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Thread: Ooops, they did it again!

  1. #31
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    John Flaherty

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

  2. #32
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    John, your response in post #31 confuses me, for two reasons:

    1. In post #22 of this thread, you said that you don't respond to me (an odd claim, given that you also responded to me in posts #3, #5, #8, and #16).

    2. The chart you posted doesn't contain anything new--it's merely a repeat of your post #8. And your chart does nothing to rebut my (admittedly unprovable) hypothesis that perhaps Wayland doesn't "lead" in actual OML violations, just reported OML violations. Put another way, if boards in other towns are violating the OML, but no one is reporting them to the AG, then those violations won't show up in your chart.

  3. #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jeff Dieffenbach View Post
    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
    Jeff, here's an example from the BOS meeting on January 27, 2014. From the meeting minutes:

    The Board considered the applicants to the resident positions on the committee. S. Correia commented that four boards were already represented on the Search Committee, and he felt that individuals serving on other boards should not be added to the Town Administrator Search Committee. The Chair (note: then this was Tony Boschetto) recommended that the members submit their recommendations for Search Committee nominees in writing to J. Senchyshyn, and all the members agreed to do so. The members then submitted their recommendations in writing to J. Senchyshyn, who tabulated the results: one applicant received three votes, four applicants received two votes, five applicants received one vote, and three applicants received no votes.
    Despite this OML-violating secret ballot, conducted in front of a public audience, to my knowledge no one complained to the Selectmen. I did request copies of the secret ballots, but never received them. I saw this as stupid, but not worth my effort as I know the selectmen were made aware of the issue. No one - neither I, nor anyone else who was present at the meeting - ever filed a complaint.

    Of course, this is another Wayland example, but perhaps not the sort that those who are counting such things like to count.

    In my next post, I can start providing examples from other towns.

  4. #34
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jeff Dieffenbach View Post
    John, your response in post #31 confuses me, for two reasons:

    1. In post #22 of this thread, you said that you don't respond to me (an odd claim, given that you also responded to me in posts #3, #5, #8, and #16).

    2. The chart you posted doesn't contain anything new--it's merely a repeat of your post #8. And your chart does nothing to rebut my (admittedly unprovable) hypothesis that perhaps Wayland doesn't "lead" in actual OML violations, just reported OML violations. Put another way, if boards in other towns are violating the OML, but no one is reporting them to the AG, then those violations won't show up in your chart.

    I can’t think of any reason to hypothesize "that perhaps Wayland doesn't "lead" in actual OML violations”, other than a wish that this not be the case, when all indications are that we do. Why should people not believe what they see before their very eyes, and instead buy into a rather far-fetched theory that has no substantiation whatsoever, other than for its "feel-good" qualities?

    One could postulate till the cows come home that Anytown, USA might have more (unreported) violations than we do, but even if this proved to be true, this doesn’t explain or excuse the ongoing pattern we have here in Wayland. And, as a Wayland resident, I am much more concerned with what goes on in Wayland than I am in Anytown, USA.
    John Flaherty

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

  5. #35
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    John, my hypothesis (not theory) is hardly far-fetched. In fact, given the tenor of politics in Wayland, I'll argue that a reasonable person could easily conclude that Wayland residents pin the needle with respect to reporting OML violations.

    But that isn't really the topic of this thread. No, this thread is about your calling attention to three violations of the OML by the School Committee. I characterized these violations as technical. Briefly:


    • The Topic "Personnel Matter" in the [School] Committee's Posted Notice was Insufficiently Specific
    • The Committee Improperly Entered Executive Session When a Member Other Than the Chair Stated the Purpose for the Executive Session
    • The Board improperly entered executive session under Purpose 7 because the issue discussed was not protected by the statutory right to privacy [when Purpose 1 would have been sufficient]


    The question I've asked you at least once, and that you've yet to answer: how exactly are these violations substantive in any meaningful way?
    Last edited by Jeff Dieffenbach; 07-15-2014 at 08:19 AM. Reason: formatting

  6. #36
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    Seems pretty self evident that they are not (substantive that is).

