Digging into Somerville through public records

Massachusetts investigative series makes use of more than a dozen sets of documents
Written by Tom Nash
Edited by Shawn Musgrave

An investigative series dubbed The Somerville Files makes use of some of MuckRock’s oldest public records requests. The four-part investigation for alternative weekly Dig Boston explores politics and public spending in the sixth-densest city in the country.

The series, written by Chris Faraone, Adam Vaccaro and myself, relies heavily on Freedom of Information requests to help get us as close as possible to the back rooms of Somerville City Hall. We drew on campaign finance records from 2009, for example, to explore the relationship between contractor Design Consultants, Inc. and Mayor Joseph Curtatone.

In addition to documents we requested ourselves, we also made use of a report obtained by MuckRock user Barry Rafkind, who asked for an internal review of Somerville’s Inspectional Services Department that showed the department’s superintendent was not mentioned for having failed to pass state mandated certification tests.

The fourth article in the series, which will outline more about Curtatone’s past and political future, will appear in the coming weeks. In the meantime, check out some of the requests we’ve filed in pursuit of this series here.


Image via Wikimedia Commons and is licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0