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More Details on Wayland OML Violation

The decision was issued on Nov. 25.

Wayland Board of Selectmen
Wayland Board of Selectmen

Selectmen Vice Chairman Tony Boschetto came under scrutiny in the Massachusetts Attorney General’s decision saying selectmen violated the Open Meeting Law in connection with firing former town administrator Fred Turkington. 

Specifically, the decision, issued on Nov. 25, details Boschetto’s actions leading up to the Aug. 26 termination meeting. Boschetto made the original motion to fire Turkington. Boschetto did not respond to requests for comment.

DETAILS OF DECISION

·      “We believe that Mr. Boschetto knew at the time he requested this [agenda] item be added that he would suggest either terminating or not renewing the contract of the Town Administrator during the meeting,” the decision reads. That runs contrary to Boschetto's previous assertions he did not know prior to the meeting whether he would move to fire Turkington.

·      “Mr. Boschetto appears to have been intentionally vague about the nature of [the agenda item]” the decision says.

·      The AG’s office added; “We credit [former Chairman Doug] Leard’s account that he did not know specifically what Mr. Boschetto intended to discuss when he received the request to add this item.”

·      “There is a conflict in the accounts of Mr. Boschetto and former chairman] Leard regarding whether [Leard] spoke with Mr. Boschetto about the nature of the proposed topic,” the decision reads.

·      Boschetto acknowledged, during an Oct. 2 executive session meeting, that he spoke to Leard prior to the termination meeting about adding the agenda item and an email from Boschetto to Leard that with the subject line, “do not forward or share … I will call.”

·      The AG took Leard’s word that he spoke to Boschetto about the item but that Boschetto only said the item was for “possible discussion.”

·      “Although [Leard] made some effort to inquire about the nature of the topic at the time it was proposed, we nevertheless find he fell short of his obligation to post a meeting notice with ‘sufficient specificity to reasonably advise the public of the issues to be discussed at the meeting.’”

·      Turkington and another selectman, whom the ruling did not specify, contacted Leard to seek details on the agenda item, but Leard failed to issue them, according to the AG’s decision.

The decision also addresses Boschetto’s claim that he could not share information on his proposed agenda item because doing so would violate the Open Meeting Law.

·      According to the decision, the law allows public officials to distribute information prior to meetings without actually offering an opinion on them.

·      “Thus, while a member of a public body should not discuss matters within the public body's jurisdiction with a quorum outside of a noticed meeting, it is entirely appropriate to distribute documents, such as anticipated motions, to the public body members for review prior to a planned discussion at an upcoming meeting. The law prohibits any expression of opinion on such documents however, meaning that arguments supporting or opposing the motion should not accompany the document being distributed

·      Boschetto could not be reached by email or phone this week.

