ZBA posts 2014 minutes at AG’s order (Updated)

On August 29th, the Zoning Board of Appeals approved minutes dating back to 2014. The minutes include two meetings that weren’t captured on video by Southborough Access Media.

The approval of minutes from four years ago was based on an order from the Attorney General’s office. Town Counsel Aldo Cipriano told the board the August 1st letter instructed htem to:

create a clear and discernible record of minutes for the Zoning Board of Appeals consideration

Aldo told the board:

the overall issue is timely preparation and approval of minutes of meetings. . . handwritten notes or draft minutes must be timely converted to final draft for the board’s consideration for filing and posting for the public’s information. Minutes, even in draft form, must be of sufficient detail for the public at large to have a precise understanding as to what occurred at a particular meeting. Timely, and timely manner under state law, means within the next three public body meetings or within 30 days, whichever is later, unless good cause is shown for delay.

Counsel took a moment to state that no one in the room was responsible for the delay. He called it an “unintended administerial shortcoming” that happened during staff turnover. 

Cipriano said that “in some cases there were no minutes and they had to be somehow created”. (No mention was made of which meetings those were.)

The only member from the ZBA during that time who is still serving is Paul Drepanos.

The current administrative assistant worked to create the minutes, which were reviewed and verified by Drepanos before the board voted to approve them. (In some cases he didn’t participate but was present.)

Cipriano said that he believed that current staff and improved procedure would prevent a recurrence of lapsed minutes.

Of special interest to those who have been digging back through past ZBA meetings will be the minutes from the February 26th and July 15th meetings. (Neither are available to view as videos.)

While both of those minutes include references to Park Central, they were  apparently only extension requests. The minutes also cover business  related to 26 Lovers Lane, Ken’s foods, and Woodland Meadows.

Updated (9/12/18 5:33 pm):  A typo had Woodland Meadows as Woodward Meadows.

Updated (9/14/18 8:02 am):  Click here for the agendas for the 2/26/14 and 7/15/14 meetings. 

Updated (9/14/18 8:08 am):  I also asked for the 3/26/14 agenda, because I was curious what application deadline was posted for the project at that time. It simply stated that the project application was filed on 2/12/14 and the Comprehensive Permit Filing deadline was 8/11/14. You can see that here.

15 Comments
Oldest
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Concerned Voter
3 years ago

How is any of this legal?

Were Board members advised to “approve” minutes for meetings that they never attended?? And then they actually take the legal step to “approve?” How is this even possible? This does not make any sense.

Shouldn’t those who were not present (that was just about everyone on the Board!) have “abstained?” If they were not present and cannot verify something legally that they did not participate in, how on earth does it make any legal sense whatsoever for these individuals to put themselves at risk by “approving” those long past minutes?

Lucy
3 years ago

The extensions never happened. ‘‘Tis is a fabrication and Aldo should be shown the door. This was deliberate and again shows how this board and Atty were working for a feveloper. Sad that he can get up there and say this w a straight face. Somebody needs to fire him now!

Lucy
3 years ago
Reply to  Beth Melo

There was an extension for the entire project missed by the developer. They back dated information and didn’t record the minutes after realizing the mistake.

arborist
3 years ago

This situation is just like putting the cart before the horse, sounds like something is very fishy to me, I wouldn’t have signed those minutes. If I wasn’t at the meetings or board member at that time.

Concerned Voter
3 years ago
Reply to  arborist

Arborist, I agree. Furthermore, were those same board members advised that they could “abstain,” i.e. that abstaining was an option??

Have never heard or seen anything like this ever in terms of service on any board. On any town boards, if members were not present, have only seen them “abstain.”

Why weren’t they advised that abstaining was an option?

Lucy
3 years ago

Because our town counsel is inadequate and should be replaced

Concerned Voter
3 years ago

A public town meeting held in the BUILDING INSPECTOR’S OFFICE??? Untaped???
Where is the AGENDA for that meeting? Why isn’t it posted?

Louise Barron
3 years ago
Reply to  Beth Melo

This is important. All ZBA meetings must be taped.

“SAM doesn’t (and can’t) tape everything.” Really? Unacceptable.

For the sake of transparency, we can hire another person from SAM (we are paying them enough!), or another company, or anyone with their phone(!!) can record a meeting (per state law) for goodness sake, which is perfectly ok. As a practice, any given board or committee can use an IPhone and post to SAM or YouTube. Zero cost. No excuses.

The goal is complete transparency and compliance with state law. The public MUST be included. How many people from the public went (and felt welcomed) at the Building Inspector’s office?

Concerned Voter
3 years ago

With all due respect, would not defend that conduct. If the website was relaunched in 2015, the town has had THREE YEARS (?!!) to post.

Also, it is not true that agendas are not posted and more importantly, that’s no excuse — BOS has their agendas posted from 2009.

https://www.southboroughtown.com/minutes-and-agendas

The point is this: that is PUBLIC town business. Who from the PUBLIC attended that meeting? Who was present? Who actually witnessed the contents of that meeting?

Concerned Voter
3 years ago
Reply to  Beth Melo

It’s this simple: It is AGAINST THE LAW to not keep minutes and approve them in a timely manner — and make them available to the public.

The importance of Agendas (equally as important as minutes) is TO ALERT THE PUBLIC AS TO THE TOPICS TO BE DISCUSSED IN ADVANCE of any meeting. It is AGAINST THE LAW to not post Agendas to the public 48 hours in advance of a meeting.

Who from the PUBLIC attended that July 2014 meeting held in the Building Engineer’s office? Who was the Building Engineer at that time? Was he in attendance in his office? Or his assistant? Can you re-post the Agenda for that meeting? How could Minutes be constructed of that meeting if the meeting was not taped? Can you re-post the Agenda for that meeting? On the July 15, 2014 minutes, under the box “Town Officials and Others,” the box is left blank. However someone had some source material kept by someone to concoct these minutes. Who was that person? Should their name be listed in the box as attending the meeting?

  • © 2022 MySouthborough.com — All rights reserved.