First let me provide background on a deplorable situation which has cost the town an outrageous amount of money in legal fees!
In the spring of 2011, I submitted to the town two Freedom of Access Act (FOAA) requesting information. Both were denied by the town, so I hired a lawyer and sued the town in court. The town Attorney, Roger Therriault, delayed the proceedings twice but on the third attempt I demanded a speedy trial and Superior Court Judge Mary Gay Kennedy finally put it on the record. In the end, I won both court cases; however, my victory cost the town over $10,000.00 in legal fees. Mrs. Pomelow blamed me for the excessive legal fees but it was Mr. Therriault who kept delaying the trial. This is how he makes his money.
Now, on January 3, 2014, I submitted another Freedom of Access Act (FOAA) requesting the following information: Respectfully request a copy of the letter dated November 25, 2013 submitted by the Town Attorney concerning the proposed Administrative Consent Agreement (ACA) between the Maine Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) and the Town of Lisbon. I am looking for the letter Mr. Therriault submitted to Maine DEP dated November 25, 2013 pertaining to the Administrative Consent Agreement (ACA) between Maine DEP and the Town.
The response I received came from the Town Clerk: Dear Mr. Fillmore, The Consent Agreement proposed by the Department of Environmental Protection has not been finalized. As such, we believe that it falls under the exception to the definition of public records in 1 M.R.S.A. §402(3)(A) and (B). Until a final Consent Agreement has been agreed to and executed by the parties, the draft represents settlement negotiations which remain confidential and which also are privileged against discovery.
However, because we now have a professional Interim Town Manager, who appears to want to restore transparency in local government, I received the following letter from Mr. Michael Huston.
In the second paragraph, it clearly states that according to the Assistant Attorney General, I am entitled to what I asked for again. This is the third time, the Town Attorney was wrong and in my book, three strikes and you are out. In my opinion, Roger Therriault, has no clue what the law is when it comes to Freedom of Access Act (FOAA) requests. This fact has hurt the town in the past and will continue to hurt the town in the future. Mr. Therriault has been with the town for a very long time and I personally believe the town deserves better legal advice.
I think we should be shopping for a new Town Attorney.