Posts tagged "Selectmen"

Boelter, et al. v. Board of Selectmen of Wayland (Lawyers Weekly No. 10-050-18)

NOTICE:  All slip opinions and orders are subject to formal revision and are superseded by the advance sheets and bound volumes of the Official Reports.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   SJC-12353   MARY ALICE BOELTER & others[1]  vs.  BOARD OF SELECTMEN OF WAYLAND.       Middlesex.     December 5, 2017. – April 5, 2018.   Present:  Gants, C.J., Lenk, Gaziano, Lowy, Budd, Cypher, & Kafker, JJ.     Open Meeting Law.  Municipal Corporations, Open meetings, Selectmen.  Moot Question.  Attorney General.       Civil action commenced in the Superior Court Department on February 11, 2014.   The case was heard by Dennis J. Curran, J., on motions for summary judgment.   The Supreme Judicial Court on its own initiative transferred the case from the Appeals Court.     Mark J. Lanza, Special Town Counsel, for the defendant. David S. Mackey, Special Assistant Attorney General (Christine M. Zaleski also present) for Massachusetts Gaming Commission. George H. Harris for the plaintiffs. The following submitted briefs for amici curiae: Maura Healey, Attorney General, & Jonathan Sclarsic & Kevin W. Manganaro, Assistant Attorneys General, for the Attorney General. Robert J. Ambrogi & Peter J. Caruso for Massachusetts Newspaper Publishers Association. Kenneth S. Leonetti, Christopher E. Hart, Michael Hoven, & Kelly Caiazzo for Hal Abrams & others.     LENK, J.  The plaintiffs, all registered voters in the town of Wayland (town), brought this action in the Superior Court to challenge the procedure by which the board of selectmen of Wayland (board) conducted the 2012 performance review of the town administrator.  The chair of the board had circulated to all board members, in advance of the public meeting where the town administrator’s evaluation was to take place, board members’ individual written evaluations, as well as a composite written evaluation, of the town administrator’s performance.  The board made public all written evaluations after the open meeting.  The issue before us is whether the board violated the Massachusetts open meeting law, G. L. c. 30A, §§ 18 and 20 (a), which generally requires public bodies to make their meetings, including “deliberations,” open to the public. A judge of the Superior Court allowed the plaintiffs’ motion for summary judgment, issued a permanent injunction, and declared “stricken” a contrary determination by the Attorney General that had issued the prior year, on essentially the same facts, in which the Attorney General had found that the board’s conduct had not violated the open meeting law.  The board appealed from the allowance of summary judgment, arguing that the matter is moot, its conduct did not violate the […]

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Posted by Massachusetts Legal Resources - April 5, 2018 at 5:00 pm

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Board of Selectmen of the Town of Hull, et al. v. Healey (Lawyers Weekly No. 09-054-17)

