Senior Center Rescinds Petition Ban

SEPTEMBER 15, 2023

Town of Brattleboro Rescinds Warning

After hearing that Kathryn Turnas, a volunteer at the Brattleboro Senior Center, was ordered to stop collecting signatures on a petition opposing the Town of Brattleboro’s recommendation to the selectboard to approve of a municipal EMS system and to instead support Rescue Inc., Steven K-Brooks sent a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request for any law, rule, regulation or other document which forbids Turnas from engaging in the constitutionally-protected activity which she had been pursuing.

The messages pasted below (each sent via email) tell the story:

1. To: Sarah Clark, Recreation & Parks Department Assistant Director & Senior Center Activities Coordinator

Dear Sarah,
Since Kathryn Turnas has publicly stated that she was recently stopped from collecting signatures at the Senior Center for a petition in support of keeping Rescue, Inc., and was informed that this is not allowed: l am hereby making the following FOIA Request, with which the Law requires the Town of Brattleboro’s compliance.
I hereby request a copy of any document (including but not limited to) a law, rule, regulations, memorandum, directive, email, guidelines which forbids collection of signatures for a petition at the Brattleboro Senior Center.

I request that the Town send me the requested document(s) both by email AND via US Mail, First Class.

To be sure that you receive this FOIA Request, I will also put a hard copy in the Town’s dropbox in the Municipal Building parking lot.
Request submitted by:
Steven K-Brooks
Steven K-Brooks – for the purpose of this emailed FOIA Request, I designate my name written in italics as my signature.

2. Hi Steven,
I want to start out by thanking you for your email to Sarah Clark regarding Kathryn Turnas circulating a petition in the Sr. Center regarding Fire / Ems.

After consulting with Town Council, The Employee Handbook and The Town Manager I wanted to let you know we do not have any documentation stating that volunteers are unable to circulate petitions.  I have informed Kathry she may continue with the petition in the Brattleboro Sr. Center.

Carol Lolatte
Recreation and Parks Director
PO Box 513
Brattleboro, VT  05301

3. Thank you, Carol.
[cc Town Manager, John Potter]

It appears that the Recreation & Parks Department, and probably every Department in the Town has a training problem regarding protected rights. I think it should be a priority for you and for the town manager to remediate that problem so that similar problems do not recur. In the meantime, Kathryn lost several days in addressing a very time-dated issue, and people who were present when she was warned were intimidated.
PS Because this is a matter of interest to members of the public, I will be sharing these correspondence with the press.

This Press Release has been sent by Steven K-Brooks,
See my writing at

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