The Wayland Board of Selectmen plan to review and discuss the Open Meeting Law complaint filed by a local resident during its Sept. 16 meeting.
At 8 p.m. selectmen plan to begin discussion on the complaint filed by resident and Wayland Patch blogger Kim Reichelt alleging the selectmen violated the state’s Open Meeting Law when they fired former town administrator Fred Turkington. Specifically, she alleged the selectmen did not “properly inform the public” it would be taking up whether to terminate Turkington.
Under the state law, the town has 14 days to respond to a resident’s complaint, according to the Massachusetts Attorney General’s Office, which oversees the OML statutes. If the response does not satisfy the complainant, that person can file it with the AG’s office within 30 days of the date it filed with the town.
Also, the AG’s office told Wayland Patch it was gathering information on the circumstances surrounding Turkington’s termination because of "potential concerns." Selectman Joe Nolan told Wayland Patch he has discussed the matter with the AG’s office.
"I’m very careful to call it an inquiry because that's what it is [and not an investigation],” Nolan said.
Also, the selectmen have appointed a special counsel to represent the town in the Reichelt complaint and in matters with the AG’s office, Nolan said.
The selectmen also plan to meet in executive session on Monday night about Reichelt’s complaint.
NEW ADMINISTRATOR SEARCH
Selectmen, during their Monday night meeting, also plan to discuss gathering input from department heads on the search for a new administrator and the process that will be used to find a new manager. They also plan to discuss “operational ramifications” regarding the situation and whether to increase Acting Town Administrator John Senchyshyn's salary. Senchyshyn plans to reach out to the Massachusetts Municipal Association for assistance in finding a new permanent administrator.
· Nolan sounded off during the Monday meeting saying he thought the vote to fire Turkington was suspicious. “I for one will never believe that the actions to fire the town administrator were the result of an organic discussion and not orchestrated outside of our board meetings,” he said. “This was a political decision that will weaken the town’s operations, employee morale and will cost taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars."
· Selectmen Steven Correia spoke similarly: “How could [Selectmen Vice Chairman Tony Boschetto) make a decision and formulate a motion without some form of collaboration and legal opinion outside of this board?" Correia said.
· Selectmen Chairman Doug Leard defended himself against several criticisms saying the motion to fire Turkington was never discussed prior to the Aug. 26 meeting and was made without his prior knowledge. “I deplore any thoughts of celebratory actions that reflect on the decisions taken … and any references to any anticipated hit list of staff members or a cherry picked list of future leaders or any indication of a deliberate attempt to sabotage future project endeavors are in my eyes totally and unequivocally false.”
· The selectmen, during their Monday meeting, approved hiring a labor attorney to assess the potential legal impacts surrounding Turkington’s termination.