HomeNewsSelect Board Roundup: Lazarus Appointed, Update on Unredacted Transcript

Select Board Roundup: Lazarus Appointed, Update on Unredacted Transcript

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On Tuesday, July 9, after interviewing each of the four candidates for 45 minutes followed by a brief discussion, the Hopkinton Select Board unanimously appointed Elaine Lazarus as the next Town Manager for Hopkinton, pending successful contract negotiations.

Chair Brian Herr commended the screening committee for presenting four excellent candidates: Lance Delpriore, Chris Senior, Jason Hoch, and Elaine Lazarus. Each board member thanked the finalists for their efforts and recognized their unique contributions.

Lazarus, known for avoiding the spotlight, received a well-deserved standing ovation upon learning of her appointment.

Update from Town Counsel regarding insufficiently redacted transcript

The Select Board received an update from Town Counsel Bryan Bertram of Harrington Heep regarding the insufficiently redacted transcript released by the Hopkinton Police Department on January 19, 2024.

Bertram acknowledged process failures and said they are now under review for correction. These failures impacted the survivor rights, legal proceedings, town governance, and service standards.

>> RELATED: Town Violates Massachusetts Law, Releases Porter’s Victim’s Name

The document in question was an interview transcript that inadequately redacted by Kroll Investigative Services, an independent firm hired by the town to conduct an investigation into Sergeant Tim Brennan’s involvement in the matter of former Deputy Chief of Police Jay Porter. Bertram said that a member of his team mistakenly assumed the document had been thoroughly redacted before making it public.

Bertram also indicated that the documents were released proactively in advance of the public Loudermill hearing in attempt to be transparent in light of “heightened public interest”.

After discovering the error on Saturday, January 20, Bertram said immediate steps were taken to mitigate the issue despite the damage already incurred.

During the subsequent Northwestern District Attorney’s investigation, Hopkinton Town Counsel refrained from public discussion to respect the process.

>> RELATED: DA Report Finds Criminal Prosecution “Not Warranted” in Alleged Victim’s Records Release

Select Board members then suggested procedural changes to address this significant error.

Chair Brian Herr noted the private sector’s use of comparison software to identify specific words in a document, advocating for integrated technology checks before the release of sensitive information. He proposed exploring software capable of detecting personal identifying information, suggesting a multitier checkbox system with attorney oversight to enhance document management.

Board member Joe Clark emphasized the town’s responsibility in document accuracy, stressing accountability for legal counsel in preventing future errors.

Amy Ritterbusch expressed her dismay over the victim’s information release. Upon learning of the release on Saturday, February 20, Ritterbusch said she promptly notified town authorities. She also indicated that she has refrained from public discussion to prevent further exposure of the victim’s information.

Herr, who has 40 years of experience in HR-sensitive private sectors, stressed the need for privacy boundaries in the public sector, advocating for policies to respect individual privacy under public meeting laws.

LNG Oversight and Advisory Committee

The board briefly discussed establishing an Oversight and Advisory Committee for the Eversource Liquified Natural Gas (LNG) Plant on Wilson Street. The three tanks, built in the 1960s, raise concerns about safety protocols. The focus will be on risk management and communication with the nearly 1,000 nearby homes. Detailed discussions will follow in upcoming meetings.

Select Board Releases Executive Session Minutes

The Select Board concluded the meeting with an executive session to review a public records request covering 42 executive session meeting minutes on various dates from 2022 forward. HopNews independent confirmed that all minutes were released last night.

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