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Thread: Understanding what REALLY happened & why re: termination of the Town Administrator

  1. #1
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    Default Understanding what REALLY happened & why re: termination of the Town Administrator

    I realize that nearly all of the posters here are firmly entrenched in their belief that the 3 Selectmen broke the Open Meeting Law and that what they did was tantamount to treason, however, I'm sure there are also those with an open mind who actually want to hear a bit more of the full story and who might have a sincere interest in learning why this happened, I would encourage people to visit http://www.waylandtransparency.com/perspectives.php .

    In addition to the ideas expressed on that page, there are two links at the bottom that will help provide some additional understanding - one to Tony Boschetto's letter to the Crier and the other to a WVN Newsletter on the topic.

    Bottom line, it's not what you've been hearing. There is MUCH more to the story.
    Last edited by John Flaherty; 09-08-2013 at 12:58 PM. Reason: Clarification
    John Flaherty

    Any views expressed are NOT mine alone.
    Wayland Transparency - Facts Without Spin
    http://www.waylandtransparency.com/

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    John - in the recent school committee meeting you asked Jim Powers, the senior partner in the audit firm that was retained to perform a defined procedure review of specific school accounts, to look into who had opened certain bank accounts 20 to 30 years ago by people who are not now employed by the schools. Jim Powers responded that was no way you could pay him enough to do that research. What did you hope to do if you learned the names of the people who opened the account? Public caning? Stockades in the town center? Unlimited persecution by waylandtransparency.com?

    The video of you asking multiple times (although you do your best to not identify yourself including when Jim Powers asks you your name and you respond with either John or Sean and no last name) is online here http://waycamtv.pegcentral.com/playe...3147ba7c7f4e79 and the relevant section is at 2:16.45 to 2:21.40.

    Commented as a citizen of Wayland not as a member of the audit committee.
    Last edited by BTDowns; 09-08-2013 at 08:36 PM. Reason: To clarify that I am speaking as a member of the public not as a member of the audit committee

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    Quote Originally Posted by BTDowns View Post
    the relevant section is at 2:16.45 to 2:21.40.
    Relevant to what, Ben?
    John Flaherty

    Any views expressed are NOT mine alone.
    Wayland Transparency - Facts Without Spin
    http://www.waylandtransparency.com/

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    John, you titled this thread "Understanding what REALLY happened & why re: termination of the Town Administrator."

    One of two things "really happened:"

    1. Some subset of the BOS--and more precisely, some subset of Selectmen Leard, Boschetto, and Collins (the "BO3")--discussed the termination of the Town Administrator outside of public meeting.

    2. The BO3 terminated the TA without (substantive) discussion.

    I have know of no evidence that suggests that the first option happened. That's good, I guess, since option one is far more egregious than option 2 (which, we know, "really happened" as seen on the damning video (transcript here).

    Even if option 2 is all that happened, it was a failure nonetheless ... a failure of process and failure to lead with appropriate respect, duty to constituency, transparency, and fiscal responsibility.

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    The bottom line, is that although people can write about "all the things they can't say" , the truth is all one has to do is view an unaltered segment of the video to see what transpired. Plain and simple, although the selectman have the right to fire the TA, it was handled in an unprofessional, devious way. WATCH the video, plain and simple. I can't imagine the BO3 can be proud of how they acted when watch it.


    Kathy Cleaver

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    By all means - watch the video.
    The part about the termination begins at 27:20, though it is also referrred to at the beginning of the meeting, when Mr. Correia states that the Chair did not respond to his email requests as to what this is about. Mr. Leard says that in fact he did reply by text. This exchange occurs at 2:02. Correia's anger is curious. Would he get that worked up if the item was about, say, streetlights? He seems to already know what's about to happen. Which suggests that this was in fact NOT a surprise at all.

    But then, don't stop there. Read up on it to try to understand why. A good place to start is here:
    http://www.waylandtransparency.com/perspectives.php

    Because there's more to this story than the 3 Selectmen are allowed to say. When you understand, your anger will quickly dissipate. I promise. And if you truly understand, you'll actually thank them.
    John Flaherty

    Any views expressed are NOT mine alone.
    Wayland Transparency - Facts Without Spin
    http://www.waylandtransparency.com/

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    You know, I really hope that the views expressed ARE yours alone. The spin and misdirection in your so called "expose" is almost as egregious as the slime-bag move that the BO3 pulled. Why was Steve angry? Because he asked a simple question about a mysterious agenda item, and was texted to talk to Tony after several attempts to get Doug to fess up. Doug refused to fess up, refused to communicate, refused to do his job as the chair, and - wow surprise - Steve got angry. I don't know... I get a little pissy when I don't get straight answers from my co-workers, so who knows - maybe Steve is just human. The junk you put on your so called "transparency" site is pure spinsmanship, alleging that there are "reasons" that the dark side of town is too cowardly to acknowledge. Clearly Fred did something that didn't align with the "NO NO NO" crowd, so he's a persona non gratis. Gone. We need to get control back of the BOS putting people who have insight, foresight, and respect - not the self centered, personal agenda BO3 that we now have been (hopefully temporarily) stuck with. Kim did what we were all thinking - call foul just like our local town lawyer nudniks do every chance they get. Funny that they don't think this was an infraction, most likely because it furthers their personal, twisted agenda (whatever that might be).

