Town issued response to claim of OML violation

by beth on December 8, 2017

The Town issued and shared its official response to David Parry’s complaint of an Open Meeting Law violation.

On Wednesday, Parry was emailed the written opinion of Town Counsel that the Board of Selectmen, Chair Dan Kolenda, and Town employees didn’t violate the law.

The opinion came with a letter from Town Administrator Mark Purple. In it he defended the August letter to Parry as issued based on complaints and concerns of Town employees. (Parry’s complaint included the claim that the letter was issued based on Kolenda’s personal spite towards him and political motivations.)

As reiterated in the opinion from Town Counsel Aldo Cipriano, Parry wasn’t banned from the Town House. The letter specified that to meet with Town officials and employees he would have to schedule appointments.

It stated that was to stop the “continuous issue of Mr. Parry’s unscheduled visits and conduct during those visits at Town offices”. And it pointed out:

On a day-to – day basis, he would still be able to conduct his personal Town business and attend Town Board meetings (a carefully intended distinction in the letter).

Counsel also denied Parry’s claims communications behind the letter violated Open Meeting Law. Cipriano justified that the Town Administrator and the BOS Chair were responsible for the “day-to-day management of Town affairs”. He provides justification for communications between Purple, Kolenda and the Police Chief. 

I didn’t see specific mention of the purported communications between Kolenda and other selectmen around the letter. (Those had been called out in Parry’s complaint as grounds that they unlawfully deliberated without proper notice.)

It’s doubtful that the Town’s communication lays the issue to rest.

Parry had made clear in past communications that he expected the Attorney General to have the ultimate say on the matter. His stated intent was filing the complaint with the AG’s office. First filing with the accused public body is part of the process required by the AG.

The Town’s communication was forwarded to me by Purple yesterday evening, apparently at Kolenda’s request. Purple’s letter stated: 

On behalf of the Board of Selectmen, attached is the opinion of Town Counsel Aldo Cipriano in response to your OML complaint against Mr. Kolenda, dated November 28, 2017. Mr. Cipriano finds no merit in your complaint, and that Mr. Kolenda’s actions did not violate the OML statute.

Further, the August 21, 2017 letter that was issued to you by Mr. Kolenda was done as the result of multiple complaints filed with the Police Department concerning your actions, as well as similar concerns from Town officials and employees.

The attached letter from Cipriano stated: 

We have been asked to address a recent lengthy email correspondence from a Mr. David Parry as to a purportedly filed complaint with the Attorney General’s (OML) Open Government Division in conjunction with an official correspondence sent by the Chairman of the Board of Selectmen as the Town’s Chief Executive Officer relative to public safety and security concerns as to Mr. Parry’s continuous unscheduled visits with certain Town officials and employees.

In this regard, we offer the following analysis of the legal and administrative basis of that correspondence.

Apparently, there was a continuous issue of Mr. Parry’s unscheduled visits and conduct during those visits at Town offices. Under the Town Code, Chapter 27, Article IX, Section 27-25 thereof, summarily, the Town Administrator shall act as the Chief Administrative Officer of the Town, ultimately responsible to the Board of Selectmen and particularly its Chairman for the day-to-day management of Town affairs.

Further, under Section 27-26(A), the Town Administrator, as agent to the Board, shall be responsible for the efficient administration of all departments and personnel under Board jurisdiction and in conjunction with other agencies of the Town.

The overview of intent of this comprehensive By-law, which we previously helped create, is that the Town Administrator shall be responsible for the efficient day-to-day activities of agencies in Town buildings specifically the seat of government: the Town House. Implicitly, he is also responsible for the safety and security of officials and employees in that regard.

By historical practice and procedure, the Chairman of the Board of Selectmen is the CEO of the Town on a day-to-day basis. Between the Town Administrator and Chairman, they have the inherent duty and responsibility to coordinate efficient daily government activities, particularly as to the safety and well being of Town officials and employees.

