Public Access Rules?

January 06, 1991

MANCHESTER — In an attempt to clarify the way the public is allowed to inspect public town documents, the Town Council on Tuesday is expected to explore the possibility of developing rules for access to all town records.

On the advice of Town Attorney Charles O. Fisher Jr., the council will look at enacting a first-ever set of regulations spelling out who may look at what documents, as well as how those documents are tobe made available.

"I think the town wants to adopt some sort of procedure for dealing with those kinds of requests," Fisher said Friday. "There are state statutes that relate to that kind of stuff, and they can be confusing."

Two state laws guide access to town business -- the State Open Meetings Act and the Freedom of Information Act were enacted to give the press and public wide access to the business of government.

Fisher said the push for a set of regulations is not related to any specific crisis.

Indeed, under former Mayor Elmer C. Lippy Jr., town business was made open to just about anybody who asked.

Fisher said any set of rules would merely mirror state law, and would serve to inform town employees of that law.

In other business Tuesday, the Town Council is expected to choose a vice president since the former vice president, current Mayor Earl A. J. "Tim" Warehime, is now president; it also is expected to appoint Councilman John A. Riley to beresponsible for town roads and appoint Councilwoman Charlotte B. Collett to direct the town's parks and recreation programs.

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