Robert Van Campen, City Solicitor City of Melrose City Hall, 562 Main Street Melrose, MA 02176
March 6, 2017
RE: Open Meeting Law Complaint
Dear Attorney Van Campen:
This office received a complaint from Gerry Mroz, dated December 1, 2016, alleging that the Melrose School Committee (the "Committee") violated the Open Meeting Law, G.L. c. 30A, §§ 18-25.....Following our review, we find that the working group and its subcommittees are public bodies subject to the Open Meeting Law. Accordingly, we find that they violated the Open Meeting Law by failing to comply with the law's requirements. In reaching a determination, we reviewed the original complaint, the Committee's response, and the request for further review filed with our office. We also reviewed the minutes of Committee meetings held on December 8, 2015 and August 23, 2016. Finally, we reviewed a supplementary e-mail from the Melrose City Solicitor dated March 1, 2017.'
...The Committee unanimously voted to create the Task Force, called Competency Based Education Task Force (the "Task Force"), charged with presenting a report to the Committee by June 2016. Following this meeting, the Superintendent sought individuals to participate. The Task Force consisted of 20 individuals, including school district staff, parents, and community stakeholders. The Task Force held meetings on February 8, March 21, April 11, and June 25, 2016. The Task Force did not post notice for these meetings and did not keep minutes. The Task Force also created subcommittees with defined tasks; these subcommittees also did not post notice of meetings and also did not keep minutes. During a Committee meeting held on August 23, 2016, certain Task Force members updated the Committee on the group's progress. To date, the Task Force has not presented a final report to the Committee.
For the reasons stated above, we find that the Task Force is a public body subject to the Open Meeting Law, and thus violated the Law by failing to comply with its requirements. We order immediate and future compliance with the law's requirements, and we caution that similar future violations could be considered evidence of intent to violate the law. While the present complaint concerned only the failure to post notice of its meetings, we order the Task Force and its subcommittees to create minutes for all previous meetings to the best of their ability, through whatever means are available, including the memories and individual notations of the attendees. Compliance with this order should occur within sixty (60) days of receipt of this letter. ...
And once again, the incompetent legal counsel, hack for the dishonorable mayor, for the city has failed and cost the city in a number of significant ways. He needs to be reported to the Board of Bar Overseers and fired from the city for all of his costly failures, including the several OCR cases, MCAD, etc.
Clean the swamp and get the hell out of Melrose nothing good happens here.
"The Task Force consisted of 20 individuals, including school district staff, parents, and community stakeholders." Who is on the task force?
The only ones ever "chosen" for the task forces, focus groups, and all the other members of the Administration/School Committee/Dolan Echo Chamber are those who go with the Party Line, rarely anyone with a differing, let alone controversial view. The processes are closed (even when the laws prohibit this) and just a charade to cover for the Preexisting Decisions that were made behind Closed Doors and heavily manipulated Pretend Meetings. Literally this administration/School Committee has been found in violation by the state on MULTIPLE occasions for having actual LOCKED DOORS, which are more than symbolic when it comes to this filthy bunch. This continues to cost hugely in more than just the cash to pay the incompetent lawyers defending their own indefensible actions. Good potential employees, particularly educators, refuse even to apply here now if they value their professional reputations, leaving only the bottom-rung types coming in replacing more and more of the qualified staff. But in Melrose that's just peachy because the only ones who pretend to care (other than handful that actually do) are the same simpering sycophants who are on the INSIDE cheering on those wonderful-wonderful (always effusively wonderful) decisions. It's sickening and disgusting, and It Is Melrose.
Until there is a Clean Sweep of the School Committee, most of the Board of Aldermen, and a new mayor of integrity, there really is no hope for anything in this equation to change. And that won't happen until Melrose citizens demonstrate more actual caring than they have for a long time, wake up, step up to run, and stand behind the decent candidates, and hold all processes fully accountable. If Melrose voters lose the elected officials of integrity like they did with CKK after six years of hard work fighting the idiots on behalf of everyone else's children, then they have only themselves to blame. If Melrose voters continue to diss the decent & smart candidates--like they did in the last election with LaRock or the one before that Mroz--in favor of the idiotic gushing sycophants, then really this is the government Melrose deserves in all its shame and silliness, in which case there is no legitimacy for complaining afterwards.
