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Posted on: December 6, 2022

Email from Kate Wall 12-05-2022

Good afternoon, Everyone –

Hopefully everyone has recovered from the November Elections and can take some time to visit friends and family during the holidays season.

I have heard from several towns that the Town Clerk’s Office and several other offices in these towns were visited by individuals who video their encounters with the municipal employees.  This also occurred several years ago with a different group.  These groups try to provoke reactions from municipal employees and then post the video on YouTube.  The filming of public employees is allowed in public forums. While it can be intimidating, remember that people film other people all the time at public events, dinners, weddings etc. While the actual filming is allowed the individuals should not harass municipal employees nor threaten them.

You can post a sign on the door of restricted areas – ex. the vault with confidential information.  The public would not be allowed to film in those areas.

I would strongly suggest that you talk to your staff about how to deal with these individuals.  While it is difficult, we should remain calm and professional. Simply continue to perform your duties as you normally would. You may want to discuss this situation with your Town Manager/Mayor/Selectman and your Corporation Counsel for further guidance.

Our 1st Vice-President, Patty Spruance had a similar circumstance occur – when the group arrived and started to film her office Patty invited the group into her main vault where the land records were kept. As she were pulling records down from the shelves and explaining the history that these books contained, the group quietly stopped filming and left.  Kill them with kindness!

All the best,

Kate

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