In Allston, BRA’s e-mails paint a disparaging picture

In Allston, BRA’s e-mails paint a disparaging picture - The Boston Globe

Thanks to the Globe for helping expose how the BRA really feels about the residents of Boston. A few thoughts:


"Later Thursday, the BRA said Rourke had received a “verbal warning’’ over the e-mails in his personnel file."

Senior officials at the BRA have been getting these disgusting emails for 20 months but apparently had no problem with them. But when a Globe reporter starts making phone calls, then the BRA decides that a verbal warning is appropriate. I wonder what it takes for a BRA employee to get a written warning?


Does anyone really think this is an apology?

On Thursday, Rourke apologized to Allston residents who were offended by the messages. “These are internal e-mails,’’ he said. “They are my comments to staff members and should not reflect on the agency.’’Rourke said he had lived in
Allston for 27 years while growing up and is “passionate’’ about the neighborhood and the project.
“In the heat of the moment, sometimes your passions get the best of you, unfortunately,’’ he said.

When you are a public employee, there really is no such thing as an "internal email" (except in the limited exemptions allowed by the Public Records law). Maybe the BRA thought we were too dumb or ignorant to actually file a public records request.

Why shouldn't these emails sent to so many people inside and outside the BRA by a BRA employee reflect on the BRA?

Breaking the law

My Public Records request specifically requested all financial documents regarding the construction financing of the new Charlesview. The BRA provided none. But the BRA admits that it has had this data.
"Elsbree said BRA staff had reviewed the project’s finances to ensure that it can be completed"


  1. I have not heard of any personnel punishment at the BRA as severe as the verbal warning that Rourke got (which sounds like it was noted in his personnel file). In the past there have been some far more serious accusations in the MSM against higher-level officials, yet nothing as far as a verbal warning in those cases as far as I know. The verbal warning may be a baby step, but it is a step nonetheless.

    As for the failure of the BRA to respond fully to your public records request, file a written complaint to the Supervisor of Public Records and make sure to cc: to the person/people you sent the initial request. That's the formal process for you to follow to address the inadequate response you received.

    Also note in your complaint to the Supervisor that the emails you received, in and of themselves, were not fully responsive in that no attachments to the emails were included. In hard copy public records (e.g., letters), attachments are considered an integral part of the record itself; email is treated no differently as a public record under case law in Massachusetts. See Galvin's Guide to the PRL for background on this point.

    Note that when the city posted some of Kineavy's emails on the internet, they likewise were not being fully responsive to that records request even for those emails because attachments were not included.

  2. Anonymous6:52 PM

    sounds like a nasty commenter from a few months back.