Furthermore, the Town Administrator and Chairman in conjunction with the advice and/or involvement of the Police Chief and Town Counsel are not a public body and can consult on public safety and legal matters as needed. We see no violation of the Open Meeting Law.

The August 21, 2017 letter to Mr. Parry merely informed him that given issues that occurred, he would have to make scheduled appointments with Town officials and employees. On a day-to – day basis, he would still be able to conduct his personal Town business and attend Town Board meetings (a carefully intended distinction in the letter).

We are aware of the intent of the letter and see no evidence of harassment. The correspondence was issued solely to maintain orderly administration in the Town House and to mitigate any safety or security issues for Town officials and employees.

You can see the documents here:

{ 36 comments… read them below or add one }

1 louise barron December 8, 2017 at 6:11 PM

Politicians in diapers must be changed often, and for the same reason…. Mark Twain..
Can anyone say “class action law suit”????????? Mr. Parry, I hope you have a good civil liberties/slander attorney. With all due seriousness. Thank goodness, this will be in the hands of the Attorney Generals office. Objective outside help is called for.

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2 beth December 8, 2017 at 6:57 PM

I only approved because I believe the “in” was meant to be “and”.

I find it ironic that you used the fact that Mr. Parry is a former selectman as reason to treat him with respect this week, but you write about current selectmen with contempt.

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3 louise barron December 8, 2017 at 7:01 PM

Sorry. It should read politicians and diapers. Thanks Beth

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4 D. McGee December 8, 2017 at 8:01 PM

Mark Twain also said “It is better to keep your mouth closed and let people think you are a fool than to open it and remove all doubt.”

While we’re on quotes, Maya Angelou said: “What you’re supposed to do when you don’t like a thing is change it. If you can’t change it, change the way you think about it. Don’t complain.”

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5 louise barron December 8, 2017 at 7:31 PM

Beth I’ll restate the quote. It’s worth reading.
Politicians and diapers must be changed often, and for the same reason… Mark Twain

How can I hold Selectmen in esteem when they are threatening residents and prohibiting them from entering town buildings, and don’t permit residents to speak at meetings, because they don’t like either their tone or content of complaints and opinions.
Beth, You’re not exactly neutral, and increasingly lack objectivity. I find that ironic.
Thank you

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6 beth December 9, 2017 at 7:45 AM

Actually Louise, I try not to jump to conclusions without all of the facts. In most matters the truth lies somewhere between accounts. I don’t assume I know what is true here.

Just because I don’t jump on one bandwagon doesn’t mean I’m on another bandwagon.

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7 Matthew Brownell December 9, 2017 at 6:43 AM

Banning Mr. Parry from Town Hall without a “scheduled” appointment with Town Officials and Town employees seems to me a glaring over-reach and illegal usurpation of Executive and Administrative authority.

I would like to remind Selectman Kolenda, Town Administrator Mark Purple, and Town “employees” that they serve at bidding of Southborough’s residents and taxpayers. Southborough government affairs are not , and should not be a lair for would-be Roman Emporers , freelance Monarchs, closed “Executive Session” Tribunals, and Little Napoleon lapdogs for special interests.

I have met and spoken with David Parry on numerous occasions over the years. He is bright, aggressive, sometimes confrontational, and always a wellspring of new ideas and approaches. A proven self-starter, and always-entertains speaker? Definitely. Unorthodox? Absolutely.

But a threat to the “security” and “safety” of Southborough Town Officials and employees? ( ?? !!!) “Creating a hostile work environment” ( ??? !!!) 🤣🤣🤣😂😂😂 . OMG . Please. I’m begging Mr. Kolenda and Mr. Purple . . . ***Please get Better***.

