Posts tagged "Registered"

Three Registered Voters v. Board of Selectmen of Lynnfield, et al. (Lawyers Weekly No. 11-101-16)

NOTICE:  All slip opinions and orders are subject to formal revision and are superseded by the advance sheets and bound volumes of the Official Reports.  If you find a typographical error or other formal error, please notify the Reporter of Decisions, Supreme Judicial Court, John Adams Courthouse, 1 Pemberton Square, Suite 2500, Boston, MA, 02108-1750; (617) 557-1030; SJCReporter@sjc.state.ma.us   15-P-936                                        Appeals Court   THREE REGISTERED VOTERS  vs.  BOARD OF SELECTMEN OF LYNNFIELD & another.[1]     No. 15-P-936.   Essex.     March 9, 2016. – August 12, 2016.   Present:  Cypher, Cohen, & Neyman, JJ.     Open Meeting Law.  Municipal Corporations, Open meetings.     Civil action commenced in the Superior Court Department on January 5, 2015.   A motion to dismiss was heard by Robert A. Cornetta, J.     Michael C. Walsh (David E. Miller with him) for the plaintiffs. Thomas A. Mullen for the defendants.     CYPHER, J.  The plaintiffs, three registered voters (voters)[2] in the town of Lynnfield (town), appeal from the dismissal in the Superior Court of their complaint alleging that the board of selectmen of Lynnfield (board)[3] violated the open meeting law, G. L. c. 30A, §§ 18-25, in the selection process for appointing several municipal officials.  The voters argue that the board violated the open meeting law by (1) failing to give proper notice of the meeting at which the new town administrator was appointed; (2) failing to properly process their complaint; and (3) failing to interview and to deliberate on applicants for the town administrator position in an open meeting.  We affirm the dismissal of the complaint. This case appears to be the first under G. L. c. 30A, §§ 18-25, to reach an appellate court.  This new statute, inserted by St. 2009, c. 28, § 18,[4] was a significant revision of the former open meeting law, G. L. c. 39, §§ 23A-23C, which was repealed by St. 2009, c. 28, § 20.  Therefore, we briefly summarize provisions of the new law as relevant to the present case. The open meeting law continues to “manifest[] . . . a general policy that all meetings of a governmental body should be open to the public unless exempted by . . . statute.”  Attorney Gen. v. School Comm. of Taunton, 7 Mass. App. Ct. 226, 229 (1979).  Section 20(a) of the open meeting law declares that “all meetings of a public body shall be open to the public,” and § 20(b) states that a public body “shall post notice of every meeting at least 48 hours prior to such meeting.”  G. L. c. 30A, § 20, as appearing in St. 2014, c. 485. Section 19(a) of the new law established a division of open government in the office of the Attorney General and provided her authority pursuant to § 25(a) to “promulgate rules and regulations to carry out enforcement of […]

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Posted by Massachusetts Legal Resources - August 13, 2016 at 12:52 pm

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