Executive Session Minutes (Plymouth County) (Pembroke Town Clerk)

Caitlin Russell filed this request with the Pembroke Town Clerk of Pembroke, MA .
Status
Completed

Communications

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:

All executive session minutes generated, by the Pembroke 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. Once released, I plan to make the information available to the public online, free of charge.

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: Pembroke Town Clerk

An acknowledgement letter, stating the request is being processed.

From: Sabrina chilcott

Dear Ms. Russell:

Attached please find the scan of the response letter sent to you via US Mail this morning.

Please do not hesitate to contact us if you require anything further in the meantime.

Thank you,
Sabrina Chilcott

Sabrina Chilcott
Executive Assistant
Pembroke Selectmen's Office
Phone: 781-293-3844
Fax: 781-293-4650
schilcott@townofpembrokemass.org<mailto:schilcott@townofpembrokemass.org>

This electronic message is confidential and intended for the named recipient only. Any dissemination, disclosure or distribution of the contents of this communication is unlawful and prohibited. If you have received this message in error, please contact by return email or telephone (781) 293-3844, and delete the copy you received. Thank you.

From: Sabrina chilcott

December 5, 2016

Caitlin Russell
MuckRock
DEPT MR 29057
411A Highland Ave
Somerville, MA 02144-2516
requests@muckrock.com<mailto:requests@muckrock.com>

SENT VIA EMAIL (RRR)

Dear Ms. Russell:

The Town of Pembroke is in receipt of your request, dated November 11, 2016, for all Board of Selectmen executive session meeting minutes from 2010-2015. The Town has provided the executive session meeting minutes which may be disclosed at this time, at no charge. Please note, however, that there are still requested executive session meeting minutes under review, and it is anticipated that those will be provided to you as they become available.

The remaining requested minutes are being reviewed for withholding 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 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 Town'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 continue to be reviewed.

Very truly yours,

Edwin J. Thorne

Town Administrator

Attachment(s)

/sc

Sabrina Chilcott
Executive Assistant
Pembroke Selectmen's Office
Phone: 781-293-3844
Fax: 781-293-4650
schilcott@townofpembrokemass.org<mailto:schilcott@townofpembrokemass.org>

This electronic message is confidential and intended for the named recipient only. Any dissemination, disclosure or distribution of the contents of this communication is unlawful and prohibited. If you have received this message in error, please contact by return email or telephone (781) 293-3844, and delete the copy you received. Thank you.

From: Sabrina chilcott

December 29, 2016

Caitlin Russell
MuckRock
DEPT MR 29057
411A Highland Ave
Somerville, MA 02144-2516
requests@muckrock.com<mailto:requests@muckrock.com>

SENT VIA EMAIL (RRR)

Dear Ms. Russell:

The Town of Pembroke is in receipt of your request, dated November 11, 2016, for all Board of Selectmen executive session meeting minutes from 2010-2015. The Town responded on December 5, 2016 with the initial release of documents as requested. The Town has provided the executive session meeting minutes which may be disclosed at this time, at no charge. Please note, however, that there are still requested executive session meeting minutes under review, and it is anticipated that those will be provided to you as they become available.

The remaining requested minutes are being reviewed for withholding 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 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 Town'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 continue to be reviewed.

Very truly yours,

Edwin J. Thorne
Town Administrator
Attachment(s)

/sc

Sabrina Chilcott
Executive Assistant
Pembroke Selectmen's Office
Phone: 781-293-3844
Fax: 781-293-4650
schilcott@townofpembrokemass.org<mailto:schilcott@townofpembrokemass.org>

This electronic message is confidential and intended for the named recipient only. Any dissemination, disclosure or distribution of the contents of this communication is unlawful and prohibited. If you have received this message in error, please contact by return email or telephone (781) 293-3844, and delete the copy you received. Thank you.

