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Monday, May 04, 2009

E-mail records reveal Bay City's strategy for responding to death

FOI at Work!

The Bay City Times obtained more than 130 pages of e-mail related to how city officials planned to address the death of a man found frozen inside his home after the city installed a "service limiter" on his electric meter. City Manager Robert V. Belleman provided "talking point" to city officials and had the electric department forward all requests for comments to his office. When state lawmakers asked for copies of the city's electric utility policies, they received them as a "professional courtesy." The Times was forced to submit a FOIA request and wait three weeks to receive the same information.

Following Marvin E. Schur's freezing death, Bay City officials communicated via e-mail as they worked out a game plan to respond to the situation and to address the public and news media.

Those official correspondences were obtained by The Times this week in response to a Freedom of Information Act request.

The records, more than 130 pages of e-mails, show City Manager Robert V. Belleman began corresponding with city officials on Jan. 23 after The Times called to inquire about the death of the 93-year-old man.

More here.

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