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8 em December 9, 2017 at 8:57 AM

What do you mean when you say that Kolenda, Purple, and town workers serve at the “bidding” of residents and taxpayers? I’m legitimately curious. When I hear “at the bidding,” I think of a butler responding the every whim of the asker. When I think of selectman and the Town Administrator, I think of highly qualified and experienced individuals (whether one agrees with their every position or not) who were “hired” (vis-a-vis an election, perhaps) to do a job. When I hire someone, I expect a relationship in which the hired individual will have a sizeable degree of autonomy in which to carry out their responsibilities. To me, the word “bidding” indicates a far more capricious arrangement, with the hired dropping everything to cater to the fickle demands of the individual making them. Such an arrangement would not allow one to carry out the job of say, Selectman, or Town Administrator, or staff accountant, for example. I am wondering if you and others perhaps see the role of town worker or Selectman differently? If you and many others do, it seems like we ought, as a town, have a serious conversation about what we want and expect from those who work for the town. And whatever that vision is ought to be shared with those who seek positions.

Also, and I am not trying to enflame the conversation, do please do not take this question as contrary to the tone I tried to take in the above paragraph, but I must ask this – why did you put “employees” in quotation marks? Administrative assistants, payroll administrators, custodians… they are all employees of the Town of Southborough. They come to work as assigned and carry out the tasks of theirs jobs. They work. They are paid for this. They are fully employees. To put that word in quotation marks belittles their daily existence.

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9 louise barron December 9, 2017 at 10:58 AM

Matthew Your points are correct. This is a dictatorship. It cannot continue.

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10 D. McGee December 9, 2017 at 11:51 AM

Dictatorship…WOW!!! Stalin, Idi Amin, Mussolini and…Kolenda of Southborough? Nothing like a little hyperbole to render a post meaningless.

“Hyperbole expands in societies where articulateness atrophies.” —George Will

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11 Frank Crowell December 11, 2017 at 8:31 AM

Since Mr. Will belongs to the “Never Trump” brigade, he certainly should know hyperbole.

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12 D. McGee December 11, 2017 at 9:39 AM

Not quite sure what that has to do with anything, but O.K. Not sure why folks feel the need to inject party politics into a post that has none.

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13 Frank Crowell December 11, 2017 at 12:05 PM

Thanks for asking. George Will is part of the Washington elite. Not sure if he has offered any non-elite solutions of late since I stopped reading him years ago when he opposed term limits. If we had term limits for state, federal and local elected positions, I am fairly sure we would not have the problems we have today.

14 D. McGee December 11, 2017 at 1:07 PM

OK, let’s review:
1. I offered a quote to emphasize a point in response to a post in which someone referred to the Southborough BOS as a “dictatorship.”
2. You injected yourself into the conversation to make a non sequitur partisan political attack on the author of the quote.
3. I then noted that I don’t understand why people feel the need to cram party politics into discussion that has none.
4, You follow up with another non-sequitur partisan attack on the author of the quote, citing his opposition to term limits and stature as “Washington Elite”.

My question is: HUH??? Who cares? The point was the context of the quote, not the author. Just how tangential to a conversation can you possibly get?

P.S. Since you brought it up, we already have term limits. They’re called “elections” (i.e., no one can rightfully scream “Please…help me before I re-elect again!”). And isn’t it funny how all of those Tea Party guys who ran on a platform supporting term limits continue to run LONG beyond their suggested term limits?

P.P.S. “elite” means the best of the best. So sad in the dumbing down of America that the term has taken on a negative connotation.

15 Matthew Brownell December 9, 2017 at 1:39 PM

Em,

Generally, I don’t respond to questions posed by those who cower and snipe from anonymity on a blog. To cloak ones editorial identity on issues of public interest is not the hallmark of a leader, a best practice of appointed Administrators, or a sage playbook for business Managers, elected officials, or for any stand-up citizen looking to make a meaningful contribution to the community. This manufactured Shroud of Secrecy only deepens public distrust for Southborough government affairs.

While I expect masked identities for those who work for the CIA , State Department, or Mossad, it is really pretty immature, irresponsible, and masturbatory to encourage this peculiar and feckless practice within a small community of 10,000 residents.

