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Thread: Ooops, they did it again!

  1. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jeff Dieffenbach View Post
    Also, our last Override vote was in 2008! That certainly beats the every-other-year cycle we were in for a while.
    It certainly does!
    And for that, we can thank Tony Boschetto, Donna Bouchard, Shawn Kinney and many others, including many of those Enlightened Loker Parents who began to publicly question what was going on with our budget and how our money was being spent. As a result, those asking for overrides scurried away while auditors came in and found lots of money squirreled away in various accounts, some of them illegal, and lots of money carried forward in years of teacher layoffs and a school closure.
    Learn more at WaylandTransparency.com
    John Flaherty

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

  2. #17
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    Kim, this is a reply to your post #13 above. The post is already so long with all those quotes, that I thought it best to not repeat it here.

    There's a lot here to respond to, but I want to start with the most important one (to you, at least) first.
    You said this: "John, when I filed an Open Meeting Law complaint, you called it frivolous, even though the AG did find a violation, and even found the actions of one of the selectmen to be intentional."
    I believe that they did NOT find their actions intentional and that saying so could be libelous. I would encourage you to double check this and retract your statement and apologize, if you are wrong.

    I do still think of the complaint you filed as frivolous, and we will probably never agree on that. I do find it curious, too that out of the other 15 violations over the last 3 ˝ years, there were none that you found egregious enough to write about, not even the one where 4 Selectmen were caught on tape blatantly breaking the law. As far as I know, the ONLY one out of the 17 that inspired you to voice concern was the one where the AG said that Tony should've been more clear in listing the agenda item. That's not political?

    Sorry to say, I think you're wrong about something else, as well.
    Regarding the number of OML determinations, if you click on the first one, you will see it was rejected, i.e., a determination was not made, as the AG had recently taken over jurisdiction and they said they would not review complaints prior to the date they took over. A decision not to make a determination is not a determination. A determination is a finding by the AGO either that (a) a violation of the OML occurred or (b) a violation did not occur. This follows directly from the Open Meeting Law, G. L. chap. 30A, sect. 23(c) ("Upon the receipt of a complaint by any person, the attorney general shall determine, in a timely manner, whether there has been a violation of the open meeting law.") The AGO'a letter dated 08-17-2010 made no finding either that (a) a violation occurred or (b) a violation did not occur.

    Thus, the AGO has made, thus far, a total of 16 OML determinations pertaining to Wayland. In those 16 determinations, the AGO found 12 violations.

    However, the Middlesex Superior Court in reviewing the AGO's determination dated 09-29-2010 upheld the alleged violations. (The Court's ruling trumps the AGO's opinion.) The correct record is then 13 confirmed violations out of 16 alleged violations. So, thank you for pointing that out. The record is even worse than I'd originally presented.
    John Flaherty

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

  3. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by John Flaherty View Post
    scurried
    "Scurried?" Really, John, what part of that is "Facts Without Spin?"

    It's unfortunate for the fantasy that you've outlined above that the facts suggest otherwise. While Tony Boschetto, Donna Bouchard, and others attempted to defund the schools, other dynamics were at work.

    1. School enrollments were declining
    2. A rough economy was driving a general belt-tightening
    3. A series of pre-Boschetto/Bouchard ("PBB") favorable contract negotiations were taking effect
    4. PBB town officials moved pension management to the state and stabilized the growth in contributions
    5. PBB town officials made a number of changes that drastically controlled health insurance costs

    It's interesting to look at the override behavior of our peer towns.

    • Acton: 2000, 2004, 2006
    • Belmont: none
    • Boxborough: 2004, 2006
    • Carlisle: 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2007, 2008, 2009
    • Concord: 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007
    • Dover: 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007
    • Lexington: 2001, 2004, 2005, 2007, 2008
    • Lincoln: 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2008
    • Needham: 2003, 2004, 2007, 2008, 2010
    • Sherborn: 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007
    • Sudbury: 2001, 2002, 2003, 2006, 2009, 2012
    • Wayland: 2003, 2004, 2007, 2009
    • Wellesley: 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007
    • Weston: 2001, 2002, 2006, 2007


    They were enacting the same kind of measures that PBB Wayland officials were and saw the same near-elimination of overrides. Or are you going to argue, John, that Mr. Boschetto and Ms. Bouchard drove override behavior in those towns as well?

