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Russel Neiss filed this request with the Vermont State Police of Vermont.
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Communications

From: Russel Neiss


To Whom It May Concern:

Pursuant to the Vermont Public Records Act, I hereby request the following records:

Emails to or from Vermont State Police Col. Matthew Birmingham containing the words "Israel", "Palestine", "ADL", or "Anti-Defamation League" from November 1, 2018 - December 1, 2018.

The requested documents will be made available to the general public, and this request is not being made for commercial purposes.

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 3 business days, as the statute requires.

Sincerely,

Russel Neiss

From: Vermont State Police

Russel Neiss
MuckRock News
Via Email: requests@muckrock.com<mailto:requests@muckrock.com>

Dear Mr. Neiss,

I am writing regarding your public records request, received December 10, 2018 and addressed to the PRA Office of the Vermont State Police ("VSP"), regarding "[e]mails to or from [VSP] Col. Matthew Birmingham containing the words 'Israel', 'Palestine', 'ADL', or 'Anti-Defamation League' from November 1, 2018 - December 1, 2018."

Because of "the need to search for, collect, and appropriately examine a voluminous amount of separate and distinct records that are demanded in a single request," the ten business day extension is invoked to process your request. See 1 V.S.A. § 318(b)(5)(B).

Depending on the amount of records requiring review, we may need additional time beyond the ten days. If this circumstance arises, we will notify you as soon as possible.

Sincerely,

Grier D. Martin
Public Records Request Specialist
Vermont Department of Public Safety
45 State Drive
Waterbury, VT 05671
Phone: (802) 241-5378
Email: Grier.Martin@vermont.gov<mailto:Grier.Martin@vermont.gov>

The information transmitted by the following e-mail is intended only for the addressee and may contain confidential and/or privileged material. If you are not the intended recipient, you are notified that any dissemination, distribution or copying of this email message is strictly prohibited. If you received this communication in error, please contact us immediately at 802-244-8727 and delete this email from your computer or network system. Thank you.

From: Vermont State Police

Russel Neiss
MuckRock News
Via Email: requests@muckrock.com<mailto:requests@muckrock.com>

Dear Mr. Neiss,

I am writing regarding your public records request, received December 10, 2018 and addressed to the PRA Office of the Vermont State Police ("VSP"), regarding "[e]mails to or from [VSP] Police Col. Matthew Birmingham containing the words 'Israel', 'Palestine', 'ADL', or 'Anti-Defamation League' from November 1, 2018 - December 1, 2018."

We have identified 124 pages of emails that would need to be reviewed to respond to your request. Based on our calculations, it would take approximately 5.5 hours for all appropriate Department of Public Safety ("DPS") staff, and any outside agencies with a substantial interest in the determination of your request, to review these records. Factoring in the DPS staff's regularly assigned job duties, it would take approximately 6 days to complete the response to this request for voluminous records.

Thank you for requesting the total costs in advance of DPS fulfilling your public records request. According to the Vermont Public Records Act, "an agency may ...charge and collect the cost of staff time associated with complying with a request for a copy of a public record...the time directly involved in complying with the request [that] exceeds 30 minutes." See 1 V.S.A. § 316(c). The Uniform Fee Schedule for calculating costs, found on the Vermont Secretary of State's website, establishes that after the first 30 minutes involved in physically duplicating a public record, $.33 per minute may be charged for staff time to provide such records. See 1 V.S.A. § 316(d) and the Uniform Fee Schedule at: https://www.sec.state.vt.us/archives-records/certifications-fees/uniform-fee-schedule.aspx. As a matter of policy and administrative efficiency, DPS has decided not to charge for the first 2 hours of search time, the first 100 pages of duplication, or any fees amounting to $25 or less.

Based on our estimate regarding the amount of time it would take to review the requested records, we would charge for 3.5 hours of staff time, for a total of $69.30.

In order to deal with circumstances such as these, 1 V.S.A. § 318 permits a public agency to ask the requester to narrow the scope of the public records request. To expedite a response your request, we invite you to narrow your request to emails between Col. Birmingham and specific parties.

If you would like us to complete this request as it is, given the estimated time it would take, and you agree to pay the above amount, please forward a check to my attention at the address below for $69.30, made payable to: Vermont Department of Public Safety. DPS will await receipt of a check for the amount of $69.30 unless you notify us that you intend to narrow the scope of your request.

If you have any questions please contact me.

Sincerely,

Grier D. Martin
Public Records Request Specialist
Vermont Department of Public Safety
45 State Drive
Waterbury, VT 05671
Phone: (802) 241-5378
Email: Grier.Martin@vermont.gov<mailto:Grier.Martin@vermont.gov>

The information transmitted by the following e-mail is intended only for the addressee and may contain confidential and/or privileged material. If you are not the intended recipient, you are notified that any dissemination, distribution or copying of this email message is strictly prohibited. If you received this communication in error, please contact us immediately at 802-244-8727 and delete this email from your computer or network system. Thank you.

From: Russel Neiss

Dear Ms. Martin,

Thank you for the opportunity to narrow the scope of the request. If we were to only include those emails *from* VSP Police Col. Matthew Birmingham and exclude those sent to him, how much would that narrow the request?

Thank you again for your attention to this request.

Best,
Russel

From: Vermont State Police

Russel Neiss
MuckRock News
Via Email: requests@muckrock.com<mailto:requests@muckrock.com>

Dear Mr. Neiss,

I am writing in response to your email of January 1, 2019, regarding your public records request, received December 10, 2018 and addressed to the PRA Office of the Vermont State Police (“VSP”), regarding “[e]mails to or from [VSP] Police Col. Matthew Birmingham containing the words ‘Israel’, ‘Palestine’, ‘ADL’, or ‘Anti-Defamation League’ from November 1, 2018 - December 1, 2018.”