    One thing that does surprise me that the lawyers that live in other towns don't take advantage of the system the same way that our resident lawyers do. You'd think that the motivations (self promotion, ego, opportunity to increase income, etc.) would be consistent within the profession regardless of what town they come from... evidently not! Maybe there's something in the water?

  7. #37
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    Carl, here's an example for you. In this example, the Truro Assessors violate the same rule that our School Committee did in having a non-Chair explain and make the motion to go into Executive Session.

    Their Chair at this meeting was Bruce Boleyn, and yet the minutes state that Assessor Forgione explained and made the motion to go into Executive Session. Minutes online here: http://www.truro-ma.gov/sites/trurom...15-boa-min.pdf

    There are no subsequent notes about OML complaints from anyone in the public nor any determinations regarding the Truro Assessors from the AG's office. There have been no determinations regarding the Truro Assessors office since the start of the AG's online database, even though a very quick cursory review of their minutes turned up one that appears to have been a violation.

  8. #38
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    Carl and Jeff, here's another example for you. But it's not mine, it's George Harris'.

    http://wayland.wickedlocal.com/artic...NEWS/140739765

    Mr. Harris believes (though we will never know what the AG would have determined) that this was not just a mere technicality, but rather "clearly an intentional violation of the Open Meeting Law". And yet, no one in Eastham complained to the AG's office.

  9. #39
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    This seems like such a strange point you’re making, the purpose of which seems to be to water down the real issue.

    The Open Meeting Law was created for a reason. We should have no instances of it whatsoever, if our boards would pay attention to the law. Pointing out that other towns may have instances that go unreported is a red herring, redirecting attention to something far less important than the fact that Wayland’s boards have a reputation for repeatedly breaking the law. No amount of sugar-coating it, changes that fact.
    John Flaherty

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

  10. #40
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    John, you're off point.

    Your initial post apparently took exception to the School Committee's actions. I say "apparently" because three full months later, you've still failed to explain why you're taking exception to the School Committee's actions.

    In the second post in this thread, I outlined my reasons for thinking the findings of the AG to be technicalities. When you wouldn't engage on that topic, I chose another one--the possibility that Wayland officials don't violate the Open Meeting Law any more than any other town. What's more likely: that many tens of Wayland officials have "inherited" a disproportionate tendency to violate the OML compared with peer towns, or that Wayland has approximately 3 more citizens who file OML complaints than our peer towns?

    You didn't seem to enjoy that exchange either, so you changed the subject again to overrides, again calling out Wayland as somehow "special." I pointed out that Wayland's override patterns have followed those of peer towns.

    You accuse Kim (apparently, as you don't call her out by name, nor do you reference her post--it could also be Ben or Carl or me whom you're attempting to take to task) of "redirecting attention to something far less important than the fact that Wayland’s boards have a reputation for repeatedly breaking the law."

    That's hilarious, John. Both Kim and I have begged you to come back on topic and address your original post. I'll beg again: "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 ... were so worthy of your ridicule?

  11. #41
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    Cool I'm sorry - I just can't resist

    The exchange here calls for an excerpt from the best movie EVER made... Animal House:

    Otter: Ladies and gentlemen, I'll be brief. The issue here is not whether we broke a few rules, or took a few liberties with our female party guests - we did.

    [winks at Dean Wormer]

    Otter: But you can't hold a whole fraternity responsible for the behavior of a few, sick twisted individuals. For if you do, then shouldn't we blame the whole fraternity system? And if the whole fraternity system is guilty, then isn't this an indictment of our educational institutions in general? I put it to you, Greg - isn't this an indictment of our entire American society? Well, you can do whatever you want to us, but we're not going to sit here and listen to you badmouth the United States of America. Gentlemen!

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