BOS Chair disputes AG citation for Open Meeting Law violation

Southborough Wicked Local reports that the Board of Selectmen were cited this month for an Open Meeting Law violation last spring.

The charge is of improper deliberation outside of an open meeting.

The ruling purports that Chair John Rooney violated the law by deliberating through individual conversations with then-Selectman Bill Boland and then-Chair Dan Kolenda. Rooney has disputed the finding as inaccurate.

The ruling comes eight months after another finding against the board. Selectman have now been ordered to review the AG’s Open Meeting Law Training video by December 4th. Meanwhile 4/5 of the board attended a special training session on the subject less than a month ago. (Kolenda was absent.*)

In a July complaint, Meme Lutrell accused the Board of a violation based on comments made by Rooney at a Zoning Board of Appeals meeting in April. Last week, SWL wrote:

Luttrell in subsequent correspondence with the office said video of the meeting showed Rooney told the ZBA that he “spoke as individuals to Mr. [Bill] Boland and as individuals to Mr. [Dan] Kolenda and they too are in support as individuals to this use variance [for the Burnett House].” .  .

The town denied the allegation in a May 21 response to Luttrell penned by Norwood attorney Timothy D. Norris. Norris wrote that Rooney and the other members did not make any decisions, but that the chairman instead called them to “confirm his memory” about a decision they already made to support the variance during a Feb. 3 executive session on the matter.

After receiving the town’s response, Luttrell asked the attorney general to investigate the matter further, asking why Rooney wouldn’t have relied on the executive session minutes themselves to “refresh his memory.”

SWL reached out to Rooney who:

raised questions about the facts found by the attorney general and said that he did not believe he did anything wrong. He said he intends to talk to the board about whether an appeal could be warranted.

For the full SWL story, click here. To read the ruling issued by the AG’s office, click here.

*In her political blog, Eyes on Southborough, Desiree Aselbekian wrote about participation at the October presentation held by the Attorney General’s Office on the Open Meeting Law. According to her post, Kolenda was the only selectman not in attendance.

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