Thursday, January 20, 2005

Newspaper appeals to state records chief

The Providence Journal reported yesterday that it filed an appeal with the Massachusetts public records supervisor, arguing that officials in Seekonk, Mass., cannot withhold the details of a settlement agreement that paved the way for the departure of the town's former administrator. The town contends that the agreement cannot be disclosed because both parties agreed to keep it secret.

The Massachusetts public records supervisor, Alan N. Cote, declined the newspaper's request to discuss the case until he had reviewed it, but told a reporter that, in general a public official does not have the power to seal a public document by making an agreement to keep the information secret.

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