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Letter: Records requests

I am one of the Ashfield citizens who has requested public documents over the last two years, and am responding to Diane Broncaccio’s article published on Aug. 3. I am asking that you publish this in the interest of fairness and accuracy. I am also the tenant who initiated the process of discovering why Ashfield House residents were not living in code-compliant housing, and why Reasonable Accommodation requests were being turned down.

Concerning document requests: many of those fulfilled were unresponsive, incomplete, altered from their original format and intentionally repetitive to increase the costs of obtaining them. If the majority of them had been handled according to public records laws, we would not be here now. And there were also requests that went unanswered despite repeated reminders. Every citizen has the right to request to see (and/or copy) a public record by law.

With regard to Open Meeting Law complaints, perhaps we should be asking why both the Ashfield Selectboard and Board of Health freely and intentionally violate the law to begin with? It’s easier and costs nothing for local municipalities, public bodies and regional entities — to operate openly sans hidden agendas. Sending almost every Open Meeting Law complaint and public records request to Town Counsel to avoid answering (and perhaps potential liability) ... speaks volumes.

So does maligning the character and reputation of a handful of women asking those questions.

DEBORAH NICHOLSON

Ashfield

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