Melrose really has no basis for complaining about water bills that for too many are in the range of mortgage payments because citizens have sat back and let the idiotic BOA and mayor ram these rates down our throats and then stash away millions in Enterprise Funds and so-called "Free Cash," only to have bursts of money suddenly appear when the mayor needs to buy some more votes for his hack schemes and can't afford to deny the Birth-to-Fivers of their boutique ECC and playgrounds or programs. For decades taxpayers here will be paying for ill-conceived building projects that will have to be redone long before the bills for their construction are paid off, but that's okay because the idiots have already forgotten what the bonds were for in the first place and are only looking forward to the next disgusting ribbon-cuttings. All that shoddy work and mysteriously unaccountable expense gets forgotten, just like the raw sewage running down the outside walls of the "state of the art" middle school or the "historic" and "incredible" Science rooms of MHS where they "forgot" to put legally required drains in the floors or the "performing arts center" with no backstage, dressing rooms, or even electrical outlets for control boards where any vaguely competent team would have insisted on as basic components.
Look at the makeup of any of the current appointed committees or task forces and you will find only the Go Along to Get Along types, most of whom, by the by, are consistent Campaign Donors to the Predictable Offenders, making up the Machine that rolls over the apathetic (to the point of being comatose) Melrose citizens every single day. Elsewhere there are Walks and Rallies and noisy meetings of citizens hashing out the issues in a real way. Here there is the Iron Curtain of Apathy and Loud Constant Gushing during the charade so-called processes with the majority content to let the politicians and Chamber define their lives. The realtor-run Niche sites tell Melrosians that It's All Good, and that's what they choose to believe, even when their water rates and children's miserable schools tell them very boldly otherwise.
Many homes up for sale in the city of Melrose! It is not what you think once you live here. The schools are so bad and CT keeps hiring without interviews. The disrespected of the staff to one another is going to another level.
It is incomprehensible that this community continues to allow the abuse of power and degradation of its school system. The school administration has never been held accountable .
AG Healey Proposes Updates to Open Meeting Law Regulations
Revised Regulations Aim to Make Law Easier to Follow and Enforce
BOSTON – Attorney General Maura Healey announced today that her office has proposed updates to the Open Meeting Law (OML) regulations to increase transparency and make the law easier to follow and enforce.
Earlier this year, the AG’s Office sought initial input from the public on potential updates to the OML regulations. The AG’s Division of Open Government – which is responsible for educating public bodies and individuals about the OML, enforcing the OML, and acting as a readily accessible resource for members of government, the public, and the press – then conducted a review of the comments and drafted proposed updates. These proposed regulations are open for public comment until August 3 and will be finalized by the AG’s Office after a public hearing and close of the comment period.
Some of the AG’s proposed updates to the OML regulations include:
Meeting Notices: Requires that when a website goes down, a public body or a municipality will have four hours during a business day to resolve website access before public bodies are required to cancel their meetings and post new notices.
Public Body Member Certification: Requires that new public body members receive a copy of each determination from the last three years where the AG’s Office found the public body violated the OML.
Resolution of Complaints: Requires public bodies that receive an order from the AG’s Office to certify in writing its compliance with the order within 30 days.
Meeting Minutes: The OML currently requires that public bodies approve meeting minutes in a “timely manner.” This update defines “timely manner” as within the next three regular meetings, unless a public body has good cause for its delay.
The public is invited to comment on the proposed regulations at a public hearing scheduled from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. on Thursday, Aug. 3 in Conference Rooms C and D on the 2nd Floor of 100 Cambridge Street in Boston.
The public is also encouraged to submit written comments on the proposed regulations. To submit comments electronically, members of the public can email AGORegulations@State.MA.US or via mail to Division of Open Government, Office of the Attorney General, One Ashburton Place, 20th Floor, Boston, MA 02108. Comments are due by 5 p.m. on Aug. 3, 2017.
The proposed regulations have been posted on the Attorney General’s website links to PDF file. The proposed regulations may also be requested by calling the Attorney General’s Division of Open Government at 617-963-2540.
This School Committee (and BOA and HRC and Denise Gaffey and most of the Melrose boards) has/have been found in violation of the laws so many times it would be quite the packet of determinations for new members to have to read if these new regulations are approved by the state AG's office. Good. These creeps have gotten away with openly flaunting the laws over and over again, and at some point they should all be taken down.
So fake in Melrose the city will not change unless they stand up.