Massachusetts: E-mail on time

A Massachusetts newspaper made good use recently of the generally weak Massachusetts Public Records Act to undermine an appointment made by Gov. Deval Patrick:

Mohl: Walsh fiasco shows value of public records law.

Patrick appointed State Senator Marian Walsh to a $175,000/year position as assistant executive director of the Massachusetts Health and Educational Facilities Authority.

It was alleged that this appointment was payback from Patrick to Walsh because she was an early Patrick supporter. These claims were hotly denied. A reporter filed a request for e-mails. The e-mails indicated a pretty clear-cut quid pro quo. The appointment was withdrawn.

Doesn’t happen that way often (in most states and in most stories, the reporter doesn’t get the e-mails and by the time a lawsuit has worked its way through the courts, no one cares anymore), but it worked this time. Nice.

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