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

Caitlin Russell filed this request with the Plympton Town Clerk of Plympton, 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 Plympton 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: Town Clerk, Tara J. Shaw

To: MuckRock News

DEPT MR 29059

Please see the attached reply to the Public Records request received in my
office on Monday, November 14, 2016.

Please do not hesitate to contact me if you have any questions.

Tara J. Shaw

Town Clerk

Town of Plympton

5 Palmer Road

Plympton, MA 02367

Tel: 781-585-3220

Fax: 781-582-1505

<http://www.town.plympton.ma.us/> www.town.plympton.ma.us

From: Town Clerk, Tara J. Shaw

Dear Ms. Russell,

Please see the attached reply to the Public Records request received in my
office on Monday, November 14, 2016.

Please do not hesitate to contact me if you have any questions.

Tara J. Shaw

Town Clerk

Town of Plympton

5 Palmer Road

Plympton, MA 02367

Tel: 781-585-3220

Fax: 781-582-1505

<http://www.town.plympton.ma.us/> www.town.plympton.ma.us

From: Town Clerk, Tara J. Shaw

TO: MuckRockNews

DEPT MR 29059

Thank you for your recent follow up.

Your initial request was dated November 11, 2016 and received in the Town Clerk's Office on November 14, 2016.

You were replied toon November 23, 2016 with an updated timeline stating that you would receive the information requested no later than December 13, 2016.

I have attached the reply again for your records.

Please let me know if you require any additional information.

Tara J. Shaw

Town Clerk

Town of Plympton

5 Palmer Road

Plympton, MA 02367

Tel: 781-585-3220

Fax: 781-582-1505

<http://www.town.plympton.ma.us/> www.town.plympton.ma.us

From: Town Clerk, Tara J. Shaw

Tara J. Shaw

Town Clerk

Town of Plympton

5 Palmer Road

Plympton, MA 02367

Tel: 781-585-3220

Fax: 781-582-1505

<http://www.town.plympton.ma.us/> www.town.plympton.ma.us

From: Town Clerk, Tara J. Shaw

Good Afternoon! I am emailing as follow up to my email dated December 8, 2016.

December 13, 2016

MuckRock

DEPT MR 29059

411A Highland Ave

Somerville, MA 02144-2516

To whom it may concern:

In response to your request dated November 11, 2016 for all Board of Selectmen Executive Session Meeting Minutes for the years 2010-2015, received in the Town Clerk’s Office on Monday, November 14, 2016, the released records will be sent following this email in 6 emails by year of released records with hard copies to follow by mail.

Several sets of minutes are being withheld from disclosure 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 there from. 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 following 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: 10/8/10; 3/26/12; 4/2/12, 4/5/12, 4/23/12; 7/30/12; 9/10/12; 8/11/14; 9/29/14; 11/10/14; 11/24/14; 3/30/15; 4/6/15, 9/30/15. The purpose for these executive session has not yet expired, and therefore the minutes will continue to be withheld at this time.

The above-listed 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 above-listed executive session minutes contain discussions concerning ongoing litigation disputes involving the Town which has not yet finally resolved, and accordingly, those minutes are being withheld under Exemption (d).

Similarly, minutes from the following meetings are being withheld pursuant to G.L. c. 30A, §21(a) and §22(f), through operation of exemption (a), as they discuss strategy in anticipation of or connection with collective bargaining negotiations, the public disclosure of which may adversely impact the Town’s future negotiating position. Those minutes are: 4/29/15; 5/11/15; and 5/28/15.

Finally, other minutes are being withheld pursuant to Exemption (c) under the Public Records Law, G.L. c. 4, §7(26)(c). Under exemption (c), 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).

Here, several sets of minutes discuss employee personnel matters involving a specifically named individual, and comprise personnel information as defined above. Therefore those minutes may be withheld under exemption (c): 9/13/10; 9/27/10; 10/25/10; 12/6/10; 4/29/15; 5/11/15; 5/28/15 and 9/21/15.

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

Please do not hesitate to contact me if you have any questions.

Sincerely,

Tara J. Shaw, CMC

Town Clerk

Town of Plympton

5 Palmer Road

Plympton, MA 02367

Tel: 781-585-3220

Fax: 781-582-1505

<http://www.town.plympton.ma.us/> www.town.plympton.ma.us

From: Town Clerk, Tara J. Shaw

Tara J. Shaw

Town Clerk

Town of Plympton

5 Palmer Road

Plympton, MA 02367

Tel: 781-585-3220

Fax: 781-582-1505

<http://www.town.plympton.ma.us/> www.town.plympton.ma.us

From: Town Clerk, Tara J. Shaw

Tara J. Shaw

Town Clerk

Town of Plympton

5 Palmer Road

Plympton, MA 02367

Tel: 781-585-3220

Fax: 781-582-1505

<http://www.town.plympton.ma.us/> www.town.plympton.ma.us

From: Town Clerk, Tara J. Shaw

Tara J. Shaw

Town Clerk

Town of Plympton

5 Palmer Road

Plympton, MA 02367

Tel: 781-585-3220

Fax: 781-582-1505

<http://www.town.plympton.ma.us/> www.town.plympton.ma.us

From: Town Clerk, Tara J. Shaw

Tara J. Shaw

Town Clerk

Town of Plympton

5 Palmer Road

Plympton, MA 02367

Tel: 781-585-3220

Fax: 781-582-1505

<http://www.town.plympton.ma.us/> www.town.plympton.ma.us

From: Town Clerk, Tara J. Shaw

Tara J. Shaw

Town Clerk

Town of Plympton

5 Palmer Road

Plympton, MA 02367

Tel: 781-585-3220

Fax: 781-582-1505

<http://www.town.plympton.ma.us/> www.town.plympton.ma.us

Files

pages

Close