1 COMMONWEALTH OF MASSACHUSETTS PLYMOUTH, ss. SUPERIOR COURT CIVIL ACTION NO. 15-00161 BOARD OF SELECTMEN OF THE TOWN OF HULL & THE TOWN MANAGER OF THE TOWN OF HULL vs. MAURA HEALEY, ATTORNEY GENERAL MEMORANDUM OF DECISION AND ORDER ON CROSS-MOTIONS FOR JUDGMENT ON THE PLEADINGS In this action, plaintiffs Board of Selectmen of the Board of Hull and the Board Manager of the Board of Hull (collectively “the Board”) seek certiorari review under G. L. c. 249, §4, of a decision made by defendant Attorney General, Maura Healey (“the Attorney General”) that the Board violated Opening Meeting Law, G. L. c. 30A, §21(b)(3), by failing to publicly identify unions in collective bargaining disputes and a claimant in a matter in civil litigation prior to entering executive session to discuss strategy with respect to these matters. Before the Court are cross-motions for judgment on the pleadings. The Board seeks an order reversing the Attorney General’s decision and for declaratory relief, and the Attorney General seeks affirmation of her determination. In consideration of the parties’ memoranda of law and oral arguments, and for the reasons that follow, the Board’s motion for judgment on the pleadings is ALLOWED, the Attorney General’s cross-motion for judgment on the pleadings is DENIED, the Attorney General’s order that the Board amend its minutes reflecting the meetings in dispute is VACATED, and this matter is REMANDED to the Attorney General for further review consistent with this decision. The Town’s motion for further declaratory relief is DENIED. 2 FACTS Claims for judicial review of administrative agency proceedings are resolved through motions for judgment on the pleadings under Mass. R. Civ. P. 12(c). See Massachusetts Superior Court Standing Order 1-96, §4. The Court’s “review shall be confined to the record.” Id. at §5. “Such record ‘shall consist of … the entire proceedings.’” Id. at §2, quoting G. L. c. 30A, §14. The record in this case, and the relevant law, show the following. Plaintiff Board is a public body, and plaintiff Town Manager of the Town of Hull is the Chief Administrative Officer of the Town of Hull. Defendant Maura Healey is the Attorney General of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. The Open Meeting Law, G. L. c. 30A, §§18-25 (“OML”), requires that, “[e]xcept as provided in section 21, all meetings of a public body shall be open to the public.” G.L. c. 30A, §20(a). Section 21 of the OML allows “[a] public body [to] meet in executive session” for an enumerated purpose, which includes “[t]o discuss strategy with respect to collective bargaining or litigation if an open meeting may have a detrimental effect on the bargaining or litigating position of the public body and the chair so declares.” G. […]

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Posted by Massachusetts Legal Resources - December 22, 2017 at 7:17 pm

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Athanasiou, et al. v. Board of Selectmen of Westhampton, et al. (Lawyers Weekly No. 11-107-17)

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-894 Appeals Court GEORGE ATHANASIOU & another1 vs. BOARD OF SELECTMEN OF WESTHAMPTON & another.2 No. 15-P-894. Suffolk. January 12, 2017. – August 22, 2017. Present: Vuono, Milkey, & Henry, JJ. Adverse Possession and Prescription. Easement. Municipal Corporations, Adverse possession. Way. Real Property, Easement, Adverse possession. Practice, Civil, Summary judgment. Civil action commenced in the Land Court Department on May 20, 2013. The case was heard by Alexander H. Sands, III, J., on motions for summary judgment. Harry L. Miles (Michael Pill also present) for the plaintiffs. Janelle M. Austin for the defendants. 1 Louanne Athanasiou. 2 Town of Westhampton. 2 VUONO, J. The issue in this case is whether the town of Westhampton (town) has acquired an easement by prescription over a triangular parcel of land (triangle) and an abutting roadway (way), together the “disputed area,” owned by the plaintiffs, Louanne and George Athanasiou. On cross motions for summary judgment,3 a Land Court judge determined that the public’s use of the way for a continuous period in excess of twenty years, coupled with the town’s maintenance of the disputed area to provide for such public use, was sufficient to establish a prescriptive easement over the disputed area for the benefit of the town and its inhabitants. The plaintiffs appeal. Background. The following facts are not in dispute. The way is an unnamed, paved roadway that connects North Road and Southampton Road in the rural town. The roads merge at an intersection located at the tip of the triangle, and the way provides a convenient connection between the two roads (known in 3 The plaintiffs commenced this action by filing a complaint in the Land Court seeking, among other things, a declaration that they are the rightful fee title owners of the disputed area. The defendants counterclaimed, asserting that the town had acquired a prescriptive easement over the disputed area. The defendants subsequently filed a motion for summary judgment after which the plaintiffs cross-moved for summary judgment on the defendants’ counterclaim. Ultimately, summary judgment entered in favor of the plaintiffs on their claim of ownership and in favor of the defendants on their counterclaim. The defendants have not cross-appealed; therefore, the issue of ownership is not before us. 3 common parlance as a “cut-through”). The way is wide enough to accommodate traffic in both directions and has been used by the public […]

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Posted by Massachusetts Legal Resources - August 22, 2017 at 5:05 pm

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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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