The documents … please?
One might imagine that a request for public documents would be a simple matter. Normally they are kept in a file at the office of the Government entity, in this case the Town of Salisbury.
If they were in the Town Clerk’s office, specifically the vault where Town records are stored, I would have been able to obtain them myself. If they were kept in a particular Town official’s office, I would need to request them (as I did) and one should expect them to be available within a reasonable period of time. How difficult is it to find documents which were the subject of discussion in October of 2011? It hasn’t been that long.
Given that FOI allows four days response time to such requests, one should be able to ascertain the whereabouts of these items and respond with specific details as to how and when they may be obtained.
However, instead of obtaining the documents and then responding to the request, the response came almost immediately with little thought taken as to what was being said.
The response did not come from the Chairman of SAHC, but instead from the Vice Chairman. To make matters worse the Vice Chairman/Selectman Jim Dresser deleted one of the original recipients from the response. Oddly it was his fellow Selectman Mark Lauretano who was deleted from the response.
It is no secret that Mr. Dresser is distressed and may even dislike Mr. Lauretano, however that is no excuse for non professional behavior on his part. I am sure there are those who are saying … Oh, Mr. Dresser simply made a mistake … however, you will see over the course of the next few posts that Mr. Dresser’s delete button is programmed to erase Mr. Lauretano from communications concerning Town business.
Here is the response from which Mr. Lauretano was deleted (did I mention that before?):
From: “Jim Dresser” <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Wednesday, February 15, 2012 8:21 AM
To: “Michael J Flint” <email@example.com>
Cc: “Bobby Riva” <firstname.lastname@example.org>; “Curtis Rand” <email@example.com>
Subject: Re: Affordable Housing Commission Documents
I know that Bobby is extremely busy right now so i am responding. I will work with Bobby and Curtis to see what we have. Until I know what exists, I can’t say when we could get it to you, the cost, or how we can transmit it.
The subject you are asking about was concluded by the SAHC more than four months ago so much of the background material may have been discarded. I know that I cleaned out my files over the holidays in preparation for remodeling my study and discarded many feet of housing documents.
The suggestion that these documents had been stored in a private home and possibly destroyed was at minimum annoying to me. I must confess that it was also somewhat insulting to be told that the Chairman was too busy to respond to me.
Deciding that I should take a ‘time-out’, I did not respond until later that afternoon.
To be continued …