Walsh back Emails being open through OPRA

I recieved the following Press release from Democratic Candidate for Middletown Township Committee, Partica Walsh and thought I would pass it along.

PRESS RELEASE

For Immediate Publication

July 28, 2008

POC: Patricia A. Walsh
Democrat for Township Committee
Tel: (908) 601-1252
Email: awalsh386@aol.com

Walsh back Emails being open through OPRA

MIDDLETOWN TOWNSHIP (MONMOUTH COUNTY, NJ): Middletown Democrat for Township Committee
Patricia A. Walsh said she would lobby to make E-mails written from township-owned
computers accessible to the public through OPRA.

“I believe it is the public’s right to know what happens on the machines they buy,”
Walsh said. “A public servant should always be mindful that the taxpayers are the boss,
and it is to them they are accountable.”

Walsh said it is her intention to lobby to create a more transparent government in town
because it is what is right. “There can be excuses for not doing what is right, which
is what this Township Committee is giving the public, but that can never live up to being
as good as just doing the right thing.”

Walsh said she is seeking the Township Committee’s support in a program of backing up
all existing Emails, to ensure that any potentially unauthorized correspondences by
members of the administration are not destroyed.

Specifically, Walsh said she wants correspondences preserved where it involved
communications between department heads, attorneys, members of the governing body, and
historical information where it involves E-mail discussions about sensitive issues such
as COAH and the recent aborted tax assessment of Middletown.

In addition, Walsh said she wants to preserve all existing files on administration
desktops, to review these and ensure that unauthorized programs and actions have not been
taken by the administration in the performance of their duties in town.

“I do intend to clean house, with the help of the committee, and make any township
officials who have been remiss in their duties accountable,” Walsh said.

But beyond accountability for the past, Walsh said permanently opening up taxpayer-access
to E-mails by the administration is just “good government.”

Walsh admitted there are some E-mails that, by law, would not be able to be open for
public review. However, she said those would amount to a relatively small percentage of
the whole.

“This township has been governed by people who are comfortable in secrecy and executive
privilege for too long. They have lost their way and have forgotten that the Town Hall
they wield power from is the property of the taxpayers of Middletown and is not their
private domain,” Walsh concluded. “It is my intention to offer the Middletown
Committee’s majority a fresh lesson in government, which has always been intended to be
by the consent of the governed, and not instead of it.”

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Filed under Middletown Democrats, OPRA, Patricia Walsh

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