Monday, June 21, 2010

Mark Cerel: Analysis of Open Meeting Law

This was the document shared by Mark Cerel during the Town Council Meeting of June 16th on the revisions to the Open Meeting Law.


1.              OVERVIEW

·       Starting July 1, 2010
·       New law enhances a public body's ability to attend meeting of other public bodies and otherwise to meet and communicate without deliberating
·       New notice and posting requirements
·       Changes to conduct of meeting
(a)              New duties of Chairman
(b)              Executive Session
·       Minutes and documents – Also impacts public records law


·       New definition of "Deliberate":  "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.
(a)              Exceptions: Not "Deliberation":  Provided, however, that "deliberation" shall not include the distribution of a meeting agenda, scheduling information or distribution of other procedural meeting or the distribution of reports or documents that may be discussed at a meeting, provided that no opinion of a member is expressed.
·       New definition of "Meeting":  "Meeting", a deliberation by a public body with respect to any matter within the body's jurisdiction.
(a)              Exceptions, i.e. not a meeting provided, however, "meeting" shall not include:
              -              an on-site inspection of a project or program, so long as the members do not deliberate;
              -              attendance by a quorum of a public body at a public or private gathering, including a conference or training program or a media, social or other event, so long as the members do not deliberate;
              -              attendance by a quorum of a public body at a meeting of another public body that has complied with the notice requirements of the open meeting law, so long as the visiting members communicate only by open participation in the meeting on those matters under discussion by the host body and do not deliberate;
              -              a meeting of a quasi-judicial board or commission held for the sole purpose of making a decision required in an adjudicatory proceeding brought before it;
·       New definition of "Public Body":
(a)              a multiple-member board, commission, committee or subcommittee
(b)              within the executive or legislative branch or within any county, district, city, region or town,
(c)              however created, elected, appointed or otherwise constituted,
(d)              established to serve a public purpose;
(e)              provided, however, that the governing board of a local housing, redevelopment or other similar authority shall be deemed a local public body;
(f)              provided, further, that the governing board or body of any other authority established by the general court to serve a public purpose in the commonwealth or any part thereof shall be deemed a state public body;
(g)              provided, further, that "public body" shall not include the general court or the committees or recess commissions thereof, bodies of the judicial branch or bodies appointed by a constitutional officer solely for the purpose of advising a constitutional officer
(h)              and shall not include the board of bank incorporation or the policyholder's protective board;
(i)              and provided further, that a subcommittee shall include any multiple-member body created to advise or make recommendations to a public body.


·       Still 48 hours – but now cannot include Saturdays; Saturday, Sunday and holidays not included in count
·       Chair must include in notice a listing of topics that the Chair "reasonably anticipates will be discussed at meeting"
·       NOTE:  Notice requirement are not necessarily same as agenda
·       Emergency meetings – post as soon as possible prior to the meeting
·       Posting must be "conspicuously visible to the public at all hours in or on the municipal building"
(a)              Options being considered by AG
              -              bulletin board
              -              other location
              -              computer monitor
              -              telephone message

4.              CONDUCT OF MEETING

·       Chair must announce at beginning if anyone is making a video or audio recording
·       Person can "transmit" meeting through any medium, subject to reasonable requirements of the Chair; person needs to notify Chair re: recording
·       Still need permission of Chair to speak
·       Pending approval of AG, may be able to have electronic remote participation (physical quorum must still be present)

5.              EXECUTIVE SESSIONS

·       Statute still contains same substantive exemptions from Open Session, but:
(a)              exemptions no. 1 (discuss health, reputation, character) and no. 2 now combined and new right provided for the person who is the subject of the meeting to make an independent record" of the ES
·       Chair needs to state the purpose of the ES and "all subjects which may be revealed without compromising the purpose for which the ES was called"
·       For ES for litigation/collective bargaining, real estate, and interviewing applicants, Chair must state that OS will be detrimental
·       Important to be sure Chair does this – include reminder in motion for ES