I have expressed this viewpoint several times to Beth in recent years.

What I would really like to know are the authors of the complaints sent to Southborough Police about David Parry. I assume these complaints are written? Are they a matter of public record? What is the process for viewing these complaints? What, specifically, was so onerous, harmful, and earth-shaking about Mr. Parry’s behavior, that the Chairman of our Board of Selectman, in tandem with Southborough’s Town Administrator – took the unprecedented step of banning Mr Parry from meeting with Town employees and officials without an “appointment” ( ????)

Jesus H. Christ. These are employees whose chosen career is the public ***SERVICE***. So , work with Mr. Parry, just as a public service employee should competently work with any other Southborough resident.

For Mr. Kolenda and Mr. Purple to place Mr. Parry on a call-ahead basis to see Town employees and officials … folks, this is regular open interface with Town Government, not setting a reservation for a table at Smith & Wollensky or Mistral.

From my perspective, it seems that Mr. Parry has been illegally placed on Double Secret Probation by Dean Wormer and his patronage hacks.

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16 em December 11, 2017 at 7:30 PM

I’m not sure what you’re trying to say with your first paragraph. Clever language, yes, as always, but what is your point? That I would not be a good leader, administrator, business manager, elected official, or stand-up citizen?

Your second paragraph seems to either be labeling me or Beth as immature, irresponsible, and masturbatory. I would ask which, but I know you will not answer whatever question posed to you. You will deflect with flowery language. In any case, whether that is directed at me or Beth, you clearly are violating Rule #2 of commenting on the blog. And probably Rule #1.

As for my decision to omit my last name, well, I am well within the rules of the blog, per Rule #3. I could go into all the reasons why I have made this decision, but I do not see any reason to answer questions not asked of me when you have not answered questions that I did, in fact, ask.

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17 David Parry December 9, 2017 at 1:58 PM

Residents of Southborough …

Please read the town response carefully … I did not expect this. It is really quite remarkable. And deplorable.

The response lays out the way used by Kolenda to avoid the intent of the Open Meeting Law, together with all the rights and protections the OML provides.

What town bylaw does the response refer to ? Is it some kind of obscure security bylaw, which grants dictatorial powers to discipline individual citizens?

No. It is merely the bylaw which WE voted for at Town Meeting 3 years ago….specifying the duties of the Town Administrator. We did NOT hire a Town Manager with strong powers. We deliberately chose a weaker Town Administrator, in order to leave most control in the hands of the Board of Selectmen .

Read it …go to the official town web page “Southborough Town” , Town Code …. Article IX: “Town Administrator.”

The bylaw says NOTHING about the power to discipline individual residents.

This is an attempt to read into the bylaw dictatorial powers that are simply not there, nor were they ever intended.

I think the Advisory Committee should look into this matter, because they were a conspicuous part of writing and approving this bylaw. Are they happy with this “novel” interpretation by Town Counsel ?

Furthermore, and even more devious, this episode is an attempt to deliberately avoid the Open Meeting Law.

This idea comes from the Town Administrator himself, trying to claim more powers than he is legally entitled. But it was Kolenda who wrote the letter, claiming these powers (unwritten and non-existent) were granted to himself, as the boss of the Town Administrator.

It is really quite simple …. It is an illegal attempt by Kolenda and the Town Administrator to try to close down my legitimate political criticism … And do so by illegally avoiding the OML.

I sympathize with the awkward position of the other 4 Selectmen. First, they should have questioned and STOPPED the Kolenda/ Purple procedure. But then they COMPOUNDED that mistake, by participating in a “MEETING” (as legally defined in the Open Meeting Law) by reviewing and being asked for comments on a DRAFT of the Kolenda letter. That is a “deliberation”. They broke the OML by not posting the “meeting”… To which I was entitled to special notice , the right to face my accusers, and the right to my attorney at the required Executive Session. This is all spelled out in detail in the O M L.

