Wednesday, May 16, 2012

EHS Subcommittee Violated Open Meeting Law – Council Chair “Fixed” Trash Ticket

UPDATE: The video of Tuesday, May 15th’s, EHS subcommittee meeting is available in three parts HERE.

Last night’s meeting of the Education and Human Services subcommittee lived up to expectations.

Among the revelations was the fact that the Attorney General’s office found the subcommittee to be in violation of the Open Meeting Law. The finding related to the meeting of August 2, 2011. In its report the Attorney General’s office determined that the subcommittee had failed to state there would be a discussion about Ann Beinema, even though the Chair reasonably anticipated one would occur.

The AG’s office did not find that the second complaint, that the subcommittee did not give Mrs. Beinema notice that her "reputation, conduct and character" would be discussed during an open session meeting on August 2, 2011, constituted a violation of the OML.

Another bombshell was the unsolicited admission by the town council chair that she had intervened in the case of a constituent who had received a ticket for violating the trash bylaw.

She indicated that in her opinion the ticket had been wrongfully issued and she made several phone calls and had it “taken care of”. This will no doubt outrage the forty or so first-time violators who have already paid the fines for the tickets that they received.

It has been reported that when one citizen indicated that he thought that this might constitute a violation of the law she responded by asking if he planned to handcuff her.

Another area of controversy was a confrontation with former Southbridge Cable TV Director Paul Zotos.

Again, the full text of the Attorney General’s decision can be found HERE.


  1. Did the chair's admission get recorded in the minutes or video as this certainly sounds like an Ethics Violation. Sounds no different than a police officer attempting to fix a ticket. She used her position to "fix" something. While I do not beleive in this trash bylaw and fines she cannot use her position that way.

  2. I seem to remember that Council Chair Nickolla mocked Attorney Bracket for his open meeting law complaint saying that she'd seen a lot of open meeting law complaints and he obviously didn't even know how to write one.

  3. Now that I've read the AG report, I think it's interesting that the town manaager can get the council to do his bidding but not be liable for the consequences.

  4. I have prepared an editorial of the exchange between the chairwomen and myself to be submitted to the cable access committee. Now we will see if they post it after my request

  5. Well its about time something like this happened. The sad fact is that the town manager has not been found to be at fault. Yes its the council that sets the agendas for meetings but they set the agenda only after the manager brings it to them. The manager only puts what he wants on any of the agendas. The law should allow some action be taken against him. Its about time that this manager is sent packing. I have supported some of the things that he has done or brought forward but the bad that he has recently done far out ways the good. With the continuing increases in services and taxes it time for change. Hopefully Southbridge will wake up and see this. Hopefully its not to late.

    1. Watcher Just a point of information The council agenda is The chairs agenda. When Clark and the chair meet to set that agenda on Thursday nights its the chair who says what goes on and what stays off Period! Clark can bring and recommend items but its the chairs FINAL say.

  6. I watched the videos and I was especially amused by two comments.
    The first were Clark's remarks about Barry Davis's statements on Amelia's blog being only one side of the story. Like we're supposed to take his side of the story as gospel.
    The second was Nikolla's remark about us getting "free" trash collection. Free my ass. What has it cost us in terms of property values? What has that road cost us? What will be the long term costs to our health and our environment? What are the costs to maintaining our roads and bridges for all the heavy truck traffic? Where's all the windfall money Carlile promised us?

  7. I know the amounts we have been getting (which may not be all of it) are always spent to help balance the budget. This money will only be given to us for a certain number of years and then how do we balance the budget?

  8. Dont forget to thank that BUM APPLE VECCHIA for his vote to tie the towns bonding capacity up by financing a road to a DUMP yes its a DUMP road industrial park my ass! Build it and they will come (councillor Ferron ) look at him with an 8th grade education. Been built for atleast 2 years wheres all the busnesses knocking down the doors Ha Clarks just worried about his job hes a BUM too. People should remember past councillors who didnt support the road,they saw the writing on the wall!


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