    Let's get back to the question at hand, John, that YOU raised with your starting of the thread. In the case of the Office of the Attorney General's curious ruling on the three OML "violations," can you please describe why you think the School Committee's actions (including that of Donna Bouchard, who in effect filed a violation against herself) were so worthy of your ridicule and selective "fact" presentation?

  4. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by John Flaherty View Post
    I believe that they did NOT find their actions intentional and that saying so could be libelous. I would encourage you to double check this and retract your statement and apologize, if you are wrong.
    John,

    I don't have time for a full reply at the moment, but since you made an assertion that one of my comments could be libelous, I will briefly address that. Here is what the AG said in finding a violation (bolding is my emphasis)

    Quote Originally Posted by Attorney General's Office
    Although Chair Leard made some effort to inquire about the nature of the topic at the time it was proposed, we nevertheless find that he fell short of his obligation to post a meeting notice with "sufficient specificity to reasonably advise the public of the issues to be discussed at the meeting." See 940 CMR 29.03(1 )(b). Subsequent to the discussion with Mr. Boschetto, both the Town Administrator and a member of the Board contacted the Chair because they did not understand from the topic as written what would be discussed. At that point, it should have been clear to the Chair that the public also would not understand the nature of the discussion. The Chair had several options at that point. He could have 1) sought additional detail from Mr. Boschetto and updated the notice; 2) removed the unclear item from the agenda; or 3) if the Chair believed that the topic was sufficiently specific because it merely suggested a broad review of the Town Administrator's employment agreement and job description, then he should have limited discussion during the August 26, 2013 meeting to that topic. His failure to do any of these things resulted in a violation of the Open Meeting Law. We do not find that this violation was intentional, however, and we acknowledge that Mr. Boschetto appears to have been intentionally vague about the nature of this topic.
    While I believe my original post was fine, I have edited it to include the word "appeared". This is more precise with regard to the Attorney General's wording. I believe it is accurate to say:

    John, when I filed an Open Meeting Law complaint, you called it frivolous, even though the AG did find a violation, and even found that the actions of one of the selectmen appeared to be intentional.

  5. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kim Reichelt View Post
    John,

    I don't have time for a full reply at the moment, but since you made an assertion that one of my comments could be libelous, I will briefly address that. Here is what the AG said in finding a violation (bolding is my emphasis)



    While I believe my original post was fine, I have edited it to include the word "appeared". This is more precise with regard to the Attorney General's wording. I believe it is accurate to say:

    John, when I filed an Open Meeting Law complaint, you called it frivolous, even though the AG did find a violation, and even found that the actions of one of the selectmen appeared to be intentional.
    Kim, I'm sorry, but I have to say this.
    You appear to be jumping through hoops to make this seem worse than it is. From the AG's words: "we acknowledge that Mr. Boschetto appears to have been intentionally vague about the nature of this topic", you feel compelled to go on and say "the AG did find a violation, and even found that the actions of one of the selectmen appeared to be intentional."

    Why not just quote what the AG said and leave it at that?

    In any case, thank you, you've done the right thing because clearly your original statement "even found the actions of one of the selectmen to be intentional" was not true.
    Last edited by John Flaherty; 05-06-2014 at 07:32 PM. Reason: added the thank you line
    John Flaherty

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

  6. #21
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    John,

    Let's go to the heart of it: What to you is the purpose of the Open Meeting Law? In what ways do the violations found in the most recent School Committee case violate that purpose? (As an extra question if you care to address it: In what ways does the violation found in the Town Administrator example not violate that purpose?)

  7. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jeff Dieffenbach View Post
    While Tony Boschetto, Donna Bouchard, and others attempted to defund the schools, other dynamics were at work.

    ..... the School Committee's actions (including that of Donna Bouchard, who in effect filed a violation against herself)
    Two points:
    1. Anyone paying attention knows that Tony and Donna NEVER attempted to defund the schools. They both have kids in the schools. Tony's wife works for the schools. They are passionate about the schools. The ridiculous notion that they ever had any thought of defunding the schools is right up there with the concept that there are people in town who are anti-school, anti-town-center, anti-progress, etc. It is an absurd premise and a fabrication by some who want to influence how people vote. It is a low blow, utter nonsense and the people who perpetrate such lies should be ashamed of themselves.
    2. Yes, I guess in a way Donna DID file a violation against herself. (not really though, because she tried to convince her colleagues not to go that route.) In any case, I have TREMENDOUS respect for Donna for doing the right thing in spite of the grief she gets from her colleagues and people on here. Her integrity is exemplary and I wish we had more like her on our boards.