Jeff Dieffenbach December 02, 2013 at 11:38 AM
Ryan, thanks for this surprisingly long list of substantive details behind the improper termination of the Town Administrator on the part of the then-3-member Board of Selectmen majority ("BO3" for short): Doug Leard, Tony Boschetto, and Ed Collins. ----- The one detail that I'd add is the third one from the following summary of the Attorney General's writing ruling: (1) Doug Leard violated the Open Meeting Law by putting a misleading item on the agenda, (2) Tony Boschetto intentionally made that agenda item misleading, and (3) the BO3's action left the impression of being "seemingly orchestrated."
Wayland Transparent December 02, 2013 at 11:55 AM
I can not wait to read baron's denial of these facts.
Jeff Baron December 02, 2013 at 12:20 PM
Despite Jeff's implication of wrongdoing by reading into the decision his interpretation of things, the fact remains that the AG found the BoS guilty of one minor infraction and issued a slap on the wrist for said infraction. NOT guilty on any other asserted charge and case closed. Those are the facts, The rest is conjecture. The completely legal and proper termination of the TA stands and the handwringing and conspiracy theories of go on.
Jeff Dieffenbach December 02, 2013 at 12:25 PM
Jeff B, I'm curious how you can assert that the BO3's termination of the TA was "completely legal" when the Attorney General of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts found them in violation of the Open Meeting Law on one of the two complaints submitted by a Wayland resident.
Jeff Baron December 02, 2013 at 12:27 PM
Jeff, not posting the item on the agenda was the only wrongdoing. No fault with any other finding and, if you read the contract the TA operated under, said procedure for termination was agreed to by both parties. The termination was both proper and legal. BTW, since it seems in fashion, I have recommended my own comments.
Jeff Dieffenbach December 02, 2013 at 12:32 PM
This is a bit like saying that the getaway driver in a bank robbery didn't commit any traffic violations. That's an exaggeration, of course, but it's an outright distortion to say that something was "proper and legal" when a law was broken in carrying that something out.
Jeff Baron December 02, 2013 at 12:35 PM
Good analogy, except there was no bank robbery here, even though the BoS was loudly and irresponsibly accused of it. Simply a traffic violation occurred. They weren't even issued a ticket -- just a warning. The outright distortion is to state they were guilty of anything other than what the AG found them guilty of and that the punishment was anything other than a slap on the wrist.
WaylandTransparency.com December 02, 2013 at 02:01 PM
For as many times as we've ben down this road, the poster above continues to use the name Wayland Transparent. However, he has no affiliation whatsoever with WaylandTransparency.com . For examples of some real OML violations that were actually caught on tape and resulted in fines by the state, visit http://www.waylandtransparency.com/oml_violations.php
Jeff Dieffenbach December 02, 2013 at 03:02 PM
I have not stated that the BO3 was guilty of anything other than what the AG ruled.
Ryan Grannan-Doll (Editor) December 02, 2013 at 03:19 PM
@Jeff, Good point!
WaylandTransparency.com December 02, 2013 at 03:36 PM
Not stated, just implied.
Jeff Dieffenbach December 02, 2013 at 03:40 PM
I have neither stated nor IMPLIED that that the BO3 was guilty of the second of two alleged OML violations. Whether or not you INFERRED that I was suggesting guilt on the second allegation is a matter entirely within your own mind.
Jeff Baron December 02, 2013 at 03:47 PM
Come on, Jeff. Be honest. You have opined that the AG's ruling goes well beyond the finding of a single violation into implications of guilt in other areas. And Ryan, while I certainly support your 1st amendment rights to free speech and I'm sure this observation won't put me on your "favorites" list, you come off as quite partisan by inserting yourself as a cheerleader for one side or the other while remaining invisible when posters violate site terms in multiple ways, for example by using masked profanity in another comment section related to the OML issue. Suggestion -- this site spends so much time on things like this and avoids covering other timely issues like, say, the Metco checking accounts fiasco. The Crier has certainly realized this is a news story, but it has been scarcely present here. Do as you wish, and I'll support your right to do so (as I'm sure you'll support my right to disagree publicly), but maybe your time might be more effectively spent as the Editor of a site covering Wayland issues.
Jeff Dieffenbach December 02, 2013 at 03:58 PM
Jeff B., I have spent the majority of my effort countering your assertion that the one finding of an OML violation is minor. The small remainder of my effort has been split evenly between pointing out (a) the AG's opinion that Tony Boschetto's deception was intentional and (b) the AG's characterization that the BO3's actions were "seemingly orchestrated." Any inference of guilt on this latter point is owed to the AG's statement, not to any evidence that I have suggested. ----- Jeff B, how do you know that Ryan's "good point" wasn't directed at you? Just because it followed my comment doesn't mean that's when he added it.
Jeff Baron December 02, 2013 at 04:04 PM
Jeff, you are being dishonest here. Your comments are meant to imply guilt to a greater extent than the AG's single fault finding. I suspect you'll defend the point that you are not endlessly, so I'll just let it stand that, even if it's not your intention, this is how you come off. Even if Ryan's comments were directed at me, my remarks stand. I believe the Editor of this site/author of this article has a duty to stay on the sidelines given that this is being positioned as news. He should be writing an editorial/opinion piece to assert his opinion. If he chooses differently, the 1st amendment protects him and I support that right. I just don't agree that the comments section is the place for his involvement.
Jeff Dieffenbach December 02, 2013 at 04:08 PM
No, Jeff B, I'm not being dishonest. I have no evidence to suggest that the BO3 deliberated in advance of their decision, nor am I implying same. Instead, I'm calling attention to the fact (a) that the one violation is not minor, (b) that the AG believes that Tony Boschetto intended to deceive his constituency, and (c) that beyond the OML violation, the BO3's process was highly flawed on many dimensions.
Jeff Baron December 02, 2013 at 04:14 PM
Fine. I'll accept this. The violation was, indeed, minor and the resulting sanction demonstrates as such (e.g. - no fines). Your comment on what the AG believes is your opinion only, one with which I disagree. Finally, other than making the agenda clearer, the process followed the contractual agreement between the TA and the town, a process agreed to by both parties. It was flawed on one dimension according to the AG...that being it wasn't posted correctly on the agenda.
