Well I'm going to start talking again. I have been a bit quiet lately in order to allow the AG' office to do their job without a lot of static. I filed three Open Meeting Law complaints, one of which was a civil rights violation. The AG' office has finished their investigation and the ruling is in. All I can say is that two out of three ain't bad.
I must say I was a little disappointed with the ruling on the first complaint. How the AG could rule that Chairman Turner did not violate OML when he stated emphatically, on video that the BoS did not have to be audible to the audience is beyond me; but they did. That's one win for the Chairman and zero for the citizens. I can only assume that the chairman's bitterness and vindictiveness didn't show up on the recordings. I almost lost faith in my government; that is until I received the second letter.
The second complaint was instigated by the Chairman when he decided to arbitrarily change the recording policy for the BoS meetings. As you may remember on September 9th 2013 Chairman Turner forbade several citizens from recording the meeting because the citizens failed to inform the chairman before the meeting that they intended to record. I knew this was a violation of law but because I didn't know the law off the top of my head I yielded the point. However, after the meeting I looked up the statute and found that the law favored the citizens right to record. "anyone, upon informing the chairman of a public body, may record any public meeting".
The third complaint was again instigated by Chairman Turner when he enforced his newly implemented recording policy. As you may recall on September 13th 2013 Chairman Turner decided to enforced his illegal policy to the point where he actually had me physically removed from the meeting. This was a clear violation of the OML and my civil rights. This also led to Chairman Turners YouTube debut.
On the second and third complaint the AG ruled in favor of the citizens right to record according to the actual law rather than the chairman's distorted interpretation of the law. The AG ruled that the BoS violated the OML by denying citizens right to record. Unfortunately it's a hollow victory because there were no real consequences. The AG ordered the boards "immediate and future compliance with the open meeting law". They also warned the BoS that any future violations would be considered evidence of deliberate violations of the law. Well don't I just feel vindicated?
To read the OML click here
To read the OML click here
There is a lot going on between now and the annual town meeting and election. These are some of the issues I'll be working on.
1 Juliette Haas wants to pass the debt service for the mismanaged water company on to the taxpayers again.
2 Our two candidates for selectman, Charlie Flynn and Dave Johnson; at the prompting of Susan Bachelder want to raise a new tax. There is a conservation Commission meeting on Thursday February 13, 2013 @ 7;00pm upstairs at the town hall. I believe
Susan Bachelder (Dave Johnson) is
going to try to explain the new tax scheme.
3 Our last quarter tax bill is going to be higher and next year the DOR is working out a deal with the BoS to raise the taxes on the rich homeowners.