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Massachusetts Liberal

Observations on politics, the media and life in Massachusetts and beyond from the left side of the road.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Urban Mechanic needs a tune-up

Wow, is this what it's like to watch a car crash in slow motion?

For a group seemingly skilled in fixing problems, the daily drips of information about the Menino administration's failure to understand, let alone follow the state's public records law is mind-boggling.

Let's start with what appears to be the center of the storm -- a city attorney who doesn't know the law. Richard Sinnott has already made the mistake of thinking that you don't need to save trivial e-mails.

Now we seem to have discovered that the office apparently doesn't pay much attention to court orders.

And that short-staffing may have its value in telling folks you are running a lean operation -- but not when it comes to applying the law.

It all comes back around to the city attorney's office (and not the state attorney general, at least not yet.) It is the responsibility of Sinnott, not that of the "overworked" Dot Joyce, to comply with FOIA requests, not to mention court orders. And insure that there is adequate and appropriate staff to handle all the lawful requests.

Particularly those that relate to the federal charges against former state Sen. Dianne Wilkerson.

Still and all, I'm not ready to go out on a limb about the impact of this incompetence on either the results of next Tuesday's preliminary or the November final. There is a deep and abiding affection for Tom Menino and the administration's ability to plow the snow and pick up the trash.

But the e-mail nightmare certainly reflects what happens when someone hold office for as long as Menino has -- and starts to think l'etat, c'est moi.

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Blogger Marc said...

As a Systems Administrator who has worked on a campaign, I'm offended to the professional core that the Mayor's office would shirk its duty in information retention, and that nobody but his opponents seem to care.

Just because there's no active court case right now does not mean this is suddenly okay. If the FEC had audited us and we had done this, the repercussions would have been severe. Why doesn't anyone care?

And this is all aside from my personal disgust.

September 16, 2009 7:50 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm sure that anyone in the public or private sector who has deleted an "interesting" e-mail is feeling nervous about this witchhunt right now ...

September 16, 2009 10:29 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is no witch-hunt. The law was broken by the Menino Administration. Plain & simple.

September 16, 2009 11:52 AM  

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