On September 27, 2018, we wrote that the County Commissioners are “abusing their authority and blatantly violating the open meeting law, making decisions that affect every resident of the County, behind closed doors, invoking “executive session” then refusing to produce the minutes of those executive sessions.” We have continued our investigation of the County Commissioners’ activities revealing an even more troubling picture.
In August and September 2018, we invoked the state’s public records law to try to get public documents from the County Commissioners that they are required to provide to the public on request. These documents are records of their meetings and decisions. The County stonewalled and refused to provide the documents we asked for. We appealed their refusal to the Massachusetts Secretary of State who handles these appeals. Read our appeal here. Appeal of Public Records Violation
About the same time we also filed an extensive appeal to the Massachusetts Attorney General’s office under the Open Meeting Law. Part of this appeal involves the County’s refusal to produce public records and their blatant, repeated, intentional abuse of the state’s Open Meeting Law. These violations are described in detail in our appeal to the Attorney General. Read that here: Open Meeting Law Violations Letter (Let us know if you would like copies of the back-up documentation to the letter).
On October 31, 2018, the Supervisor of Public records, seeing our appeal to the Attorney General, closed our public records appeal pending the Attorney General’s review. State’s Response on Public Records Violations
We continue to have grave concerns about the County’s lack of transparency, blatant distain for the public’s right to know about what goes on in their so-called “executive sessions” — most of which are entirely illegal.
The County makes important decisions about the public’s property, collects “fees” from its member municipalities, and runs county government. The County Commissioners, the County Advisory Board and all the employees work for the taxpayers and residents of the County. By law, they are accountable to the public. Yet, they operate like a fiefdom, behind closed doors, violating even the most basic rules of open meetings and public records.
We will continue to fight to make the County accountable. Not only for the destruction of the publicly owned County Woodlot but for their blatant abuses of power exercised behind closed doors out of the public’s views.
Stay tuned: we are a determined group of residents who care about the County Wood Lot and everything the County does that impacts our local communities.