By Amelia Pak-Harvey
TOWNSEND — Public-records requests became a sore note at the Board of Selectmen’s meeting on Tuesday, after one resident took issue when a selectman became involved with her request.
Resident Leeanne Jackson said that she put in a public-records request to see if anyone in the Police Department was sent an email during a certain time period — searching to see whether Warren Ryder was given the interim chief’s job before the posting even expired.
But another public-records request for emails containing the word “public records” unveiled an email from Selectmen Chairwoman Carolyn Smart to town counsel regarding Jackson’s request. It mentioned Jackson by name and also identified her as the daughter of Sue Lisio, whom Selectman Gordon Clark defeated in last spring’s elections.
Clark later came under fire for not reporting his relationship with Ryder — initially chosen as the interim chief — in a timely manner. Ryder was chief in Boxboro when Clark was a reserve officer there.
At the selectmen’s meeting, Jackson took issue with Smart’s involvement in her request.
Interim Town Administrator James Kreidler said that anyone with access to a public record is considered a keeper of that record, but Jackson argued differently.
“Nobody was asking whether or not you were a keeper of (the record),” Jackson said.
Instead, Jackson said that Smart had no right to be involved in that request, which was originally made to the previous town administrator. She also questioned the relevance of identifying her as Lisio’s daughter.
“It’s a big deal because you intervened in it and you sent it to town counsel as if there was anything more to do with it,” she said.
Smart said after the meeting that Jackson’s identification in the email wasn’t meant to be offensive, just meant to tell counsel who she was.
The search for a new police chief, meanwhile, has been narrowed to four semi-finalists out of an original 39 applicants.
But Kreidler suggested veering from the planned process to invite seven residents to join the screening committee that will interview the four candidates.
Interested candidates can submit a letter of interest to his office by 4 p.m. on Tuesday with their name, the segment of the community they represent, a brief statement on why they are interested, and two sample questions to ask candidates.
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