Jeff Dieffenbach December 02, 2013 at 04:22 PM
My comment on what the AG believes is NOT my opinion, it is what they stated in their written ruling: (1) "We acknowledge that the Board members' accounts are contrary to the impression left by their SEEMINGLY ORCHESTRATED ACTION however, in the absence of any evidence to the contrary, we credit their account and find they did not improperly deliberate outside of an open meeting" [emphasis added] and (2) "[W]e acknowledge that Mr. Boschetto appears to have been intentionally vague about the nature of [the agenda] topic." ----- As for flaws, how about the fact that 2 members of the BOS made the decision to terminate an employee with a history of excellent performance reviews after less than 20 minutes of discussion (and that 1 of those two members had signed at least one of those excellent performance reviews).
Jeff Baron December 02, 2013 at 04:30 PM
ABSENCE OF ANY EVIDENCE -- see how highlighting different words brings out their emphasis. Those are the words that matter here. And, being vague about an agenda item is not the same as deceiving his constituency. You said the latter which makes it your opinion, a flawed one at that. The contract called for such a procedure and I think it was perfectly reasonable for said members of the BoS to have changed their minds about the TA's performance. It happens all the time when people evaluate employees.
Jeff Dieffenbach December 02, 2013 at 04:40 PM
Jeff B, the AG said "we acknowledge that Mr. Boschetto appears to have been intentionally vague." I can't think of a reason to be intentionally vague except to deceive. Am I missing something? I guess you could argue that Mr. Boschetto was only attempting to deceive the Town Administrator and/or some or all of his fellow board members, but to do so, he would had to have known that he would also be deceiving his constituency. This isn't simply my interpretation, it's the only interpretation that I can think of--perhaps you can tell me how the AG's "intentionally vague" does NOT translate to "deceive his constituency?"
John December 02, 2013 at 04:44 PM
Jeff D, you're being selective in your quotes from the AG. There is a difference between "appears to have been intentionally vague" and actually being intentionally vague. You know that.
Jeff Baron December 02, 2013 at 04:55 PM
Appearance may or may not translate into reality. The rest of what you write above is a fictional account of your leap from appearance to reality. I'm sure Tony would disagree with your interpretation/opinion of the AG's ruling. But since I cannot speak for him, I'll assert that I disagree with it.
Ryan Grannan-Doll (Editor) December 02, 2013 at 05:02 PM
Commenters, We will not be writing an editorial on this topic. My "good point" comment was meant to say I appreciated the feedback.
Ben Downs December 02, 2013 at 05:38 PM
@Ryan, as others have noted Jeff harasses all posters who do not walk in lock step with him. The bully approach is his way, not ever pleasant but what can you do. Other than John and Waylandtranparency I am sure we all knew what you meant.
Jeff Baron December 02, 2013 at 05:59 PM
Ben, don't have a "meltdown". It's nice that you chose to use your named ID here instead of your anonymous one(s).
Ben Downs December 02, 2013 at 06:42 PM
@Baron - I have no idea what your repeated 'meltdown' comment means. All I can think of when you make all these misstatements and accusations is that email you sent me and my thought then is as it is now - The painter paints with his own brush.
Jeff Baron December 02, 2013 at 06:49 PM
Oh, you mean the one you never responded to/acknowledged? Yup, said lack of response said everything I thought I knew about you. Oh well, I tried to prove those assumptions wrong. Instead, another "meltdown" from you. This must be really testing your mettle....
Jeff Baron December 02, 2013 at 06:52 PM
By the way, anytime you want to get back on the topic of at hand -- the minor violation found by the AG -- be happy to. But personal attacks are your weapon of choice....
Ben Downs December 02, 2013 at 09:05 PM
If that last post did not truly prove the painter analogy what could. At the risk of continuing the off topic nature of Jeff Baron’s discussion I thought I would clarify a couple of the comments he has made in the above posts. Jeff sent an email at the end of September to an email address I no longer use and it ended up in the spam folder. When I finally saw the email I found it so personally offensive that I did not know how to respond politely. Hence my comment about the painter uses his own brush. I believe Jeff’s comments about meltdown and mettle relate to Molten Metal Technology, Inc. (MMT). In 1989 a group of people, including me and other Wayland residents, founded MMT. MMT grew very rapidly and was supported by the US Environmental Protection Agency, Lockheed Martin, Westinghouse, Al Gore, John Kerry and many others. We grew to over 1000 employees by the time I left the business in 1997. Subsequently, a significant change in both the economy and the enforcement of existing environmental regulations occurred and the business ended in 1999. I can think of no reason why Jeff Baron is trying to bully me with a business I helped create and am quite proud of its accomplishments. Continuing with the paintbrush analogy, Jeff created a website in 2009 anonymously (mostly). I tried to meet with him on multiple occasions but he continually rebuked me. Since that time he has always claimed that I post anonymously and has claimed that I am pretty much anonymous poster. I would never treat a child badly no matter how badly their parent behaves. I will not engage with Jeff again because as my mother once said “never wrestle with a pig because you will only get dirty and the pig will just enjoy it. I would continue with the discussion on the severe narrative and scathing commentary in the AG’s letter but that is pointless because it is not a discussion it just provides you with opportunity to repeat your slap on the wrist comment and twist what is actually written.
Jeff Baron December 02, 2013 at 09:33 PM
Seems someone really has their knickers in a twist :) So much misinformation, lies, personal attacking, laughable concepts and the like to even begin responding. I do love the quotes from Grandpa yesterday and now your Mom. Who's next -- Auntie June? Since it is all so far off-topic, I won't bother to say more. That being said, anyone wishing for more details (if anyone reads this and cares), feel free to let me know offline. On here, I'll just stick to discussing the slap on the wrist from the AG. Doubtful you won't engage again...you just will likely do it under one of the pseudonyms.

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