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Five former city councilors go on record to say they knew their notes were public record

PMG FILE PHOTO  - Rory Bialostosky is the plaintiff in a lawsuit against Council President Teri Cummings. PMG FILE PHOTO  - Council President Teri Cummings is the defendant in a lawsuit from Bialostosky over records requests she failed to fulfill. Five former West Linn City Councilors officially support Rory Bialostosky's arguments in his case for release of the council notes of current Council President Teri Cummings.

Bialostosky is the plaintiff in a lawsuit over a public records request for Cummings' notes.

Jody Carson, who served on the council from 2006-14, Thomas Frank (2013-16), Jenni Tan (2010-16), Brenda Perry (2015-18) and John Kovash (councilor: 2009-10, mayor: 2010-15) recently signed perjury declarations in support of Bialostosky in Clackamas County Circuit Court. A perjury declaration is a statement a person can make which they swear to be true under the penalty of perjury.

In the declarations, each former councilor states, "While serving in my official capacity as a West Linn City Councilor, I took notes at times. I considered these notes to be public records under Oregon law. I knew they were not my private, personal notes."

The declarations go on to state, "I understood that any person had a right to inspect my notes that I took while acting in an official capacity as a West Linn City Councilor. I was trained to act under that standard in trainings that I received as part of my role as a city councilor."

This lawsuit came about after Bialostosky made two public records requests to see notes Cummings took in her duties as a member of the City Council (Cummings has been on the Council a total of nine years, serving three separate times dating back to 2004).

He originally asked for the notes because he feels Cummings has ignored the interests of the majority of West Linn citizens. He said he also feels this council is very dysfunctional and believes Cummings' notes might hold some clues as to why.

"This has been the worst council. I know West Linn has had its problems but it's been quite bad in terms of meeting length, how many more meetings they have, what they accomplish," Bialostosky previously told the Tidings. "It's my right to check the notes to understand why things are going so south."

Bialostosky has maintained since he originally made his requests that public officials, including the governor, frequently hand over their notes when they are requested as public record.

In official response to Bialostosky's requests for admissions in April, Cummings stated through the court, "The records sought contain defendant's (Cummings) personal notes created solely for the defendant's convenience and or to refresh defendant's memory. The records sought are maintained in a way indicating a private purpose and they were not circulated or intended for distribution within West Linn City Council channels."

Bialostosky hopes the statements from the former councilors will help his claim that Cummings should have known her notes were public record, a key piece to his case against her.


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