    You're right - there is more to this story. A vindictive, dirty, underhanded sub-story that if you truly understood, you would be horrified, and insist that the BO3 pay fines, resign, and hang their heads in shame.

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    Carl, I am going to have to see if I can add "like" buttons to this forum.

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    The January 16, 2014 issue of the Wayland Town Crier contains a letter taking exception to a prior letter printed the week before (I was one of the signatories of the first letter).

    With all due respect, the author of the second letter is mistaken when she writes:

    Quote Originally Posted by Gretchen Schuler
    (terminating the Town Administrator without cause) closed the door to stating why the administrator was terminated, and that alone was a gift to the former administrator and to the town. There will be no open conversation and explanation of why the town administrator was terminated there cannot be any without leading us down an ugly and long path of litigation.
    When an employee is terminated WITH cause, reason MUST be given. When an employee is terminated WITHOUT cause, a reason MAY be given.

    Selectman Boschetto has already given one reason: to go in a new direction. He hasn't crossed a line with that one reason, nor would he be crossing the line by elaborating. And elaborate he should--setting aside reasons for the termination, it has now been five months since the Town Administrator's position was terminated based on less than 20 minutes of discussion (and most of that discussion was from two Selectmen who disagreed with the termination). In that time, to my knowledge, Mr. Boschetto has done nothing to articulate this new direction.

    That leaves us only to infer from his actions. To my eye, those actions have been to slow the conduction of town duties while piling up expenses that could been avoided by a thoughtful and orderly transition.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jeff Dieffenbach View Post
    John, you titled this thread "Understanding what REALLY happened & why re: termination of the Town Administrator."

    One of two things "really happened:"

    1. Some subset of the BOS--and more precisely, some subset of Selectmen Leard, Boschetto, and Collins (the "BO3")--discussed the termination of the Town Administrator outside of public meeting.

    2. The BO3 terminated the TA without (substantive) discussion.
    Jeff, would it be a violation of the Open Meeting Law for two Selectmen to discuss termination of the Town Administrator outside of a public meeting?

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    Quote Originally Posted by DHBernstein View Post
    Jeff, would it be a violation of the Open Meeting Law for two Selectmen to discuss termination of the Town Administrator outside of a public meeting?
    According to the Open Meeting Law, no*. According to the Attorney General, perhaps yes**.

    Here are some key excerpts from the OML itself, which is contained in Massachusetts General Law Chapter 30A, Sections 18-25 (emphasis added).

    Quote Originally Posted by OML
    SECTION 18 - DEFINITIONS
    "Public body", a multiple-member board, commission, committee or subcommittee within the executive or legislative branch or within any county, district, city, region or town, however created, elected, appointed or otherwise constituted, established to serve a public purpose; ...

    "Quorum", a simple majority of the members of the public body, unless otherwise provided in a general or special law, executive order or other authorizing provision. [In the case of the 5-member Board of Selectmen and the 5-member School Committee, a quorum is obviously 3 members.]

    "Deliberation", an oral or written communication through any medium, including electronic mail, between or among a quorum of a public body on any public business within its jurisdiction; ...

    SECTION 20
    (a) Except as provided in section 21, all meetings of a public body shall be open to the public [Section 21 is not relevant here].

    SECTION 25
    (b) The attorney general shall have the authority to interpret the open meeting law and to issue written letter rulings or advisory opinions according to rules established under this section.
    * Okay, "nearly no." Section 25(b) gives the Attorney General the right to pretty much alter the legislation as it sees fit. In my opinion, this is a huge giveaway of power by the legislature. That said, they apparently have indeed given that power away.

    ** In 2009 or so (in advance of a major change to the OML that went into effect in 2010), I recall seeing a communication from either the Middlesex District Attorney, the Attorney General, or a law firm providing guidance to boards to the effect that an email communication between non-quorum members of a board (e.g., 2 of 5) was not permitted because that email might end up being forwarded to other members such that a quorum is reached. However, I cannot find any record of this communication.

    All of that said, nothing in the OML explicitly forbids 2 members of a 5 member board (as long as they are not a sub-committee) from privately discussing a matter before the board.