6.              NEW DUTIES OF CHAIR

·       Chair must list in notice topics which Chair "reasonably anticipates will be discussed at meeting"
·       Practice Tip – include in "notice" phrase: "The listing of matters are those reasonably anticipated by the Chair which may be discussed at the meeting.  Not all items listed may in fact be discussed and other items not listed may also be brought up for discussion to the extent permitted by law".
·       Announce at beginning if anyone is making a video or audio recording
·       Chair needs to state the purpose of the ES and "all subjects which may be revealed without compromising the purpose for which the ES was called"
·       Must state whether body is returning to Open Session or not.  (If you fail to so state, cannot go back to OS.)
·       Although tasks can be done by others, Chair should be sure that someone is keeping track of documents used at meeting; likely to be Clerk member or administrative staff person.
(a)              list of documents
(b)              copies of documents
·       Chair or designee review ES minutes at reasonable intervals
·       To see if continued non-disclosure is still warranted under the exemptions


·       Still important part of Open Meeting Law
·       Minutes remain key public record of meeting
·       Minutes now must:
(a)     Provide "summary of the discussion on each subject"
(b)     Include list of document and exhibits "used by the body" at the meeting
(c)  Documents used at meeting (OS) are not shielded under the Public Records Law exemptions, except:
    evaluation material
    -  employment application materials
(d)  be made available within ten days of request, whether approved or in draft form
·       For Executive Sessions (ES)
(a)  Documents not public until purpose of ES has expired, and documents can still remain not subject to disclosure:
       -  are covered by the attorney-client privilege; or
if publication will defeat lawful purpose of ES and ES was lawfully held; or
        - if one or more Public Records exemptions apply
- if ES for collective bargaining or litigation and release would jeopardize position of body (& then only for so long as needed) (unless attorney-client privilege or Public Records exemption)
·       Any document or exhibit "used" at meeting is now part of the official record of the meeting and must be maintained as such
·       What is meant by "used"?  (Conflict between Section 22(d) and (e):
(a)              Section 22(d): used by body
(b)              Section 22(e): used at the session

8.              MINUTES OF MEETINGS

·       All minutes – for both OS and ES – must be:
(a)   Accurate
(b)   Include date, time and place
(c)   Members present or absent
(d)   Summary of discussion on each subject
(e)   List of all document/exhibits used
(f)    Decisions made
(g)   Actions taken
·       Created and approved w/l timely manner
·       For OS minutes, to be made available within 10 days, even if in draft form, to anyone requesting same
·       Documents and exhibits used, along with minutes, now public records and part of the official record of meeting
·       Review and release
(a)    At "reasonable intervals", Public body, Chair or designee reviews minutes of ES
(b)  To see if continued non-disclosure is still warranted under the exemptions
(c)  Determination announced at next meeting and determination to be included in meeting minutes
(d)  10-day response period still in effect
(e)  If body has not already reviewed executive session minutes and there is a request, body is to review minutes and release non-exempt minutes no later than body's next meeting or within 30 days, which ever first; cannot assess fee for time body spent in review

Franklin, MA

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Happy Fathers Day

letter H letter A letter P IMG_5698_5 IMG_5583_2_2

letter F A T Boggle black letter H letter e IMG_5737_4 IMG_5570_3

Candy D letter A Y

Franklin, MA

Franklin, MA: School Committee - Agenda - 6/22/10

Vision Statement
The Franklin Public Schools will foster within its students the knowledge and skills to find and achieve satisfaction in life as productive global citizens.

Mission Statement
The Franklin Public Schools, in collaboration with the community, will cultivate each student's intellectual, social, emotional and physical potential through rigorous academic inquiry and informed problem solving skills within a safe, nurturing and respectful environment.

1. Routine Business
Citizen’s Comments
Review of Agenda
Minutes: I recommend approval of the open session and executive session minutes from the June 8, 2010 School Committee Meeting.
Payment of Bills Mr. Glynn
Payroll Mrs. Douglas
FHS Student Representatives
1. Packet of 19 letters from Jefferson parents regarding class sizes.

2. Guests/Presentations
a. Tom Morris - New Principal of Parmenter Elementary
b. ASMS Best Buddies Officers – “Spread the word to end the R Word”
1. Casey Lazarek, Lindsey Baryluk, Lauren Altobelli, Gabby Kane, Nathalie Loreiro, Maggie Streeter, Alex Wolfe and Marta Versprille. Ashley Monterotti is unable to attend.