So go ahead, … please read this bylaw referenced above. Then, maybe, you will then begin to understand how corrupt politics pervades our small town.

Why has this all come out, into the open ? Obviously, Kolenda was hoping that I would just take the “punishment” and remain silent. Hoping that I would not have the nerve or perseverance to discover what had happened. But I did discover the hidden trail , and followed it all the way , ending at the Attorney General’s office. The A G will decide what final actions are necessary .

BUT OUR OWN ADVISORY COMMITTEE, WHICH IS INDEPENDENT OF THE SELECTMEN, COULD ALSO LOOK INTO THIS . I HEREBY REQUEST THEY DO, PUBLICLY.

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18 Lucy December 9, 2017 at 4:34 PM

Atty Cipriano and Dan Kolenda either need to start serving the best interest of the town or should step down. There are too many questionable instances that Aldo supports, goes along with or simply is absent for. We need an attorney that looks at things from the best interest of the citizens and prides counsel as such. The good ol boy network needs to stop. They try to undermine policy, procedure and ethics to get what they personally want. Enough is enough walk away.

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19 Publius December 10, 2017 at 6:25 PM

The BOS are elected every few years. The residents can vote for anyone they choose. And town residents speak often at the polls. If a handful of residents are disgruntled and do not represent the consensus so be it democracy wins. But why would anyone volunteer to serve ?

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20 John December 19, 2017 at 5:03 PM

Wow! I’ve avoided writing on these blogs because of trolls like you.So if people disagree with the way elected officials go about their business they should leave. Your quite the anonymous character. I guess everyone that disagrees with Trump should just leave too. I don’t think it’s a handful it’s the people in the know unfortunately.

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21 beth December 20, 2017 at 8:06 AM

First, I think you accidentally replied to the wrong comment. Second, even the commenter you are replying to doesn’t seem to be a “troll”.

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22 Rob December 11, 2017 at 7:42 AM

I lived here for 6 years now and keep hearing how the ” good ole boy” network needs to go. But on election nights, not many show up to vote that way. This will not change, get used to it or move. Sorry but this appears to be the way it is.

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23 David Parry December 11, 2017 at 5:23 PM

Some residents (Ms Barron and Mr Brownell included) want to see the “9 complaints”. Quite understandable. So do I.

They ask because of the article dated Dec 6, which states: “ … Kolenda said police have received nine complaints against Parry in the past six months …. and Town Hall staff are unable to get their work done.”

Well, you know something extremely ironic – I want to see them as well, because I don’t have them either ! I have literally had to file a request for public documents, (freedom of information) to get them. I do not have them yet.

So this is the situation, of how I am being denied due process, which is so absurdly corrupt and unfair:
• I do not have the complaints themselves.
• It is my belief they a full of hot air.
• I don’t know who my accusers are and cannot face them.
• I have no right to attend a meeting at which punishment is proscribed.
• There was no meeting as required by the Open Meeting Law.
• Meanwhile accusations are made in a letter issued by Kolenda, Chair of the BOS, who has no authority to issue such a letter.
• The Town’s official response is a feeble excuse – that a 3 year old bylaw, which established a Town Administrator, granted him the authority to punish individual citizens — but that bylaw does not such thing, and was never intended to do so. (Besides, if it did actually provide such authority, then the letter should have come directly from the Town Administrator himself, and not from the Chair of the BOS).
• It is my belief that this procedure is being used to intentionally evade the OML, and silence me.
• Nevertheless, the full Board of Selectmen are in violation of the OML too, because they got entrapped into the Kolenda procedures. How come? Because they “deliberated” at a “meeting” as defined by the OML …. they were sent a DRAFT of Kolenda’s letter, for comment, which is defined as a having a “deliberation” at a “meeting”. But they never posted the meeting, etc.

