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Cape Cod Times seeks names of finalists for Mass. Gaming Commission post

By George Brennan, reporter, The Cape Cod Times, Barnstable, Mass.

When is a finalist a finalist? The Massachusetts Gaming Commission says candidates for the panel’s executive director position are not technically finalists until background checks are completed.

The Cape Cod Times is challenging the commission’s refusal to release the names of candidates undergoing those background checks after commission Chairman Stephen Crosby referred to them as finalists during a public meeting Jan. 3.

It’s well established under Massachusetts public records and open meeting laws that the names of finalists for public management positions are available to the public.

After the board’s meeting, commission spokeswoman Elaine Driscoll said the candidates are not yet finalists. She wrote in an email that the chairman mischaracterized their status.

Here’s what Crosby said during the meeting:

“We have our finalists for executive director in background checks right now. We will be bringing them in for public interviews as soon as we have background checks done.”

Here’s what Driscoll wrote in a follow-up email:

“Chairman Crosby is enthusiastic about the progress being made in the commission’s important search for an executive director. Potential candidates are not yet considered finalists. It is a misstatement to characterize potential candidates as finalists at this time. Background checks are a necessary prequalifier to determine if a potential candidate will advance to becoming a finalist. The commission looks forward to sharing that information when available.”

The Times is appealing the decision to withhold the names with the state’s supervisor of public records. Here’s a link to our story.

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