    In the case of the hasty, ill-considered, and ill-advised Boschetto-Laird-Collins ("BO3") ambush of the Town Administrator, all three assert that they had no conversations with any other board member on the subject of the firing prior to the August 26, 2013 meeting in which they lowered the boom.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jeff Dieffenbach View Post

    All of that said, nothing in the OML explicitly forbids 2 members of a 5 member board (as long as they are not a sub-committee) from privately discussing a matter before the board.
    I thought not, as over the years I've participated in and am aware of many non-public discussions with two Selectmen other than Mr. Boschetto or Mr. Collins.

    Would it be a violation of the Open Meeting Law for a Wayland citizen or a group of Wayland citizens to meet with a one member of the Board of Selectmen and persuade that member to either initiate an action, or support that action were it initiated by another member?

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    Quote Originally Posted by DHBernstein View Post
    I thought not, as over the years I've participated in and am aware of many non-public discussions with two Selectmen other than Mr. Boschetto or Mr. Collins.
    Prior to the OML change that went into effect in 2010, it was not uncommon for me to bounce an idea off of a single other member of the School Committee. I recall being a bit "put off" that the new OML was going to restrict that ability (if in fact it did)--I saw a lot of value in privately running an idea of the flagpole. If I'm not mistaken, I stepped down shortly before the change was official.

    Quote Originally Posted by DHBernstein View Post
    Would it be a violation of the Open Meeting Law for a Wayland citizen or a group of Wayland citizens to meet with a one member of the Board of Selectmen and persuade that member to either initiate an action, or support that action were it initiated by another member?
    Not in my opinion. However, if the same group met separately with what would together constitute a quorum, there might be a valid OML objection, particularly if the members making up the quorum knew that the other conversations were taking place.

    In this case, the comments of Mr. Leard and Mr. Collins suggest to me that they did not take part in any such meetings. Mr. Boschetto was less clear on that point, but my sense was his conveying a process of self-reflection.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jeff Dieffenbach View Post
    Not in my opinion. However, if the same group met separately with what would together constitute a quorum, there might be a valid OML objection, particularly if the members making up the quorum knew that the other conversations were taking place.
    There are numerous examples over the years of individuals and organizations meeting sequentially with one or two members of the Board Of Selectmen to motivate action. The "office hours" that Selectmen hold to meet with citizens are often used for this purpose.

    The OML's definition of deliberation stipulates oral or written communication through any medium. Interaction through a non-member third party is not deliberation. If it were, members of public bodies would be unable to discuss public business with anyone, for fear that person would convey information that could be construed as deliberative.

    Earlier in this thread, you posed a dichotomy: either Mr. Boschetto, Mr. Collins, and Mr. Leard privately deliberated on the matter of Mr. Turkington's termination in violation of the Open Meeting Law, or they failed to give the matter the serious consideration it demanded. That dichotomy is false: these members of the Board of Selectmen could have individually discussed and debated the matter at length with Wayland citizens who were not Selectmen.

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    Quote Originally Posted by DHBernstein View Post
    There are numerous examples over the years of individuals and organizations meeting sequentially with one or two members of the Board Of Selectmen to motivate action. The "office hours" that Selectmen hold to meet with citizens are often used for this purpose.

    The OML's definition of deliberation stipulates oral or written communication through any medium. Interaction through a non-member third party is not deliberation. If it were, members of public bodies would be unable to discuss public business with anyone, for fear that person would convey information that could be construed as deliberative.
    The Attorney General is sensitive to "serial communication." Groups of private citizens could very easily be enabling such communication (but don't inherently do so). If they did, and the AG was notified, I expect that they would object.

    Quote Originally Posted by DHBernstein View Post
    Earlier in this thread, you posed a dichotomy: either Mr. Boschetto, Mr. Collins, and Mr. Leard privately deliberated on the matter of Mr. Turkington's termination in violation of the Open Meeting Law, or they failed to give the matter the serious consideration it demanded. That dichotomy is false: these members of the Board of Selectmen could have individually discussed and debated the matter at length with Wayland citizens who were not Selectmen.
    Certainly, there's a spectrum of possibility, and choosing just two points on that spectrum is a simplification. My interpretation of the public remarks of the "BO3" is that at least two of them (Leard and Collins) didn't given the matter much thought in advance, and that the third's deliberation (Boschetto) was internal. That's why I ruled out consideration of the third option that you've just posited.

    I would be thrilled if they would say more. As it stands, they've done Wayland a huge disservice. Curiously, WaylandTransparency hasn't taken them to task for their opacity or their process. To be sure, WT hasn't been shy about doing so in other circumstances.

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