3. Discussion Only Items
FY11 Budget

4. Action Items
a. I recommend approval of the Budget Transfers as detailed.
b. I recommend acceptance of a check for $1,000.00 from Natalie Brunelli for the John A. Brunelli Memorial Scholarship at FHS.
c. I recommend acceptance of a check for $50.00 from Elaine Costello for the Class of 1960 Scholarship at FHS.
d. I recommend acceptance of a check for $50.00 from Mary Ann Bertone for the Class of 1960 Scholarship at FHS.
e. I recommend acceptance of a check for $1,000.00 from the Franklin Country Club for the Franklin Country Club Scholarship / Hall of Fame Award at FHS.
f. I recommend acceptance of a check for $1,700.00 from the Shayne Cabino Foundation for the Let Us Never Forget LCPL Shayne Matthew Cabino Memorial Scholarship at FHS.
g. I recommend acceptance of a check for $100.00 from Lonnie Grillo for the Class of 1960 Scholarship at FHS.
h. I recommend acceptance of a check for $2,000.00 from Franklin Youth Lacrosse for a Space Camp field trip for Horace Mann students.
i. I recommend acceptance of 3 checks for $50.00 each from Mr. Lima, Mr. Folan and Mr. DiLorenzo for the FHS Scholarship Fund.
j. I recommend acceptance of a check for $3,000.00 from the Horace Mann PCC for in-house enrichment.
k. I recommend approval of an increase in athletic fees to $450 for Hockey, $175 for Track, and $200 for all other sports.
l. I recommend approval of an increase in extracurricular fees to $50 annually.
m. I recommend adoption of the FY11 budget of $49,875,000 as detailed.

5. Information Matters
Superintendent’s Report
a. Foreign Language
b. Interim Principal HMMS

School Committee Sub-Committee Reports
School Committee Liaison Reports

6. New Business
To discuss future business that may be brought before the School Committee.

7. Executive Session
Contractual Negotiations

8. Adjourn

The costs of Charles River cleanup

“If the EPA moves forward with this plan, it will devastate the businesses in Milford, Franklin and Bellingham,’’ said Jack Lank, president of the United Regional Chamber of Commerce, which includes Franklin and Bellingham. “The cost is going to kill small businesses.’’
The EPA is calling for local businesses to cut the levels of phosphorus in runoff by 65 percent in five years.
The agency is holding a public hearing on its proposal Tuesday at the Tri-County Regional Vocational Technical School in Franklin. Officials will summarize the program from 6 to 7 p.m., and at 7:30 p.m. will take testimony from audience members, according to an EPA announcement.
Read the full article in the Boston Globe West edition here:

Additional information on the EPA proposal can be found here:

Cost to businesses:

The EPA Charles River website:

Franklin, MA

In the News - jeopardy

Franklin girl to appear on Jeopardy

Franklin, MA

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Freeman Rail Trail Expansion Moves Forward

Sent to you by Steve Sherlock via Google Reader:

via Commonwealth Conversations: Transportation by Klark Jessen on 6/18/10

Freeman Trail Event, Lt Lieutenant Governor Timothy Murray today announced funding to design a major expansion of the popular Bruce Freeman Rail Trail through Westford, Carlisle, Acton and Concord.

The $931,500 in capital funds will design the next two phases of the Freeman Rail Trail, the first of which will extend the trail south by nearly five miles.

"This strategic investment in designing the expansion of the Freeman Trail will enhance the transportation and recreational infrastructure in the region, providing long term healthy transportation benefits to the residents of Acton, Westford, Carlisle and the many people in the surrounding communities who use and enjoy the Trail," said Governor Deval Patrick.

"As part of our administration's transportation reform we have committed to improve service within all transportation systems in the Commonwealth," said Lieutenant Governor Timothy Murray.  "Today's announced design funding for the expansion of the Bruce Freeman Rail Trail is another example of infrastructure improvements that will offer our residents increased recreational and healthy transportation opportunities in the region."

