Especially Poor Headline
No I'm not bothered that The Republican, finally, followed up on a fascinating story I broke two weeks ago (without citing me) concerning the chaos at UMass Amherst Alumni Association--an expensive bureaucratic fiefdom with a clunky form of governance and inefficient oversight from the mother institution.
I'm bothered they missed the real story.
First off, by saying the report I dragged out of a reluctant UMass via Public Document Law was "kept confidential until recently" almost makes it sound like UMass Amherst simply decided to put their flacks at the Office of News and Media Relations to work and voluntarily released the report.
And since the year old report cites major problems and dissension within the organization, perhaps one or two of those unhappy sources should have been found and given a voice?
Instead we get officials from UMass saying it's all in the past (why they kept it secret for a year, thus putting it in the past) and things are now all better.
My source, who first contacted me two months ago after a paranoid UMass official angrily hung up on him in a phone conversation accusing him of being "Larry Kelley", considers the article a "whitewash".
He is, understandably, disappointed.
So am I.
#####From: Larry Kelley
To: "Michael A. Leto" Nancy Buffone
Subject: Public Documents Request
Michael Leto Vice Chancellor for Development and Alumni Relations
Dear Mr. Leto,
Could I please, under Mass Public Documents Law, get an electronic copy of the Bentz Whaley Flessner study performed over a year ago at a cost of $24,500 related to the performance of the UMass Alumni Association (of which I am now apparently a member due to my wife's long time annual contributions)?
From: Nancy Buffone
Cc: Michael A. Leto
Sent: Fri, Apr 13, 2012 4:18 pm
Subject: Re: Public Documents Request
In your April 3, 2012 email, you requested an electronic copy of a Bentz Whaley Flessner study of the Alumni Association.
It appears that in order to respond to your request, I will need to search for and segregate the records for materials or data relating to personnel files, and materials the disclosure of which may constitute an unwarranted invasion of personal privacy.
Also, I may need to segregate materials comprising trade secrets or commercial or financial information. I may withhold these materials under exemptions (c) and (g) to Section 7(26) of the Massachusetts General Laws. In view of the need for the above screening, the Massachusetts Public Records law, M.G.L. Ch. 66, §10 permits the University to estimate and assess the estimated costs of searching for the requested records or segregating exempt information from non-exempt information.
I estimate that the cost of your request will be as follows: Search and segregation costs: .5 hours at $129 per hour (administrator) = $64.50 .75 at $18 per hour (clerk) = $13.50 Total: $78.00 In the event that actual costs exceed the estimate, I will bill you for the difference.
If the actual costs are less, I will refund the overpayment. When I receive your check in the amount of $78, I will compile the records responsive to your request.
From: Larry Kelley
To: buffone NancyCc: mleto
Sent: Fri, Apr 13, 2012 8:09 pm
Subject: Re: Public Documents Request
Geeze, you're killing me.
I find it hard to believe that I'm the first person to make this request and as such an already redacted copy should be easily accessible.The Secretary of State frowns on double charging for public documents, or throwing up barriers of an economic kind.
But your word is good with me...I'll get a check out tomorrow.
To: Larry Kelley Cc: Michael A. Leto Sent: Tue, Apr 24, 2012 5:21 pm Subject: Re: Public Documents Request Larry - I wrote to you via email on April 13, in response to your April 3, 2012 public records request, indicating a fee for the cost of staff time to search and segregate the requested Bentz Whaley Flessner study of the Alumni Association. After review, it has been determined that no redactions will be necessary at this time. I will be returning your check to you via US Mail and will email the report to you by Thursday, April 26.
What address would you prefer that I use to return your check?
Date: Thu, 26 Apr 2012 10:24:21 To: Nancy Buffone Subject: Re: Public Documents Request Hey Nancy, Business is gone (but some checks remain). You can just rip it up (save postage). Care to comment on the report? I'm going to release it in full. Larry
Larry - I have shredded the check. Thanks, Nancy
A previous Public Documents Request handled poorly UMASSletoSecStateR