If you read the Open Meeting Law it states pretty clearly a couple of things.
1) How specific must the listing of topics be in the meeting notice?
The listing of topics must contain enough specificity to give the public an understanding of each topic that will be discussed. It is not sufficient to list broad topic categories, such as “Old Business.”
and yet we have seen the Mayor deliberately post a sub-committee meeting with a very vague topic so he could grandstand and make political hay at the expense of the former Manager and Treasurer while trying to protect his Manager (aka Big Brother).
1. Finance SC August 19, 2014
RE: Discussion of FY 14 and FY 15 City Budget.
That was a WIDE OPEN topic that wasn’t even close to covering the requirement / spirit of the Law and Councilor Bill Martin called him on it at the next City Council Meeting.
2) If a subcommittee of a public body holds a meeting and members of the public body, who are not members of the subcommittee, wish to attend the meeting, must the public body post a meeting notice? (Bold Mine)
No, as long as the public body does not engage in a deliberation. Members of a public body may wish to attend a meeting of a subcommittee of that public body, even where those members are not part of the subcommittee. In those cases, they may sit in the audience and participate as members of the public. They may address the public body with the permission of the chair, and may state their opinion on matters under consideration by the subcommittee. They may not discuss matters as a quorum, or discuss topics which are not under consideration by the subcommittee.
Yet watch many sub-committee meetings such as this one from November 4th and you will see 6 of 9 Councilors inside the Council Chamber Gate with 4 sitting at the desk and 2 at their normal seats. Councilors never sit with “the public” if they attend a sub-committee meeting. To hell with being in violation they don’t follow no stinking rules.
Let’s not forget we have One Councilor whose son received a promotion and another who owns a bar but voted for License Commissioners who oversee his livelihood and a Mayor who wasted so much time on Surveillance because he had a personal vendetta most of the public was unaware of. To Hell with Conflict of Interest or Open Meeting Laws is the message this Council apparently wants to convey.
YES I admit these may be nothing but petty points but isn’t that what we have heard from this Council since January? Petty points about skateboards , bikes on sidewalks, Fire pits,parking, panhandling, jaywalking and Fireworks? While businesses have left the City and shootings and armed robberies are up!
My point is if the members of this City Council disregard the small rules why should they expect the citizens of Lowell not to follow their lead and ignore them? Why keep wasting time on these little rules you want the public to follow if you are ignoring rules that apply to you?
or to put it in simple terms
PRACTICES WHAT YOU PREACH!