Town Moves to Correct Open Records Violation

by | Aug 4, 2014

town hall

After learning last week it was one of six cities and towns in Rhode Island without a certified employee to respond to open records requests, the Town of East Greenwich has filed the necessary paperwork to correct that situation, Town Manager Tom Coyle said Monday.

The omissions came to light after an audit, released Thursday, by MuckRock.com and Access/RI.

They were looking at compliance to a law instituted as of September 2012 (R.I. General Law 38-2):

Not later than January 1, 2013, and annually thereafter, the chief administrator of each agency and each public body shall state in writing to the attorney general that all officers and employees who have the authority to grant or deny persons or entities access to records under this chapter have been provided orientation and training regarding this chapter. The attorney general may, in accordance with the provisions of chapter 35 of title 42, promulgate rules and regulations necessary to implement the requirements of this section.

 

“With the transition to a new town manager, the form was inadvertently not filed,” said Town Council President Michael Isaacs. “We do have people trained and certified. Our designated staff are [Town Clerk] Leigh Botello and [Town Planner] Lisa Bourbonnais.”

Botello filed the form on Friday, Isaacs said. 

The state attorney general’s office could not verify that EG had filed the paperwork on Monday.

“If the East Greenwich council filed the paperwork on Friday, it is possible that it has not been received by this office yet,” said spokeswoman Emily Martineau.

In addition to East Greenwich, the audit found no attorney general’s record of any municipal employee being certified to respond to open record requests in either 2013 or 2014 for Charlestown, Johnston, Newport, Richmond and Warren. And 10 of 24 state and quasi-public agencies that were selectively examined: the Airport Corporation, Board of Elections, Department of Administration, Department of Business Regulation, Department of Corrections, Department of Education, Department of Labor and Training, General Assembly, Office of the Auditor General and the Rhode Island Housing and Mortgage Finance Corporation.

 

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1 Comment

  1. mariehennedy

    The right to know is even more important than the right to vote. Our U.S. Constitution mandates freedom of the press, for good reason!

    Reply

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