    Oh, and Jeff, I believe I've stated it on here in the past, but as a reminder, I will not respond directly to you on these forums. If you want more of an explanation than that, please feel free to contact me directly.
    John Flaherty

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

  8. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kim Reichelt View Post
    John,

    Let's go to the heart of it: What to you is the purpose of the Open Meeting Law? In what ways do the violations found in the most recent School Committee case violate that purpose? (As an extra question if you care to address it: In what ways does the violation found in the Town Administrator example not violate that purpose?)
    Kim, not sure why you skipped over the "full reply" to my last post that you implied you'd be back with.

    The heart of it?
    The heart of the matter is this:
    1. Over a 3 1/2 year period during which boards that consisted of people you supported broke the meeting law 13 times, you said nothing.
    2. Last August, when people whom you did not support did something you did not like, you became very outspoken, very animated, and quickly went to work filing 2 complaints against them.

    While the 13 violations over those 3 1/2 years contained some that were minor technicalities, several of them were substantial and serious, two of them resulted in fines. You said nothing.

    Of the two complaints you filed, one was a minor technicality and the other was frivolous. Frivolous because it was a stab in the dark, assuming that the 3 Selectmen must have met outside of public meeting to come to an agreement. Why? Because, well, they simply must have! Ignoring the fact that these 3 individuals, much like half the rest of the town, would likely already be on the same page in their desire to terminate our TA, you pursued this shot in the dark, after never having said a word about previous violations involving people you supported who were actually caught red-handed, with a video to prove it, blatantly and flagrantly breaking the open meeting law. You said nothing. Nothing. Zilch. Nada.

    That’s the heart of it.
    John Flaherty

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

  9. #24
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    Post #23 was completely non-responsive, and seems to be an attempt to divert attention from the real topic (Open Meeting Law) to a red herring topic (me). I believe I've addressed all the questions asked elsewhere, and I'm just not interested in repeating the debate here. I won't have dialogue with any user who persists in personal attacks rather than debating actual issues.

    The point of Open Meeting Law is:
    Quote Originally Posted by Attorney General's Open Meeting Law Guide
    The purpose of the Open Meeting Law is to ensure transparency in the deliberations on which public policy is based. Because the democratic process depends on the public having knowledge about the considerations underlying governmental action, the Open Meeting Law requires, with some exceptions, that meetings of public bodies be open to the public. It also seeks to balance the public's interest in witnessing the deliberations of public officials with the government's need to manage its operations efficiently.
    I'll repeat my question from earlier to anyone who would like to address it:


    What to you is the purpose of the Open Meeting Law? In what ways do the violations found in the most recent School Committee case violate that purpose? (As an extra question if you care to address it: In what ways does the violation found in the Town Administrator example not violate that purpose?)


    --------------------
    Note: Despite the confusion of anyone who read Post #21 and reply Post #23, I've searched the statute that defines Open Meeting Law, and the text "Reichelt" doesn't appear anywhere in it.

  10. #25
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    Kim,
    Actually, I don't believe that you HAVE answered that question. It has been brought up more than once, but I have never seen a reply from you.

    It's not a personal attack - it's a fair question. I understand why you don't like it because it points out an inconsistency, but it is a fair question, since you did file those complaints. And in terms of attacking, it was you who accused me of being political some posts back by not objecting to the OML complaint from last summer. Meanwhile, you let 14 other OML violations go by without comment, some of them quite serious, and only get excited over the one that was a technicality, which involved people you do not support. Turnaround is FairPlay.
    John Flaherty

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

  11. #26
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    Nope, not happening.

    I admit I started to type out a full reply to the prior poster's question, but then I thought better of it.

    The purpose of this topic was to discuss the Open Meeting Law and how the most current finding did or did not in actuality violate the intended purpose of the Open Meeting Law (that is the spirit of the law, rather than its letter).

    If anyone wants to make this about me, sorry, not going there.

    Let's stay on topic, please.

