Monday, December 26, 2005

Gary's Disappearing Email

Nathan Tsukroff is just about the only person in Gray who's watching our rogue town council with the skepticism they so richly deserve. Thanks to his diligence, we learn that chairman Gary Foster has destroyed an entire year's worth of public email:
Gray Town Council Chair Gary Foster admitted last week that he deleted all email messages from his first year in office. Maine law designates certain types of email messages as public documents that must be saved permanently.

Foster said “I didn’t know I had to keep them,” although he attended a workshop on Jan. 27, 2005, for Town Council members at which William “Bill” Dale..., the town’s attorney, explained that emails are considered to be official documents and must be revealed in response to any Freedom of Access (Right to Know) requests.

Foster said he had only started to retain email correspondence since he was named as Chair in mid-June.
Nathan's entire report is here.

It's worth noting that in late June 2005 I filed a Freedom of Access request for all of Foster's Pennell-related correspondence going back one year to the beginning of his term. After much discussion over the "legality" of my request -- including consultations with self-declared FOA expert Elizabeth Prata (who advised the council that my request was "harassment" and therefore illegitimate) Foster ultimately provided me with about a month's worth of email. It's here.