Not 1st time Administration / School Committee skirted with Open Meeting Law Violation!

Thanks to another interested and active parent who sent me the following, I was reminded that this School Administration, Mayor and School Committee have already been “reminded” of the Open meeting Law requirements by the Mass Atty. General’s Office.

Aug 15 2016 from AG

While not raised in the initial complaint, we take this opportunity to remind the Committee of its obligations for posting meeting notices. We note that the Committee failed to post on the notice for its May 4 meeting a topic related to discussion of this Open Meeting Law complaint. The Open Meeting Law requires that public bodies post notice of each meeting “at least 48 hours prior to such meeting, excluding Saturdays, Sundays and legal holidays” and that every notice must include “the date, time and place of such meeting and listings of topics that the chair reasonably anticipates will be discussed at the meeting.” G.L. c. 30A, § 20(b). Public bodies must list topics for discussion with “sufficient specificity to reasonably advise the public of the issues to be discussed at the meeting.”

940 CMR 29.03(1 )(b). Here, the members of the Committee anticipated discussing the Open Meeting Law complaint at its May 4 meeting, and thus the discussion should have been included on the agenda. See OML 2016-

I’m calling for the “Special Meeting” schedule for tomorrow night to give the Superintendent a contract to be rescheduled and posted correctly under the requirements of the Open Meeting Law.

The Posting of the Special meeting was at best NOT posted in the 48 required hours on the City of Lowell Website under Agenda’s or under the Packet information on the School Committee page in violation of the Open Meeting law. At Worst it was “purposely hidden” when posted on the School dept. website.

Since they were given a ‘reminder” once already they may not want to take the chance of being fined.

When is a violation of the law considered “intentional”?

Upon finding a violation of the Open Meeting Law, the Attorney General may impose a civil penalty upon a public body of not more than $1,000 for each intentional violation. G.L. c. 30A, § 23(c)(4). An “intentional violation” is an act or omission by a public body or public body member in knowing violation of the Open Meeting Law. G.L. c. 30A, § 18. In determining whether a violation was intentional, the Attorney General will consider, among other things, whether the public body or public body member 1) acted with specific intent to violate the law; 2) acted with deliberate ignorance of the law’s requirements; or 3) had been previously informed by a court decision or advised by the Attorney General that the conduct at issue violated the Open Meeting Law. 940 CMR 29.02. If a public body or public body member made a good faith attempt at compliance with the law but was reasonably mistaken about its requirements or, after full disclosure, acted in good faith compliance with the advice of counsel, its conduct will not be considered an intentional violation of the Law. G.L. c. 30A, § 23(g); 940 CMR 29.02.

It was NOT Posted last Night at 7:32

It was Posted this Morning which is under the required 48 Hours

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