Scituate Council ignorant of its APRA policy

Scituate Council ignorant of its APRA policy

At last Thursday’s council meeting, former Councilman Charles Collins remarked, “I did not know you could appeal” an access to public records act (APRA) determination. Other council members were also ignorant of the APRA appeal process.

This is surprising since the town was cited by the attorney general for not complying with this basic provision of the open meeting laws. Scituate did not have an appeal process until July 9, 2020, when it was approved via the consent agenda, where no discussion occurs. The problem with the ever-expanding consent agenda is the lack of understanding of what is being passed. This became clear when some council members did not know they received a letter in their council package from Chief Administrative Officer Peggy Long explaining that anyone can appeal an APRA determination; as stated on the town’s APRA response letter.

It is ironic that Collins made the motion to pass the APRA appeal process, by the appointment of Chief Administrative Officer Long, and now evident that he was clueless of the meaning of his actions and the basic requirements of APRA laws.

Richard Finnegan