( In an attempt to be fair, I would lay the blame for this corruption most heavily on Kolenda and the Town Administrator, and I would call the other members of the BOS “unwitting collaborators”, because they acted as camp followers — agreeing to proceed in this devious manner. For example: “If Kolenda and the Tn Adminstrator want to shut Parry up, by issuing an enforcement letter under the Administrator’s bylaw, which they claim is legal, then I ‘ll agree to go along – so long as Kolenda allows me to comment on the appropriate degree of punishment, and so long as they keep me out of it legally, somehow, so I don’t have to be involved in an official meeting”. — Well, they slipped up. They are (1) responsible for allowing this to proceed, and (2) they “deliberated”, and therefore (3) they broke the law.)

THE TIME LINE
Here’s yet another perverse twist … about the time line. Let’s get this timeline straight, because it is important.

Kolenda claims 9 complaints over 6 months. But the Kolenda letter provides only a 12 day window. This is because his letter states:

* I broke an agreement with the Police Chief to tone down my public criticism of Kolenda, and that (fictitious) agreement was made on August 4. (Ironically, that meeting was requested by me, to question the Police Chief about Police harassment of me one week earlier)
* I made a presentation on August 8, at a public meeting of the BOS, with several residents and business owners in attendance, all of whom spoke in support of my efforts. (That is recorded on YouTube video).
* Then, on August 21, I received the letter.

August 8 to August 21 is 12 days. So what Kolenda must produce, if his letter is accurate, are documents proving a security issue of some kind occurred between Aug 8 and Aug 21 — just 12 days — NOT 6 months . Over that 12 days, I do not recall any meetings at all, with any town employees, and I was out of town for much of that time.
Therefore Kolenda’s reference to the police logs, containing the hypothetical 9 complaints, are likely a smoke screen. ALL stuff and nonsense ( such as my car parked with the air conditioning on because it was a hot day and I had a 17 year old dog inside !)

In a LEGAL PRECEDURAL sense, the hypothetical complaints are irrelevant. What IS relevant is the CORRUPT PROCEDURE followed by Kolenda and Town Administrator, evading and breaking the OML. And, on top of that, mis-using our local bylaws. That is what this case is about — The mis-behavior of our town officials.

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24 Karen December 18, 2017 at 6:17 PM

Looking for clarification please. Recently Lucy wrote a comment complaining that the BOS did nothing after a ZBA member “retaliated” against a resident. What happened?

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25 beth December 19, 2017 at 8:37 AM

I believe you are referring to this comment.

And, I believe that Lucy was likely referring to an allegation made by John Gulbankian family during the BOS hearing on Leo Bartolini. You can read about that here.

I am not aware that the Board of Selectmen, the Zoning Board of Appeals, Bartolini, or Bartolini’s attorney ever directly addressed that accusation publicly.

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26 John December 19, 2017 at 4:52 PM

I would like clarification on this. I’ve heard that the BOS knows about this but has not addressed it? I don’t see how this can happen. It’s one thing to try to silence the public when they question you and another for this to happen. I would think it’s more than grounds for removal if true. Does anyone else have insight? Beth have you poked around the Police Department or downtown to see if this in fact happened?

This is disturbing coming from a small town government with an appointed official.

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27 beth December 20, 2017 at 7:59 AM

I’m not an investigative journalist. So, no, I haven’t “poked around”. I shared the information presented in the meeting at the time.

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28 John December 20, 2017 at 1:35 PM

Maybe somebody else has insight to it. It’s definitely something that is going to come up at the next BOS meeting. I’ve heard since yesterday that there was documentation by the police and at least one if not more of the BOS know about the incident. On top of it ConCom essentially prosecuted the citizen costing them thousands of dollars because a ZBA member decided to take it upon themselves to trespass on private property. This is a disgrace. I get that you are not an investigative reporter and respect that. This seems like a pretty disturbing story to say the least.

29 Mira Cantor December 29, 2017 at 10:02 PM

Few people have heard of this matter, raised by John in the comments above, about the ZBA. This may be the reason why no official action has been taken by our Selectmen. Therefore I feel it necessary to add what I have learned.

