MA Attorney General Clarifies State’s Open Meeting Boundaries

Seal of MassachusettsIn a ruling with implications for public bodies across the state, the beleaguered Board of Selectmen in Foxboro, MA – long-time home of the New England Patriots and current battleground over a proposed Bob Kraft/Steve Wynn gambling casino – got some good news when the Attorney General’s Office ruled in its favor regarding alleged violations of the state’s Open Meeting Law (AG Denies Open Meeting Complaint).

The AG’s Ruling

In response to complaints against the meeting procedures employed by the Selectmen, the Attorney General’s Office found that:

  • Public boards or committees control their own agendas and have no particular responsibility to address specific matters or issues raised by meeting attendees;
  • Public boards and committees also have sole control over who from the public – if anyone – is permitted to speak at their meetings.

Like other municipalities across the state – and, for that matter, across the country – Foxboro has struggled to fulfill Open Meeting requirements and, in fact, last year the same AG’s Office found the town’s School Committee to be in violation of the statute’s procedural requirements (Foxboro Violated Open Meeting Law).

But this time Foxboro won, and the Open Meeting procedural  boundaries laid down by the AG’s Office have statewide implications for all public bodies.

About the Author:  Elizabeth Tice heads up Office Solutions Plus LLC, where we provide documents of record for all venues, including Open Meetings, court reporting, depositions, and transcription.  We understand the importance and value of accurate records.  617-471-3510. Try us out!

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