At issue is the town of Watertown’s (MA) decision to withhold from the press the names of those who owe the town nearly $800,000 in unpaid parking tickets. Several community newspapers in nearby towns have published similar information, prompting many to pay their outstanding fines. However, when the TAB & Press sought this information from Watertown, the town refused.
Town officials and town counsel point to the federal Drivers Privacy Protection Act for why they cannot release to the press the names of top offenders. They also contend that since they outsource the parking ticket process, the outside firm has the information, not the town.
Rob stated that “When services are provided through vendors and such records are created and stored in contractors’ offices, the same standard applies. This change in location does not abrogate the government’s obligation to ensure public accountability and public access to these government records.”
“‘We don’t have it’ is just not a sufficient excuse under the law,” Bertsche said.
For more of Rob’s explanation and to view the complete article, click here.