Get Jerry to do it: A public records case study

Learning Objectives

  • Students will consider the following scenario and make decisions based on their understanding of legal access to records.
  • Student will be able to explain their decisions and how they would seek outside help in making those decisions.


You’re a records manager at a Massachusetts government agency. You regularly receive requests for information related to you agencies business practices. You have two employees working for you. One employee makes 12 dollars an hour, another make 15 dollars an hour. On Monday you received the following requests. (Look at the Bibliography for guidance)

  • Files related to disciplinary actions against a specific officer. These file contain the home address of the officer and their email.
  • A repeat requestor is asking for bid files related to road construction projects.
  • A request for emails to and from agency officials regarding the construction of a new building and the bidding process. Some of the emails in the thread contain personal conversations and not government business.


  • When would you have to respond to the requests?
  • How would you determine what a reasonable fee would be for these requests? Would you waive the fee for any of them?
  • What information do you think should be redacted or not given to the requestor?


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