Wednesday, July 07, 2010

Weymouth Housing Authority Head Picked in Secret

When a government board makes a hiring decision, it is supposed to do it in public, as required by the state's open meeting law. The law permits a board some leeway to act privately when first screening potential candidates. But by the time the board gets to consideration of the finalists, the public has a right to sit in on that process.

Apparently, this is news to the Weymouth Housing Authority. The Patriot Ledger reports that the authority's board of commissioners made its selection of a new executive director without ever discussing the selection in a public meeting. The board went straight from conducting interviews with finalists to making a final job offer, without ever meeting in public to discuss who it would select from among the candidates and why. This is a clear violation of the law.

When local citizens protested the closed-door meeting at which the board made the job offer, the board threatened to have them forcibly removed. A Patriot Ledger reporter caught the event on videotape:

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