The funds will design the next two phases of the Bruce Freeman Rail Trail from the end of the current trail through Westford and Lowell south through Westford, Carlisle, Acton and Concord, including construction of a 10-12 foot paved asphalt multi-use trail, construction of a pedestrian bridge over Route 2A/119, and rehabilitation of six existing rail bridges along the Trail. A segment of the trail crossing Route 2 will be designed with the Concord Rotary Project. In October 2009, the Patrick Administration awarded an additional $500,000 in "Transportation Enhancements" funding to support final design of phase 2A of the Bruce Freeman Rail Trail.

The estimated construction cost of the first phase of Trail expansion through Acton, Westford, and Carlisle is $7.7 million.  Learn more about Governor Patrick's Massachusetts Works programs to create jobs and promote economic development.

Things you can do from here:

In the News - Strawberry Festival

By Ashley Studley/Daily News staff
Posted Jun 18, 2010 @ 12:04 AM
Last update Jun 18, 2010 @ 02:31 PM

On a new night with later hours than in past years, the celebration of summer drew an excited and hungry crowd.
"They all want strawberry shortcake for dinner," said Donna O'Neil as she sold the dessert in the municipal parking lot on West Central Street.
Hosted by the Downtown Partnership, this year's event was paired with the organization's Third Thursday event - which features specials and promotions by downtown businesses during summer months.

Franklin, MA

Friday, June 18, 2010

What if? - poll fixed

Update: Google was having a problem with the poll question. It was resolved on 6/17/10. The question is now available and open until midnight on June 25th.

Based upon the discussion around the article in the Milford Daily News on Tuesday 6/15/10, a new poll question has been added to the center column.

The question asks if the override question had been phrased differently would the results have been different. In particular the question is:

If the override was split into 2 separate questions, would you have approved the school override? Q1 - $2.1 million for schools   Q2 - $900K for roads/the town

The article and full comment stream can be found here:

Strawberry Festival - photo recap

Strawberry shortcake? Yes, indeed. The fresh shortcake, luscious strawberries and sweet creamy topping created a line.

The GATRA "strawberry shuttle" was in operation.

John Kinney performed in from of the shortcake line.

Amongst the songs Jamie Barrett performed was the "City Known as the Town of Franklin"

The flowers on the railroad bridge are continuing to blossom and share their color with those who come downtown to Franklin.

As a member of the Franklin Downtown Partnership, it is good to see so  many folks coming down for events like this. There are additional Third Thursday events in July and August. Mark your calendar for a good time in downtown Franklin!

Franklin, MA

Franklin, MA: Planning Board - 06/21/10 - Agenda

7:15 PM

Continued Public Hearing 
485 East Central St - Franklin Market
Site Plan and Special Permit

Initial Public Hearing 
485 East Central St - Franklin Market
Site Plan and Special Permit

The full agenda document can be found here:


Franklin, MA

Franklin, MA: 4th of July Schedule

The schedule of events for the Franklin, MA 4th of July are as follows:

Franklin 4thJuly 2010 Schedule

Additional information can be found on the 4th of July Coalition website here:

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Conservation Commission - Agenda - 06/17/10

7:15 – 7:45 PM
Call to Order, Minutes, Agent’s Report, Committee Reports
7:45 – 8:00 PM
14 King Philip Road – Leland
Construction of In-ground Swimming Pool, Patio & Fence
Continued - Public Hearing – Notice of Intent

                Enforcement:  26 Shady Lane

                Discussions:  31 Hayward Street – Moseley
                                                  Minor Buffer Zone Discussion

                Extension Permit:  South Hill Estates
                Chairman & Commission Comments  

Franklin, MA

Third Thursday - Strawberry Festival - activities

The listing of activities for the Third Thursday/Strawberry Festival can be found here:


Note: email subscribers will need to click through to Franklin Matters to view the document

Franklin, MA

Franklin, MA: Summer concert schedule

The bandstand on the Town Common will be busy each Wednesday this summer.

The full schedule of performers is show below:
Franklin Summer Concerts 2010

Note: email subscribers will need to click through to Franklin Matters to view the document

Franklin, MA

Town Council - 06/16/10

The live reported posts from the Town Council meeting of Wednesday 6/16/10 can be found here:

Franklin, MA