Thursday, September 30, 2004

Regional school committee violated open meeting law

When the Groton Dunstable Regional School Committee went into executive session to choose names for its new middle schools, it violated the Massachusetts Open Meeting Law, the Boston Globe reports in an article by correspondent Susan Ware. Concerned that debate about naming a school after environmental activist Marion Stoddart might prove embarrassing to Stoddart, the School Committee decided to discuss the matter in a closed session. But the Open Meeting Law, Ware writes:
"clearly defines topics that can be discussed in executive sessions, such as official misconduct, contract negotiations, and land purchases. The naming of public buildings does not fall within the guidelines. When the committee checked with District Attorney Martha Coakley's office, it was informed of the error, according to School Committee chairman Alan Vervaeke."
Vervaeke, the Globe reported, said the district attorney's office told him there would be no penalties for the error.

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