Thursday, September 27, 2012

My Open Meeting Law Complaint

The O’Zone has documented at great length the black comedy of errors that has constituted efforts to amend the Southbridge Town Charter.

First we witnessed the ineptitude of the town council in dealing with the original charter amendment proposals by the Charter Review Committee after a year’s work.

Then we saw the newly elected council dispense with all that work in two subcommittee sessions and ram through the politically driven result. 

Next we witnessed the enabling legislation languish in the Massachusetts House of Representatives where it was the responsibility of Freshman Peter Durant. After numerous amendments and the deletion of one proposal that was clearly unconstitutional, it was finally enacted by the House as ten separate bills and sent on to the State Senate.

It was finally passed by the Senate three weeks ago and signed by the Governor six days later.

This resulted in the town manager taking a victory lap in the local press announcing that he would ask the council to schedule an election to hold a referendum on the proposed amendments in the spring.

As we pointed out at the time, the town manager was clearly not aware of what was in the legislation. The laws signed by the Governor specifically required that the election be held in 2012.

In an effort to rectify this “oversight”, while not admitting any error, or the failure of Durant to monitor developments in the State Senate and report them to Clark,  the manager essentially requested that the council adopt a motion requesting the legislature to amend the enacted legislation.

As I pointed out at length in “Another Open Meeting Law Violation In Southbridge?”,
this appeared to me to be a clear violation of the state’s open meeting law.

As a result, today I filed an Open Meeting Law complaint with the Town Clerk’s Office.

A copy of the complaint follows:

Town Manager's Call Regarding Complaint


  1. @ Ken O'Brien

    Thank you for being “Southbridge’s Sentinel”!

  2. Ken,
    Is it an open meeting violation when Nikola, the Police chief, and another councilor admit in debate on Item # 16 that they had previous discussion of item # 16 before the gavel last night ? Their ollecive admission is that they engaged in discussion of the subject matter prior to the meeting. If it sounds like a duck………………….. then duck!

    1. From what you have told me I don't think that the incident you describe constitutes a violation.

  3. Ken,

    Thanks for fighting the good fight, but at some point you will need a helmet. The wall hurts.


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