A year ago, in December 2016, a ZBA member faced removal by the Board of Selectmen, and testimony was given by many residents, the great majority of whom spoke almost unanimously in favor of removal. No decision was made at that hearing, which was continued to a later date. This matter is closely related to the Park Central project, located off Flagg Rd. Residents can watch the Youtube videos of the Board of Selectmen hearings of Dec 6, 2016, and April 2017.

Within a few weeks of the December 2016 hearing, a resident who had testified at that hearing to have the ZBA member removed, reported that he, and others, had seen the same ZBA member openly trespassing on his property, despite the fact that the property was posted for “no trespassing”. Within days, the ZBA member reported a minor filling of wetland on that property to the Conservation Commission. A few days later, the resident received an enforcement letter from Con Com, requesting him to appear at a Con Com meeting, to explain the fill. The resident went to Con Com, disputed the minor fill, but to settle the matter he was required to hire a wetlands consultant, which cost thousands of dollars. This matter was resolved through new surveys, and needless cost.

The resident then went to the Police and filed a trespassing charge against the ZBA member. The Police went to the ZBA member, who denied trespassing, despite the witnesses. But the Police also went to Con Com and asked who had filed the notice of “fill” in the wetland. Incredibly, the Con Com agent admitted they knew who it was, but they refused to identify the person to the Police, to protect his identity. However, another town official overheard the person when he was reporting the wetland fill to Con Com, and that town official told the Police the person was the ZBA member.

Therefore there are multiple witnesses, corroborating each other, despite the Con Com cover up. But no action was taken by the Police or by the Board of Selectmen.

Why has no action been taken? One reason could be because the Selectmen did not learn about the trespass until May 2017.

In April 2017, the Selectmen reconvened the hearing (recessed since December). They voted to KEEP the ZBA member in office, despite finding sufficient cause to remove him, based on the evidence presented in December. One reason given for keeping him was stated by Selectman Shea, who said he resented the fact that the opponents’ attorney had filed charges of conflict of interest against another Selectman, who resigned. This was actually stated by Selectman Shea, and you can listen to it on Youtube.

However, at the time of the April hearing, the Selectmen did NOT know about the trespass. It was not until May 2017, that the Selectmen were informed of the trespass, in detail. But they took no action, DESPITE THIS NEW EVIDENCE.

What does this say about our town?

There is now only one way to get this matter dealt with. We need to bring it into the open. I ask others to write all they know about this situation, and to comment on it. Because it is the code of silence that has enabled this sort of behavior to continue.

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30 John January 3, 2018 at 8:56 AM

Thank you Mira. I was unable to make the meeting last night due to a work engagement. I plan on emailing the Town Administrator and BOS Chairman using the information you have provided. I’m unaware if this was brought up last night. I don’t think we can continue to allow this behavior in this town and if our leaders do they should take a long look in the mirror and decide if they are the right person for the job.

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31 John January 3, 2018 at 9:06 AM

I would suggest anyone still reading this thread do the same.
Daniel Kolenda ; Mark Purple ; bshifrin@southboroughma.com; Bonnie Phaneuf ; Brian Shea ; lbraccio@southboroughma.com

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32 John Gulbankian January 3, 2018 at 9:38 PM

Since I was mentioned in the Comments section of “My Southborough” I want to make a few points for the sake of accuracy.

On December 6, 2016 I testified at the Board of Selectman public hearing and summarized the problems we, “The Gulbankian family” had encountered in our dealings with Mr. Lee Bartolini. This special hearing by Board of Selectmen, hearing statements from residents wanting Mr.Bartolini removed from ZBA. I was just one of many who testified. In the few minutes I had, I explained what we, “ The Gulbankian family” had experienced from the ZBA when requesting relief from unfounded complaints filed by neighbors. I explained how Lee Bartolini came onto our property and took photos, went through all of our buildings and greenhouses that, “He had the right to do so” even though he had no such permission or authority. During subsequent ZBA meetings Mr.Bartolini insisted on unrealistic costly unnecessary conditions which even caused neighbors of initial complaint to balk at what he wanted us to do.

