include the following:

1. copying charges only for documents that currently exist in paper form, and
2. labor charges that reflect the time it is expected to take to locate the requested records and, only to the extent required by law, segregate or redact certain information.

Finally, since the city has declined to charge any fees to provide records Lt. Decroteau, Mayor Dolan and Michael Lindstrom, I would appreciate it if you would provide me those records at your earliest convenience.

Thank you.

From: Krasco, Susan

Good morning Mr. Milano-

I am happy to send you copies of those records from Mayor Robert Dolan, Mike Lindstrom and Lt. Mark DeCroteau. As to the remainder of your request, I have spoken to the Melrose City Solicitor and he is going to work with Chief Lyle and City Engineer Elena Proakis to determine whether there is an alternative way these records can be produced in a more cost effective, less labor intensive manner. I am waiting on Mr. Scenna’s emails, and will contact you as soon as I have received them.

As you are aware, the Public Records Law does not allow a municipality to charge for the first two hours of time, but any time above that can be assessed at $25.00 per hour. The law is clear that this fee can include (above the first two hours) time spent searching for, compiling, segregating, redacting and reproducing a requested record. The records that are not capable of being produced to you electronically are – by law – assessed at 5 cents per page.

At this point, and in order to complete your request as quickly as possible, I would ask you to direct all further communication to the City Solicitor, Robert Van Campen, as he should be able to assist in refining – if necessary – the fee estimate that has already been provided. He can be reached at 781-979-4183 or by email at rvancampen@cityofmelrose.org<mailto:rvancampen@cityofmelrose.org>.

Very truly yours,

Susan Krasco
Assistant City Clerk

From: Krasco, Susan

Mr. Milano:

Please see the attached public records that you requested from Mayor Dolan, Michael Lindstrom and Lt. Decroteau.

Susan

Susan E. Krasco
Asst. City Clerk
Justice of the Peace
City of Melrose
562 Main Street
Melrose, MA 02176
781.979.4113
Fax. 781.979.4149

  • Lt. Decroteau's Emails Re. Upham and Howard St. April to August 2017

  • Mayor Dolan and Michael Lindstrom's Emails Re. Upham Howard St. Marc

From: Krasco, Susan

Dear Mr. Milano:

Please see the attached emails you requested regarding Upham and Howard Streets from Sgt. Goc. There will be no fee.

Thank you for your patience.

Susan

Susan E. Krasco
Asst. City Clerk
Justice of the Peace
City of Melrose
562 Main Street
Melrose, MA 02176
781.979.4113
Fax. 781.979.4149

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