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Letter: Falmouth protocol seeks 'clarity'

Opinion

Letter: Falmouth protocol seeks 'clarity'

We are writing to clarify the town of Falmouth’s recently developed protocol to assist residents seeking access to public records under the Freedom of Access Act (FOAA).

Falmouth officials have been inundated with requests for public records and a system was needed to guarantee efficient access for town and school records. Our purpose was to:

1) Educate the public about the types of records that can be accessed and how to best present FOAA requests.

2) Create a consistent process for all town staff, which will better enable them to manage the increasing number of FOAA requests.

The Falmouth municipal and school departments have committed resources to provide accessible and comprehensive websites. Our websites offers a large volume of public records and are used by many residents. The development of this protocol is another effort to ensure good practice and compliance with the law. The town’s attorney assisted us with the development of the protocol at a public meeting on Aug. 4, 2010. This was an effort to offer clarity in a transparent manner.

Perhaps, in the future, advocates for public access will work in partnership with towns and schools to better serve the public. Toward that end, we are open to reasonable suggestions that will provide even greater clarity to the public about access to public records. The town of Falmouth works hard for its residents and is confident this FOAA protocol will continue to provide a comprehensive and efficient process.

Nathan Poore, town manager
Barbara Powers, superintendent of schools
Falmouth