In your email you stated that you would be willing to narrow the scope of your request to only emails from VSP Director Col. Matthew Birmingham containing the terms listed above. This would result in 69 pages of records to review, which would lower the fee below $25, and therefore we would not charge you for staff time to produce the records.

If you would like us to proceed with your narrowed request for only emails from Col. Birmingham please let me know.

Sincerely,

Grier D. Martin
Public Records Request Specialist
Vermont Department of Public Safety
45 State Drive
Waterbury, VT 05671
Phone: (802) 241-5378
Email: Grier.Martin@vermont.gov<mailto:Grier.Martin@vermont.gov>

The information transmitted by the following e-mail is intended only for the addressee and may contain confidential and/or privileged material. If you are not the intended recipient, you are notified that any dissemination, distribution or copying of this email message is strictly prohibited. If you received this communication in error, please contact us immediately at 802-244-8727 and delete this email from your computer or network system. Thank you.

Grier D. Martin
Public Records Request Specialist

From: Vermont State Police

Russel Neiss
MuckRock News
Via Email: requests@muckrock.com<mailto:requests@muckrock.com>

Dear Mr. Neiss,

I am writing in response to your email of January 1, 2019, regarding your public records request, received December 10, 2018 and addressed to the PRA Office of the Vermont State Police (“VSP”), regarding “[e]mails to or from [VSP] Police Col. Matthew Birmingham containing the words ‘Israel’, ‘Palestine’, ‘ADL’, or ‘Anti-Defamation League’ from November 1, 2018 - December 1, 2018.”

In your email you stated that you would be willing to narrow the scope of your request to only emails from VSP Director Col. Matthew Birmingham containing the terms listed above. This would result in 69 pages of records to review, which would lower the fee below $25, and therefore we would not charge you for staff time to produce the records.

If you would like us to proceed with your narrowed request for only emails from Col. Birmingham please let me know.

Sincerely,

Grier D. Martin
Public Records Request Specialist
Vermont Department of Public Safety
45 State Drive
Waterbury, VT 05671
Phone: (802) 241-5378
Email: Grier.Martin@vermont.gov<mailto:Grier.Martin@vermont.gov>

The information transmitted by the following e-mail is intended only for the addressee and may contain confidential and/or privileged material. If you are not the intended recipient, you are notified that any dissemination, distribution or copying of this email message is strictly prohibited. If you received this communication in error, please contact us immediately at 802-244-8727 and delete this email from your computer or network system. Thank you.

Grier D. Martin
Public Records Request Specialist

From: Russel Neiss

Dear Ms. Martin,

Yes, please proceed with the narrowed request. Thank you so much again for your assistance.

Best,
Russel Neiss

From: Vermont State Police

Russel Neiss
MuckRock News
Via Email: requests@muckrock.com<mailto:requests@muckrock.com>

Dear Mr. Neiss,

I am writing in response to your public records request, received December 10, 2018, regarding "[e]mails to or from [Vermont State] Police Col. Matthew Birmingham containing the words 'Israel', 'Palestine', 'ADL', or 'Anti-Defamation League' from November 1, 2018 - December 1, 2018."

In your email of January 1, 2019, you stated that you would be willing to narrow the scope of your request to only emails from Vermont State Police ("VSP") Director Col. Matthew Birmingham containing the terms listed above. We subsequently identified 69 pages of documents that could possibly fall within the narrowed scope of your request. After review of these documents, we determined that the attached records, totaling 18 pages, do in fact fall within the scope of your narrowed request.

Please note that the records supplied here have been redacted in accordance with Vermont's Public Records Act exemption 1 V.S.A. § 317(c)(7), regarding "[p]ersonal documents relating to an individual." This exemption includes personally identifying information, such as email addresses and telephone numbers, and "'documents that reveal intimate details of a person's life, including any information that might subject the person to...harassment.'" See Trombley v. Bellows Falls Union High School Dist. No. 27, 160 Vt. 101, 110, 624 A.2d 857, 863 (1993) (quoting Young v. Rice, 308 Ark. 593, 826 S.W.2d 252, 255 (Ark.1992)).

Please also note that the language of the email on page one of the attached records, dated November 26, 2018, was sent to nine private citizens. We are only including one of these emails here, as the language in all nine is identical. The only information which differs among these emails is the date, and the names and email addresses of the private citizens, which we would redact under 1 V.S.A. § 317(c)(7) as personal information.

If you believe that a record, or a portion of the attached records, has been withheld in error, or if you would like to discuss the redactions in the released records, please feel free to call me at the number below. Please be advised that you may also file an appeal. If you choose to file an appeal we request that you do so in writing to:

Commissioner Thomas D. Anderson
Department of Public Safety
45 State Drive
Waterbury, VT 05671

Sincerely,

Grier D. Martin
Public Records Request Specialist
Vermont Department of Public Safety
45 State Drive
Waterbury, VT 05671
Phone: (802) 241-5378
Email: Grier.Martin@vermont.gov<mailto:Grier.Martin@vermont.gov>

The information transmitted by the following e-mail is intended only for the addressee and may contain confidential and/or privileged material. If you are not the intended recipient, you are notified that any dissemination, distribution or copying of this email message is strictly prohibited. If you received this communication in error, please contact us immediately at 802-244-8727 and delete this email from your computer or network system. Thank you.

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