Saturday, October 18, 2008

Middletown Lawsuit #2

"In May, 2007, then Finance Director Shawn Brown received a wirrten request, under the Freedom of Information Act, seeking copies of town owned cell phone and/or land line telephones of the Director of the Senior Center [Arlene Kaull], who at the times of the request, happened to be the sister of the Defendant, Paul Rodrigues. Upon learning of this request, Paul Rodrigues arrived at the office of the Plaintiff [Kempen], and inquired as to why he was not told of the freedom of Information request, as the records being sought involved his sister. The Plaintiff informed Defendant Paul Rodrigues that requests of this type were regularly received and responded to, and that is how this particular request was handled. The Defendant directed the Plaintiff to discipline Shawn Brown for releasing the records requested without having first told the Defendant PaulRodrigues of the request, telling the Plaintiff that he was "sick and tired of his (Shawn Brown's) bull---!" The Plaintiff refused to discipline Shawn Brown as direted. At the direction of the Defendant Paul Rodrigues, the Plaintiff was caused to write a policy regarding future Freedom on Information requests, making sure that the Council President would recive copies of any such request;"

AMAZING!! It was Councilor Ed "The White Knight" Silveira who asked for these public records and more re: the senior center. Like, y' know, how many or.members they have (which he never rec'd). When you're discussing budget issues, it's relevant. It was also of concern to him that much of the Senior Center's budget is run through a PRIVATE checking account controlled only by the Director. Hello, problem here.

Oh, you naughty boy-0's, you. The new Town Admin. (Shawn Brown as well as Kempen] were evidently was on a "hit list" & marked for more than bad spankings. Witness the efforts NOT to have him (Brown) appointed Interim Town Admin. later that year. Ooops, that did not go all that well, did it?

"Hit lists," yeah, they still exist in government a la Nixon. Keep in mind that the Dem. Town Committee leadership consists of the Sr. Ctr. Director and reflects the de facto current town leadership. Silveira was marked, Sylvia more recently, and li'l ole me. Yeah, we retired school teachers are VERY SCARY. Seems that I'm viewed as "stupid." Now, you mightly not like me for any number of quite valid reasons; and yet, still I live. But "stupid" ain't one of them. I've got some sheepskins just like "the scarecrow" that says otherwise.

This information notification policy is still in effect, as far as I know. It applies to ANYONE requesting information, not just Councilors (hello, press- what little is left). Silveira asked for the Council to request the Att'ny General to rule on this policy, but his request never went anywhere. Go figure. This makes is even more important for the town to adopt a stricter freedom of information act such as the one vetoed by the guv & enacted in Portsmouth. This whole debacle proves the value of "open records," along with a free & involved press. More not less! Easier not harder! As much on-line as feasible. We have an information tech committee in Middletown. Let's use them!!
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