Phone records request pending

SOUTHWEST HARBOR — A resident here said he has yet to hear back from the town weeks after he made a Freedom of Access Act request for Town Manager Don Lagrange’s cell phone records from July 2015 to October 2016.

Jim Snow, who made the request for the records, said “the town is taking too long and is not being communicative.”

Lagrange told the Islander on Tuesday that he sent a letter to his cellular company requesting the records about a month ago but hasn’t heard back from them.

“I have no obligation to do anything for Mr. Snow until I receive that information.”

Legally, a designated public access officer is supposed to acknowledge the request within five working days of receiving it and provide a good faith estimate of when the response to the request will be complete.

Snow, who originally submitted his request in December 2016, renewed it earlier this year. He then approached the Board of Selectmen at their meeting on Jan. 23 for an update.

There, Lagrange agreed to provide his cell phone records but requested that Snow be charged $15 an hour for the time it would take to redact personal information and 20 cents for each copy. This payment requirement is compliant with the law, which stipulates that the first hour of work be provided for free and that charges for additional time spent searching, retrieving, compiling, reviewing, redacting and converting be capped at $15 per hour.

Snow rejected the payment at first but eventually wrote the town a $125 check in early February. He said the town accepted his check but hasn’t provided him with an acknowledgement of the request or an estimate for when it will be completed.

Lagrange disputed the receipt of the payment and said that Snow’s check, dated 2016, can no longer be deposited.

“We can’t cash that two-year-old check.”

Nonetheless, Lagrange said he is waiting for his cell phone company to send the records and said the town will notify Snow “when we have information.”

Henriette Chacar

Henriette Chacar

Former Islander reporter Henriette Chacar covered the towns of Southwest Harbor and Tremont.
Henriette Chacar

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