Monday, December 1, 2014

Open Meeting Law and withholding Public Records

 The following is a letter posted on FramGov on November 30, 2014 by Town Meeting Member, Jeff Cox.

Greetings Framingham:

I am not a lawyer, but I am interested if the Framingham Board of Selectman may have violated the Open Meeting Law.

      --I have reviewed the minutes of the Board of Selectman meetings  ( and noticed that none of the Executive Session minutes have never been posted. I reviewed that the recent controversy in Wayland over publishing of all meeting minutes, as redacted, and noticed that they needed to be published. Is it every appropriate to publish executive sessions? When?

     --I cannot find the meeting that the Board of Selectman approved the proposal of the potential selling of Town Hall published. Where is the motion or resolution?

     --Were the conversation regarding potential selling of town property referred to any town committee or Board of Selectman committee? If not referred, were there private emails or conversations about the potential selling of this property that may be in violation of the Open Meeting Law? How can the potential selling of the Town Hall and other significant meetings be approved without substantial public conversation? If the Open Meeting were potentially violated, would the approved vote be invalid?

     This has been bothering me for sometime. How can the leadership of Framingham be better transparent over the potential selling of the historical heart of Framingham, Framingham Town Hall? There has been no public conversation led by the Board of Selectman about what our future might look like if Town Hall and other buildings are sold to MassBay Community College. If we are willing to put these buildings up for sale for MassBay Community College, would we sell them to someone else? I have been told that there are millions of dollars of deferred maintenance. What needs to be repaired? Should we raise tax levy sufficiently to repair our public buildings? Are we letting our public buildings decay so we have no better deal than sell them? Would we have a newly constructed buildings somewhere else? Would the School Department be in a combined building? Is the Board of Selectman been hesitant to approve a new School Department lease because of the desire to have a combined municipal complex.

      ? What part of Framingham would Town Government be located? If MassBay Community College decided to take public buildings, how much time would Framingham Town Meeting have to look at this issue? Would decisions be rushed to complete a sale? Can the Commonwealth of Massachusetts simply take municipal buildings by eminent domain leaving Town Meeting out of any decisions?

     I look forward reading answers from leadership of the Board of Selectman to some of these questions in this forum.

For more information about the Open Meeting Law, please go to: