From: Molly Lovell [mailto:editor@inthecourier.com]
Sent: Tuesday, April 5, 2016 1:59 PM
To: Keith Jacques; Jacques, Keith; Bennett, James; Alan Casavant; Casavant, Alan
Subject: FOAA

April 5, 2016

Dear City Solicitor Keith Jacques, City Manager Jim Bennett and Mayor Alan Casavant:

This is a request under the Freedom of Access Act.

I request that documents containing the following information be provided to me: Copies of email updates from Alan Casavant’s personal email address, and the recipients of those emails, from May 2015 to present. An example of Mayor Casavant’s email updates is one he sent April 5, 2016, at 12:17 p.m. City Attorney Jacques has argued that a prior request for the recipients of the emails was part of Mayor Casavant’s “ongoing campaign outreach to supporters, interested individuals and the press.” Mayor Casavant is not currently running for public office and the emails contain updates on city business.

In order to help to determine my status to assess fees, you should know that I am a representative of the news media affiliated with the Courier newspaper and this request is made as part of news gathering and not for a commercial use.

I request a waiver of all fees for this request. Disclosure of the requested information to me is in the public interest because it is likely to contribute significantly to public understanding of the operations or activities of the government and is not primarily in my commercial interest.

Thank you for your consideration of this request.


Molly Lovell-Keely
Molly Lovell-Keely

Managing Editor


City Response


               This is a follow up to our continued dialogue regarding the outstanding April 5, 2016 FOIA request regarding the Mayor’s updates that he sends out using his personal emails.  Your request essentially contained two components:

  • Copies of the actual email updates from May 2015 to present
  • A list of the people that received those emails, i.e. the copy of the distribution list

                This was the continuation of a previous request that the City had responded to.   Without going into details, in that response, the City made the determination that the email updates were not City records.  

                The City has relooked at our response because of your April 5, 2016 request.   I personally want to thank you for allowing me the additional time in order to look at the issue again.   After that review, the City’s response is as follows:


The City does not have copies of the emails that were sent from the Mayor’s personal email.   As you are probably aware, even if we did, our policy is keep all emails that City has or sends for six months.  

  1. The City previously determined that those emails are not part of City business.  We have determined that they are part of his political process of keeping his constitutes informed.   Our second look at this issue did not change this conclusion.
  2. The City does not know who is on the Mayor’s distribution list.   The City does not have a copy of the distribution list.
  3. It is the understanding of this office that the update emails contain information that is already available publicly.   Not being on the distribution list, we have not seen a sample of the updates.
  4. It is the City’s understanding that the paper has been getting copies of the updates the same way that others have, via the Mayor’s email from the time that the paper requested to be included.    

               Therefore, it is the City’s conclusion that the City does not believe that the items you requested are public documents as defined in law.   Further, even if our determination is incorrect, the City does not have in its’ possession any of the documents you requested.   Hence, we could not produce documents and/or information that we do not have.

               As always, if there is new information that you have to indicate that we have concluded wrongly, I certainly am willing to review that information.  


James A. Bennett, ICMA-CM
City Manager
Biddeford, Maine


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