Wayland Selectmen Vindicated in Open Meeting Law Complaint
Tsongas visit not a "meeting" under state law

In a clear statement issued on June 7, Assistant District Attorney Robert Bender has ruled that discussions that occurred between members of the Wayland Board of Selectmen and U.S. Representative Nikki Tsongas during her visit to Wayland on November 24, 2009 were not "deliberations" as defined in the state's Open Meeting Law (OML). Further, the district attorney's office reaffirmed that social interaction and site visits are exempt from the requirements of the OML.

Two residents had complained that Rep. Tsongas had met with a quorum of the Board of Selectmen and the School Committee, as well as with various other town officials to discuss and deliberate on matters within the jurisdiction of the boards, and such discussions should have been noticed and open to the public. Tsongas had visited Wayland to observe first-hand the issues impacting the planned Town Center development and to be briefed on shovel-ready projects submitted for Federal stimulus grants. Officials gathered over coffee and pastries, heard a briefing by Town Center developers, and proceeded to a site visit at the property.

Mr. Bender ruled that the selectmen were not required to post notice of the visit and were not required to treat the visit as a public meeting under the state's Open Meeting Law.

Source: Press Release from Town of Wayland, submitted by Town Administrator Fred Turkington