  12. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by John Flaherty View Post
    Two points:
    1. Anyone paying attention knows that Tony and Donna NEVER attempted to defund the schools. They both have kids in the schools. Tony's wife works for the schools. They are passionate about the schools. The ridiculous notion that they ever had any thought of defunding the schools is right up there with the concept that there are people in town who are anti-school, anti-town-center, anti-progress, etc. It is an absurd premise and a fabrication by some who want to influence how people vote. It is a low blow, utter nonsense and the people who perpetrate such lies should be ashamed of themselves.
    How is my quoting Mr. Boschetto and Ms. Bouchard from one year ago a "lie?" In January of 2013, Mr. Boschetto responded to a invitation from FinCom member Tom Greenaway to review the budget before it was finalized. In his response, written jointly with Kent George and Donna Bouchard, he wrote:

    Quote Originally Posted by Tony Boschetto, Kent George, Donna Bouchard
    At this point, there are some areas where we believe immediate adjustments are warranted: [....] As requested to the school comm...level funding for school budget. Finding efficiencies in a $33 million dollar appropriation is imperative for maintaining sustainability.
    These are not my words, they are Mr. Boschetto's and Ms. Bouchard's words. As we all know, level funding in a time of expense increase is a de facto de-funding. John, the record is clear.

    Quote Originally Posted by John Flaherty View Post
    Oh, and Jeff, I believe I've stated it on here in the past, but as a reminder, I will not respond directly to you on these forums. If you want more of an explanation than that, please feel free to contact me directly.
    It doesn't really matter to me whether you "respond directly" or not. (Although I find myself unable to discern your "respond rules," since the post of yours that I quote above is most clearly a response.)

    Of course, I'm not the only one who is asking the central question: what is your specific objection to the School Committee's three "violations" that you posted without elaboration to start this thread? Kim has now asked the same question--will you respond to her?

  13. #28
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    Steven Glovsky adds his voice--and lack of elaboration--to the fray with this Wicked Local Wayland letter to the editor.

    Quote Originally Posted by Steven M. Glovsky
    By Steven M. Glovsky
    Posted May. 14, 2014 @ 9:19 pm
    Updated May 14, 2014 at 9:21 PM

    TO THE EDITOR:

    “There but for the grace of God go I.” At the end of a week in which both the U.S. Supreme Court and the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court have held that we are a state and nation “under God” (even if only one merely embodying the suggestion of patriotic unity), I am thinking how grateful the leaders of other cities and towns across Massachusetts must be to Wayland for the sharing of our trials and errors.

    It seems clear that little Wayland is the main source of opportunity for the Attorney General of the commonwealth to interpret and apply the state’s Open Meeting Law. Once again our town’s missteps have been awarded top prize for abuse of the process, a $1,000 fine to the School Committee. And since the School Committee spends far-and-away the bulk of our taxes, I guess it is appropriate they upstage our selectmen in this dubious award category.

    The officials of other communities across Massachusetts are hopefully benefiting greatly from the results of our public experience (or should I say embarrassment). “There but for the grace of God go I.”

    However, I’m struck by the thought that Wayland may have done enough in service to our fellow citizens toward flushing out the application of this one law. While it is difficult to dispute the results of this process, and our own officials hopefully have learned a lesson or two, albeit the hard way, I am more than concerned that our community has paid far too great a price. Perhaps it’s time that we all say a prayer for relief from this watchdog role. Amen. – Steven M. Glovsky, Shaw Drive
    I would be excellent if Mr. Glovsky (or Mr. Flaherty) would elaborate as to why they think the School Committee's actions were egregious enough to merit what I interpret as public ridicule.

    Three lefts may make a right, but three technicalities don't necessarily make a substantive wrong.

  14. #29
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    Three years ago, Laura Crimaldi, director, New England First Amendment Coalition at the time, referred to Wayland as "The Open Meeting Law capital of the Bay State".

    It has only gotten worse since then.
    John Flaherty

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

  15. #30
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    Yes, this is merely one anecdote, and not anything approaching evidence, but way back in post #4 of this thread, I wondered whether Wayland's apparent proclivity for OML violations might be "a stronger function of the frequency with which residents complain rather than the frequency with which it commits violations?"

    Here's an example from the Minuteman School Committee in which an OML violation appears to have occurred. No mention is made of whether said violation was ever filed with the AG's office.

    http://wayland.wickedlocal.com/artic...NEWS/140719684

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