What is a Public Record in Elkton?

Over a week and a half ago we suggested some other practical ways Mayor Fisona should be able to make some of the MPIA requested public records available.  These are simply straight-forward documents that clarify what the town council promised Elk Landing in order to get it to agree to give up its 99-year lease on public land, we think.  So we were surprised that the current MPIA request is going to build on the tangled web even more by not be available for public examination.  In reference to one of our very simple and practical suggestions for procuring a portion of the request, we’ve been told that the mayor wants a consultation with others before providing data. 

As Mayor Fisona consults with others about complying with this request, we thought some information from the state might provide guidance.  The Maryland Public Information Act manual is very helpful in understanding the broad rights of the public to access records that are in the possession of government.  Additionally, the Office of the Attorney General publishes detailed information to help citizens and local government manage this process on its web site at www.oag.state.md.us.

We also see that the state archives has criteria for local governments related to records retention policies so they don’t run into these types of issues.  Perhaps someone at the town should talk to someone at the archives, so Someone Noticed and the public can figure out what was promised.

The town should develop a records retention policy and enforce it, we think.  But we also suspect that the administration is busy working on a purchase order system for a government entity that spends millions of dollars each year, apparently without that basic fiscal policy being in place.  We recall what Mayor Crouse said at a public meeting,  The town had one under his administration so he was surprised they didn’t these days.  Perhaps after they finish with that important fiscal practice, they can write a records retention policy. 

We shall see. 



3 responses to “What is a Public Record in Elkton?

  1. The implementation of a purchase order “system” might be a lot more complicated, though, Mike.

    Putting a policy in place as you’re suggesting shouldn’t be more involved than:

    1) Instruct the town solicitor to compile research on existing records retention policies in place throughout Maryland.
    2) Assemble a recommended policy for review.
    3) Vote on the damn thing!

    Don’t let the bureacracy of big town procedures get them bogged down on this. It’s inexcusable that one doesn’t exist and it’s high time someone demanded one be in place.

    And – write to the AG’s office about this stuff. Who knows what else isn’t being kept when it should be?

    Come to think of it – what’s MJ doing discussing anything remotely connected to town business – on his home computer!??? At a minimum, I’d want to cc: the Town Administrator on any communication so that a record would be available (even to cover himself on something else that might come up…)

  2. Wayne:

    As an old investigative report on the Cecil County Beat, how about a guest editorial, drawing on your years of experience, covering the town county?


  3. Crazy History Teacher

    Come on Joe! What is the matter with you!? I have been very disappointed in your performance. You can do better than this. I’m afraid I’m going to have to give you an “Unsatisfactory” on your report call.

    I teach high school kids, and even they know what a Public Record is!

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