Email Leaks Aren’t Just for National Politics

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Americans are still receiving daily updates about Russia’s interference in our elections, last year, beginning with the still-unattributed hacking and publication of Democrats’ emails.  Followers of Tiverton politics, however, don’t have to go that far for their intrigue.  As I write on Tiverton Fact Check:

The day before our Charter Review Commission (CRC) election, Deborah Scanlon Janick published on her Facebook page a string of private emails sent among some members of the town’s Budget Committee, not including her.  Her explanation, as secretary of the committee, is that I “erroneously left [them] in [her] pile of attachments.” …

Her next move was to show them to Town Solicitor Anthony DeSisto to ask whether the email chain violated the Open Meetings Act (OMA).  Under state law, a quorum (usually a majority of a board) can’t communicate privately about official business because that would essentially be a secret meeting. …

In this case, there were five of us on the email chain out of 11 Budget Committee members, so Mr. DeSisto concluded we’d done nothing wrong.  Nonetheless, Janick held on to the emails for five months and attempted to throw them like a grenade the day before an election, hoping to affect the outcome.

So, acting in her official capacity, the elected secretary of the Budget Committee took private emails that she knew weren’t meant to be shared and released them on her own Facebook page for political advantage.  There’s nothing to the emails, but the folks in town who aren’t happy that taxes haven’t continued to climb faster than inflation are trying to compensate for the lack of controversy with dark insinuations that elected officials’ communicating is somehow overly secretive.



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