Former Select Chair requests emails

Before We Begin…

I’d like to thank three confidants for their advice on how I might respond to this issue. They have provided very different and very wise recommendations which have been invaluable.  I can’t say enough how much everyone’s feedback is important to me.  If there’s one thing I pride myself on the most, it’s my ability to listen to others and attempt to do a better job tomorrow than I’ve done today.  Thank you.  

With this in mind, I’m sharing information to speak about a larger issue than emails.  There’s a bigger picture about Northfield government which can be described in two sentences.  I’ll get to that below.  Regarding the headline, today’s post is mostly a Who, What, Where, When, Why article.

Readers, if you don’t want to read about “politics” this isn’t the post for you.

What’s this about?

Former Select Chair John Quinn filed a public-records request for emails under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA).  As you can see in the picture above, Quinn made his request via the Town Manager and cc’d the current Select Chair, David Maxwell.

Who’s emails?

Quoting Quinn’s email pictured above:

I am formally requesting under the freedom of information act, any emails between Nate Freeman and the Northfield police department employees. I would also like any emails between the Northfield police department employees and anyone with a @mychamplainvalley.com email And Any emails between Nate Freeman and emails that end in. @mychamplainvalley.com

MyChamplainValley.com is the website for the Plattsburgh/Burlington television station, WVNY.

I have complied with the request.  In the interest of full disclosure, I’ve posted links to my emails at the bottom of the page.

Who’s John Quinn?

Quinn served as member and Chair of the Board from 2011 to March 2016.  He also presided over the attempted ouster of Police Chief Jim Dziobek in 2015.  The attempt was rebuffed by a public outcry.  This incident is relevant today because what happened under his leadership provides context to his current request.

Why did Quinn name the NPD, WVNY, and myself?

Apparently, John thinks the NPD and myself may have contacted WVNY about a public official’s private legal woes.  For the record, this didn’t happen.  There are no emails which suggest such a connection.

On October 15th, the State Police issued a standard press release on its website regarding a Northfield public official.  On the same day, WVNY published a very brief article on its website, MyChamplainValley.com.  It reads like an article written directly from a press release.

Quinn appears to have a conspiracy theory that some of Northfield’s public officials are involved in the dissemination of public information.

What’s the subject of the WVNY article?

A public official is under investigation on a private-life matter.  I won’t’ discuss it here because, no matter how disturbing the allegation, his private-life business isn’t related to municipal business.  It’s only newsworthy in respect to the fact that he’s a public official.  Besides, I have to work with him.  If you want the details, please look it up yourself.

How does a private issue become a public issue?

Simple.  Public officials in Northfield have been called upon to respond to an FOIA request for emails.  Quinn is attempting to connect a line (which doesn’t exist) to a private-life matter.  Quinn should have known this when he made his request.  He should have also known that his email to the Town Manager is, equally, a public document.

What’s the Big Picture?

Northfield has a government with a hush-hush culture.  There’s a good-ol’ boy attitude that’s completely out of alignment with good governance.

Here are my emails

I’ve provided my emails to and from the Northfield Police Department in fulfillment of Quinn’s FOIA request.  You can read all of them by clicking on the links below.

Since my election last March, there have been 10 email conversations between myself and the Chief.  In our first conversation I asked about Northfield’s heroin & opiate problem — and from there our conversation continued.  I have no emails to or from WVNY.

Thank You

Once again I’d like to thank everyone who gives me feedback on local issues.  I believe I have been straightforward in my differences when I challenge my municipal colleagues on local issues.  Thank you for understanding how and why I feel compelled to share this post.

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Author: Nate Freeman

-- DIrector of Strategic Partnerships Northfield Community Development Network (NCDN) -- Selectboard Member, 3-year term -- Member, Economic Development Committee -- Member, School Improvement Team at the Northfield Middle/High School -- Member, Northfield Teen Center Advisory Committee

2 thoughts on “Former Select Chair requests emails”

  1. Politics in Northfield has Always been a hush, hush and ole boys club. There is a lot of back stabbing and a@# kissing also. God forbid we get someone on the Board that will not do the above things and only want to do good and lookout for the people of Northfield. Watch your back Nate! Once the good ole boys want someone off that board they will stop at nothing to do it. The Board have forced and fired many good Northfield Employees just because they wanted them gone.

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  2. Hi Nate,

    That’s politics!
    Thanks for keeping your work and desire to improve Northfield always above board (no pun intended). I’m sure each and every selectboard member wants to improve our community. However, it should always be in a transparent way. To keep it secretive, while their heart may be in the right place, always leaves room for personal agendas to gain advantage and threaten our communities potential as well as the public trust. They must know that! If your colleagues have an forward thinking idea/plan for betterment of our town, and I’m confident some may, they should be able to articulate it to the rest of the board and the public. They should respect the way you do this for the community. It only can make our local government better and a strengthen our overall position for improvement.

    Thanks,

    Bill

    Like

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