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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, December 07, 2011

Prince of Darkness feeling at home

The automatic deletion of records from the cabinet secretaries of the last three governors may not be illegal, but it's sure not right.

The Globe tells us today that state computer systems automatically purged the e-mails generated during the Cellucci, Swift and Romney administrations and because no one thought to back them up, the public no longer has access to the process used to reach decisions affecting them.

Like the apparently legal but dubious process of allowing departing staff to purchase individual hard drives, the vanishing public records reflect a very callous disregard to the rights of people who elect officials who appoint others to conduct the people's business -- ostensibly in the open.

The root of that disregard rests with Secretary of State Bill Galvin, the official keeper of public records, and the Massachusetts Legislature, which manages to exempt itself from every law requiring openness, whether in meetings or in record-keeping.

As a result, we have no records on the machinations that led to the making of significant milestones (and political millstones) like RomneyCare.
No one came over to me and said, ‘Do this, do this, do this, do this,’ ’’ said Tim Murphy, who as secretary of Health and Human Services helped formulate the state’s landmark health care law. “I just turned my computer off and went home. That’s the end of it.’’
Galvin tries to slough off blame on the Romney record debacle onto the Patrick administration, questioning why the incoming team didn't ask about the electronic records.
“The premise seems to be no transition with electronic records,’’ Galvin said. “I find that impossible to believe. Of course you’d ask.’’
Sorry, but most rational people buried in a jungle of transition details, would presume that the Supervisor of Public Records, whose face is plastered all over his website and on TV, would establish policies, backed up by force of law if necessary, to ensure there is an orderly transition of records about the people's business.

Then again, he's not known as the Prince of Darkness for nothing.

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