Monday, June 3, 2019

Secrecy is the status quo for some


Three sets of Mass. public agencies nominated for government secrecy award
By Amanda Kaufman Globe Correspondent,June 2, 2019, 3:17 p.m.
(John Tlumacki/Globe Staff)
Three sets of Massachusetts public agencies are facing stiff competition for an ignoble accolade: most secretive.
State Police, three different district attorneys, and the state’s court system are finalists for the Investigative Reporters and Editors’ Golden Padlock Award, which is granted annually to the most secretive government agency or individual.
Among the fellow nominees are Michigan State University’s coverup of serial sexual abuse by Larry Nassar; former Alabama attorney general Luther Strange, who withheld records confirming his role in an alleged bribery conspiracy; and the Charleston, S.C., County School District for refusing to release documents showing the district had settled complaints brought by children claiming an employee had sexually molsted them.
State Police, which won the award in 2015, and the state’s comptroller’s office were nominated for keeping secret the pay of hundreds of employees based on an obscure state policy that allows employees to request their salaries be kept confidential if they or a relative have ever been a victim of a crime.
Also up for the award are three district attorneys who continuously refused to comply with a request for a basic list of cases they prosecuted and their outcomes, even after a Superior Court judge ordered them to hand the records over.
The Massachusetts court system, which was the subject of a Globe Spotlight investigation that revealed police, politicians, and other public officials have had their criminal cases dismissed at closed door hearings is also a nominee.
“Their skill, wit and perseverance in concealing hard truths from the people they serve illustrates a deep commitment to personal service at the public’s expense by whatever means necessary,” Robert Cribb, chair of IRE’s Golden Padlock Committee, said in a statement.

17 Comments:

At June 3, 2019 at 1:20 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

What an "honor" for MA to have so many state agencies nominated for this. What does that tell you about the transparency of the MA agencies?

 
At June 3, 2019 at 1:55 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Not the first time MA has been names in these awards. What are we going to do about this?

From the Golden Padlock awards web page:

2016 FINALISTS: The Massachusetts Supervisor of Public Records Shawn Williams and Secretary of State William F. Galvin;
2015 WINNER | MASSACHUSETTS STATE POLICE
The Massachusetts State Police habitually go to extraordinary lengths to thwart public records requests, protect law enforcement officers and public officials who violate the law and block efforts to scrutinize how the department performs its duties. It normally takes months or longer to respond to news media FOI requests. Requests for basic documents routinely produce refusals, large portions of blacked out documents or demands for tens of thousands of dollars in unjustified fees. Among them, a $42,750 fee for the log of its public records requests and a $62,220 fee for records of crashes involving police cruisers sought by the Boston Globe. A Bay State Examiner reporter was told to pay a $710.50 “non-refundable research fee” to get an estimate of the fee he would have to pay to obtain copies of internal affairs reports. The Worcester Telegram & Gazette concluded: “The Massachusetts State Police is a habitual offender – verging on a career criminal – when it comes to breaking a state law intended to ensure government is accountable to the people it serves.”

 
At June 3, 2019 at 2:01 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

MA culture doesn’t promote transparency and Framingham falls right in line with that they are working on the old mcAuliffe library doing what king calls extensive renovations but no permit for this work and the city council knows nothing about this and the COO is cryptic in his response about who is paying for the work so yeah the state police are an issue, but how about our own police and yes the Secretary of States office has been a problem with FOI requests but so has the mayor’s office and the Framingham police. These problems exist right here in the Ham and how about we focus on fixing them?

 
At June 3, 2019 at 2:28 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Curious how MA compares to other states on FOI responses. Any idea where I can find that type of information?

 
At June 3, 2019 at 4:02 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

While I appreciate the news stories you post here Jim I am more interested in hearing what you think of the issues the stories talk about than I am in just rereading the story. How about more comments from you?

 
At June 3, 2019 at 4:22 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

When you read the papers about all the issues here in our state it makes me wonder why on earth I choose to live here, but I do. I guess I am an eternal optimist hoping things will change. I am 71 and they have not changed yet so maybe I am not an optimist but a fool.

 
At June 3, 2019 at 4:39 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

How can you expect local government to be responsive and law abiding when just about every agency in the state has been caught doing something they shouldn’t be doing? Just saying.

 
At June 4, 2019 at 9:48 AM , Blogger jim pillsbury said...

I post pieces of articles that I find that may or should be of interest to all our readers. Since many don't get the papers and to read the full piece, you have to pay to subscribe, I 'm just passing this stuff on.
Many times I can't express my outrage over some of the recent news about State and local government actions. Yesterday's leading editorial on the State Cops conspiracy sums up what many feel is correct. The issue we have here in the Ham is the lack of media asking questions and seeking the answers.
Really what choice do we have? our kids and grandkids are here, the majority of friends are here and our neighbors... what we would do without them?
We all should try to stay informed and get the younger people involved. I hard a comment from a famous author on TV over the weekend.. she spoke about the cesspool of silence in our society and I agree.
I like to think I have focused on the Ham seriously since 2000 and participated in local government since then. But things have changed, and it's easier for our form of government to marginalize anyone who questions anything.

 
At June 4, 2019 at 11:08 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree with every single thing Jim said. We all need to get more involved and we all need to get our kids and grandkids involved. Nothing is going to change if we don't use our voice to demand those changes

 
At June 4, 2019 at 11:19 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Who made that statement on cesspool of silence in our society? I really like that and would like to hear more of what she said.

 
At June 4, 2019 at 1:28 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sometimes you get tired of railing against the bureaucracy since we never seem to get anywhere when we do. If it were not for the press we would know none of this stuff. But knowing about it does not mean we can fix it. It is just a sign of the times.

 
At June 4, 2019 at 1:29 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Express your outrage here Jim. That is what I come here to read.

 
At June 4, 2019 at 1:58 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Blah blah blah. Same old same old. State agencys are corrupt. Politicians are dishonest. The press finds out secrets. Nothing new here. Nothing changes

 
At June 4, 2019 at 2:41 PM , Blogger jim pillsbury said...

Author Sister Joan Chittister. She has a bit of renegade in her words... and not overly religious either. She was interviewed by Oprah and railed on our society for not getting involved. Steph has read a bunch of her work.

I understand how some of you feel ... it gets me down as well. Day in and day out... it's some new revelation reported on in the news. We all want justice, transparency and honesty from those who use our tax dollars and shouldn't give up asking for such.

 
At June 4, 2019 at 3:09 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

All of us except those who can acctually give us that. They don't give a dam at all.

 
At June 4, 2019 at 3:27 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

On another note did anyone see the mayors LTE in the MWD news today where she siad she experience racism at a dc meeting? Seems like fighting words to me

 
At June 4, 2019 at 4:54 PM , Blogger jim pillsbury said...

truth by told... it was at a DC meeting when Kevin Croddy stood at the mic and said some really ugly things about the Mayor as I remember it.

Her LTE is more PR in my opinion to get the diversity officer. For the record, we do need to be more diverse in our hiring and appointing ... but the answer may not be in hiring one person to make the City more diverse in it's employee's.. but the one's doing the outreach and hiring should be charged with making Framingham have a more diverse city.

And what if the new diversity person can't find enough qualified diverse employee's.. what then? do we import them from Boston? We already suffer from having so many strangers running the show here. From the COO to the advisors. All nice people, but still don't have a feel for the community and it's indigenous leaning residents and our history both good and bad.

 

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