Two weeks after the December 2016 hearing, we saw Mr. Bartolini driving down a clearly posted” No trespassing” driveway, trespassing over two pieces of private property arriving at our back yard, walking around . He did not ask our permission or contact us before his ‘inspection visit, nor did he have right to be there. He walked around back portion of our property to a steep bank which cannot be seen from Mt.Vickery Rd. where woodchips had been placed over bank to stabilize soil in proximity to intermittent stream.
On December 24, 2016 we received a letter of notice from the Southborough Conservation Commission about wood chips in our back yard in area next to wetland. That I was to appear at Con Com meeting in January 2017.

I contacted the police. Lt. Sean James came and filed a complaint against Mr. Bartolini trespassing on our property – again, I emphasize that he was there without permission.

Lt. Sean James returned later that day and told me that the Con Com secretary would not disclose who reported that we had placed wood chips in the back yard. However, Building Inspector said Mr. Bartolini had been complaining. Since building inspector overheard Mr.Bartolini’ s complaints as described to me by Lt. Sean James.

The Police report was sent to Mark Purple who I wanted to stamp / submit it as evidence and to make it a public record to BOS. I failed to get any written response despite my having e-mailed him multiple times and not getting any replies.

I went to the Town Hall and had Selectman Secretary stamp the Police Report and submitted it to BOS.

I called Selectman Shea in May of 2017 since he was chairman, he came over and was amazed at what Bartolini had done . I asked if he had known about it and said he would take care of it.

I followed up with Mr. Shea only to learn that nothing had been done about it.

Do the people know the facts? I live very close to a new development. I’m certain the Con Com members have driven by my property many times. I should like to ask “Why is it that Mr. Bartolini felt obliged to make them aware of the violation about wood chips in my back yard if it was so offensive and flagrant? Why did he do so only two weeks after I spoke at the meeting?

Hopefully, the recitation of the facts can allow one to draw one’s own conclusion.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m1gqEO0g6ss

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33 D. McGee January 4, 2018 at 9:15 AM

Thank you for sharing your experience with Bartolini. He is an absolute disgrace to this town, and the BOS should be embarrassed they didn’t remove him despite the overwhelming testimony, evidence, conflicts and concerns about the manner in which he conducted business as ZBA Chair. At ZBA meetings he has been arrogant, condescending to residents and frequently wrong on his knowledge of the zoning laws.

Your story is chilling…a ZBA member trying to intimidate and retaliate against a resident who spoke out against him. It is entirely unacceptable that the BOS had this information yet took no action. What will it take to get this guy off the ZBA and restore some credibility to the committee and BOS?

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34 Karen January 5, 2018 at 9:28 AM

This is an outrageous sequence of events illustrating flagrant abuse of power. It appears that in both cases (Parry & Gulbankian) one rogue individual acted unilaterally and then pulled others into the incident only when it served them. These are costly mishaps. As a citizen of Southborough, I’m sorry this happened to you John.

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35 David Parry January 4, 2018 at 10:36 PM

“Chilling” is certainly the word, as D.McGee writes.

Good for you, the Gulbankian family , for standing up, bravely, for your rights. That takes courage.

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36 Jack Barron January 5, 2018 at 7:13 PM

Sad to see conservation commission is going to be used by town officials as a sledge hammer./ Now I understand why they (the elected officials and their hacks) don’t want SVtrustees to be the sole holder of the CR for the golf course. They plan to use their new sledge hammer(the conservation commission) to close the golf course and try to develop the closed golf course. Very disturbing when clearly the people of this town voted to keep the golf course as open and protected land. We will need to name it as “Parkland” to help protect that space for future generations.

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