Update 6:18 p.m. Tuesday:
First Selectman Jayme Stevenson has sent out an email informing local news organizations that she won't change the way the packet of information is made available to them, although the agenda will now be emailed.
On Monday, the Darien Times posted the final version of the Board of Selectmen's agenda before that version was posted on the town's own website.
Darien Patch asked Stevenson to make not only electronic versions of the agenda available to all news organizations at the same time, but the same electronic documents sent to Board of Selectmen members in their emailed "packets" of documents for immediately upcoming board meetings.
Here's the full text of Stevenson's email:
To Patch, Darien Times, Darien News, Daily Voice and Hamlet Hub
In response to some questions that arose yesterday regarding Board of Selectmen meeting information, I wanted to re-state our current policy.
The Thursday before regular Board of Selectmen meetings, agendas only are emailed to all local press noted in this email.
Complete agenda packets are not distributed to Board members electronically—hard copies are delivered to members. As such, we make hard copies of all materials available to local media.
Materials are available for pick up in the Selectmen's Office after 3 p.m. on the Thursday before regular Board of Selectmen's meetings.
Regards, Jayme Stevenson
Stevenson states that "complete agenda packets are not distributed to board members electronically—hard copies are delivered to members." But board members do get many documents in the packet emailed to them.
So documents that are typically created electronically are then printed out at the expense of the town (mostly labor expenses), stapled, arranged and organized, and then sent to officials and made available to news organizations.
This appears to mean that the public will see fewer documents because they won't be emailed out to news organizations that could post them on their websites, as the Darien Times did with Monday's agenda and as Darien Patch did with the transfer station panel's report. Agendas, however, will be emailed.
In practice, Darien Patch posts far more documents than any of the other news organizations in town, combined.
Article as of 4:54 p.m. Monday:
Why is it so difficult for the First Selectmen's Office to email an agenda of the upcoming meeting to all the news media at the same time, together with the rest of the same packet already emailed to each member of the of the Board of Selectmen?
When the Darien Times posted the agenda for tonight's selectmen's meeting, Darien Patch went looking for it on the Darien town government website. The detailed version wasn't there at the time—it appeared on the town website sometime later this afternoon.
When First Selectman Jayme Stevenson was asked by Darien Patch to email the agenda, here was her response:
As previously stated to you, your press packet is physically available to you the Thursday before our meetings. The Times must have taken the agenda from the we[b] Site as we have not emailed it to them. We will email it to all press going forward.
Months ago, Patch had asked Stevenson to have the packet emailed. That never happened. This time, after the prodding above, Stevenson's office sent the agenda, not the entire packet.
For good measure, attached to this article is the Transfer Station Committee's report to the Board of Selectmen, on the agenda to be presented tonight.
Selectman David F. Bayne sent the transfer station report. He said there were some resumes attached to the email sent to Board of Selectmen members that were for an executive session.
Although some documents are posted on the town's website, documents related to the Board of Selectmen's meetings typically are not, other than the agenda.
Editor's note, this article was significantly revised at 4:54 p.m.
Correction: An earlier version of this article stated that Stevenson refused to send the agenda. In fact, although her email didn't indicate it, the agenda was quickly sent from her office after Darien Patch's request.