Tuesday, January 29, 2013
The state attorney general found one complaint valid and two invalid.
Recent decisions published by the Attorney General's Office reveal that two complaints filed against Wayland's Board of Selectmen in 2012 did not reveal OML violations. In an additional decision filed recently, the office found that a member of Wayland's Board of Public Works committed a violation outlined in a third 2012 complaint. Draft Press Release Via Email All three complaints were submitted by resident George Harris in 2012. According to a letter published on the AG's website, Wayland's Board of Selectmen did not violate the OML by circulating via email the draft of a proposed press release, which was the substance of a complaint submitted by Harris on Jan. 30, 2012. The AG's ruling states that the office generally recommends …
Thursday, October 18, 2012
The Open Meeting Law comes up often in Wayland, but is it accomplishing what it was intended to accomplish?
It's the law. It's been the law (with some amendments) for many years. Still, the Open Meeting Law has led to some contentious debate in Wayland of late. It isn't that anyone says it's a bad idea (at least not that we've heard), but there are those who aren't happy with the way its used and interpreted in Wayland. Most recently, several members of the Surface Water Quality Committee have said they will resign if a recent OML complaint filed by resident George Harris isn't withdrawn by the complainant or dismissed by the Attorney General's Office. The Town Center Green Committee is facing a complaint and the Board of Selectmen is also in the midst of responding to one. "The Open Meeting Law supports the principle that the democratic process…
Wednesday, October 17, 2012
A recent complaint against Wayland's Surface Water Quality Committee has some members saying they will resign if the complaint isn't withdrawn or dismissed.
Wayland's Surface Water Quality Committee is facing an Open Meeting Law complaint, and several of its members have openly expressed their displeasure. Over the weekend, SWQC member Mike Lowery posted on the SWQC Facebook page and his personal Facebook page the text of George Harris' complaint against the committee. "It is truly disheartening to have given hundreds and hundreds of hours of personal time to keeping Wayland lakes and ponds free of invasive weed - only to be threatened [by] George Harris with legal proceedings regarding the specificity of the SWQC agenda and legal details of how to remotely participate," Lowery said on his personal page. "If this complaint is not withdrawn by Mr. Harris or dismissed by the MA Attorney General'…
Wednesday, December 21, 2011
The complaint submitted by George Harris focuses on email communication.
Does Open Meeting Law allow public board members to share with a board quorum via email the draft of an op-ed (opposite-the-editorial or letter to the editor) that they later discuss in a regular meeting? Wayland resident George Harris says it does not, and he has brought his concern to the Wayland Board of Selectmen who he said violated the state’s Open Meeting Law (OML) by sharing the document via email even though they were instructed not to reply via email with their revisions. Harris submitted his complaint to selectmen and met with the board during its Monday night meeting to discuss it. That lengthy discussion, however, did not ultimately resolve the issue. Board of Selectmen Chair Tom Fay explained that Harris’ complaint was …
Thursday, August 25, 2011
Selectmen agreed to terms of a settlement that resolves an Open Meeting Law violation that occurred on July 8, 2010.
Wayland selectmen Monday night voted to accept Attorney General Martha Coakley’s settlement offer relative to an Open Meeting Law (OML) violation at a July 8, 2010, Board of Selectmen meeting. The terms of the settlement require selectmen to pay a $500 civil penalty and for every member to attend OML training, a criterion that can be satisfied by viewing a video of the regional training offered by the attorney general’s office. The terms also note that the Board of Selectmen admits the violation, but disagrees with the AG’s finding that the violation was intentional. Selectmen Monday agreed with all terms of the attorney general’s settlement, but in their vote included the additional point that they did not feel taxpayers should be …
Tuesday, June 21, 2011
The AG's office is recommending a $1,000 fine for the Wayland Board of Selectmen pending an administrative hearing.
An investigation by the Massachusetts attorney general’s office revealed “sufficient evidence” that the Wayland Board of Selectmen intentionally violated the state’s Open Meeting Law (OML) on July 8, 2010. Yesterday, a letter from Assistant District Attorney Jonathan Sclarsic to Board of Selectmen Chair Tom Fay informed the board of the investigation’s findings and the attorney general’s recommendation that Wayland’s Board of Selectmen pay a $1,000 fine, because “we believe this violation was intentional.” The recommended fine is pending an administrative hearing. That letter explains that an “intentional violation” is defined as an “act or omission by a public body, or a member of a public body, that knowingly violates” the Open Meeting …
Monday, June 20, 2011
An AG's investigation revealed evidence Wayland and Otis Boards of Selectmen intentionally violated Open Meeting Law.
Monday, June 20, 2011
The text below is edited from a press release issued by Attorney General Martha Coakley's office. Two local public bodies will face a hearing and possible $1,000 fines after an investigation revealed evidence that they intentionally violated the state’s Open Meeting Law (OML), Attorney General Martha Coakley’s office announced today. On Oct. 7, 2010, the Division received a complaint alleging that the Wayland Board of Selectmen violated the Open Meeting Law when a “quorum,” or majority, of the board gathered before the scheduled meeting time on July 8, 2010, and engaged in substantive communication on public business within the board’s jurisdiction, but outside of the regularly posted meeting. The complaint was originally filed with the …