From: Sabrina chilcott

December 29, 2016

Caitlin Russell
MuckRock
DEPT MR 29057
411A Highland Ave
Somerville, MA 02144-2516
requests@muckrock.com<mailto:requests@muckrock.com>

SENT VIA EMAIL (RRR)

Dear Ms. Russell:

In follow up to the Town's previous response to your public records request, dated November 11, 2016, attached please find all minutes that are being released at this time with redactions. The following exemptions are invoked as bases for these redactions. The Town of Pembroke reserves its rights to invoke any additional exemptions available under law. Some minutes are being redacted for multiple reasons, and therefore the same set of minutes may be listed more than one time, below.

Exemption (a):

Redactions of certain executive session meeting minutes are appropriate under 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, several sets of minutes contain discussions that involve matters that 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. Minutes from the following meetings are being redacted (or withheld entirely, as noted below) pursuant to G.L. c. 30A, §21(a) and §22(f), through operation of exemption (a):

6/7/10; 1/3/12; 2/3/14; 3/10/14; 4/28/14; 3/2/15: The public disclosure of strategy sessions in anticipation of or connection with collective bargaining negotiations may adversely impact the Town's future negotiating position. Where such collective bargaining negotiations are anticipated at least every three years, if not sooner, the Town asserts that the public disclosure of collective bargaining strategy discussions held between 2010-2015 may negatively impact the current cycle of collective bargaining negotiations.

1/13/14: These minutes involve discussions of litigation strategy for a matter which is not yet resolved. As such, the Town asserts that public disclosure of these minutes will adversely impact its litigating position, and thus certain content has been redacted from these minutes.

Exemption (c):

Under exemption (c) of the Public Records Law [G.L. c. 4, §7(26)], the Town may withhold records that contain:

Personnel and medical files or information; also any other materials or data relating to a specifically named individual, the disclosure of which may constitute an unwarranted invasion of personal privacy.

Exemption (c) contains two separate bases for non-disclosure. The first clause of exemption (c) covers personnel (and medical) records and information. The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court ("SJC") has defined personnel records to include any records that would be helpful in making determinations regarding hiring and firing. Wakefield Teachers Association v. School Committee of Wakefield, 431 Mass. 792, 798 (2000). Specifically, the SJC stated:

While the precise contours of the legislative term "personnel [file] or information" may require case-by-case articulation, it includes, at a minimum, employment applications, employee work evaluations, disciplinary documentation, and promotion, demotion, or termination information pertaining to a particular employee. These constitute the core categories of personnel information that are "useful in making employment decisions regarding an employee."

Such records are "absolutely exempt from disclosure," as non-disclosure protects "the government's ability to function effectively as an employer." Id. at 799, 802; see also Globe Newspaper Co. v. Boston Retirement Bd., 388 Mass. 427, 438 (1983); Brogan v. School Committee of Westport, 401 Mass. 306, 308 (1987).

Minutes that have been redacted under the first clause of exemption (c) are: 4/2/12, wherein the name of the affected employee has been redacted, as permitted under the first clause of exemption (c), to protect that individual's personal privacy interests.

Attorney-client privilege:

In the case of Suffolk Construction v. DCAM, 449 Mass. 444, 449-450 (2007), the SJC recognized and acknowledged the application of the attorney-client privilege to governmental entities. It is the Town's position that certain, limited content in the executive session minutes is protected under the attorney-client privilege. It is the Town's further position that these executive session minutes reflect communications that were made in confidence, for purposes of soliciting legal advice, and that the Board has not waived the attorney-client privilege with respect to such communications. Minutes that have been redacted under the attorney-client privilege are: 1/13/14; 3/10/14.

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

The remaining requested minutes are being reviewed for withholding 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 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 Town'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 continue to be reviewed.

Very truly yours,

Edwin J. Thorne
Town Administrator
Attachment(s)

/sc

Sabrina Chilcott
Executive Assistant
Pembroke Selectmen's Office
Phone: 781-293-3844
Fax: 781-293-4650
schilcott@townofpembrokemass.org<mailto:schilcott@townofpembrokemass.org>

This electronic message is confidential and intended for the named recipient only. Any dissemination, disclosure or distribution of the contents of this communication is unlawful and prohibited. If you have received this message in error, please contact by return email or telephone (781) 293-3844, and delete the copy you received. Thank you.

Files

pages

Close