Update: This story was updated to reflect a change in the location of the meeting. It will now be held in the Cross Building, room 209.
The Independent Commission charged by Maine Gov. Janet Mills to investigate the facts surrounding the Oct. 25 shootings in Lewiston will hold its first organizational meeting on Monday, Nov. 20 in Augusta, commission Chairman Daniel Wathen announced Wednesday.
The meeting will be held in room 209 in the Burton Cross State Office Building, next to the State House.
The first hour of the meeting, beginning at 9 a.m., will be held out of view from the public in executive session, and will be to discuss commission staffing.
Beginning at 10 a.m., the commission will hold a public meeting in which “members intend to discuss the path forward for their work to determine the facts that led to the tragedy and the response during and following the shootings.”
Gov. Mills established the Independent Commission via Executive Order on Nov. 9.
The order charges the commission with gathering facts regarding the Lewiston shooter Robert Card’s mental health history, his contact with state, federal, or military authorities, his access to firearms, the law enforcement response to the shooting and subsequent manhunt, and any other relevant facts surrounding the shooting.
Following their investigatory work, the Independent Commission will release a final report to the public.
Part of Mills’ Executive Order exempts the Independent Commission from Maine’s Freedom of Access Act (FOAA), meaning the commission will not be required to conduct their work in public or comply with records requests related to their proceedings.
“To the extent practical, and to the extent that its fact-finding mission is not hindered, the Independent Commission should conduct its work in a manner that is open and accessible to the public,” Mills’ order reads.
Commission spokesperson Kevin Kelley has stated that following the release of the commission’s final report, the commission will become subject to FOAA.
The commission, made up of seven experts from both legal and mental health backgrounds, will be funded by the Office of the Maine Attorney General.
In a Nov. 8 letter to the commission, Mills and Attorney General Aaron Frey wrote that “the complete facts and circumstances – including any failures or omissions – must be brought to light and known by all.”
“The families of the victims, those who were injured, and the people of Maine and the nation deserve nothing less,” they wrote.