Lynnfield had a long-standing tradition of open public participation at Board of Selectmen’s [BOS] meetings until the spring of 2013. The Agenda item “…address any and all other business to come before the Board…” was used as the vehicle for public input to the BOS. In May of 2013, the current Chairman of the BOS permanently removed that Agenda item in the belief that, per the Attorney General, such “…ambiguous language was impermissible…” Currently, since citizens can only speak on posted Agenda items, this action effectively prevents Lynnfield citizens from presenting uncensored items/issues they feel are important to the community before the Selectmen.
The Attorney General’s office, while discouraging ambiguity, does not take a stand on public participation at meetings. It does, however, in its FAQ page [http://www.mass.gov/ago/government-resources/open-meeting-law/oml-faqs/oml-faq-meeting-notices.html], indicate that many Towns use the Agenda item “New Business” to permit citizens to openly speak to their Town Boards and Committees and suggests subsequent proper notice procedures. Notwithstanding that, the current BOS Chairman has further declined to include “New Business” as an Agenda item for future meetings.
Most, if not all, other Lynnfield Boards and Committees currently permit and embrace open forum public participation at their meetings. Shouldn’t the BOS, representing the general interest of all the citizens of Lynnfield, do the same?
Please let our Selectmen know your thoughts via posting on this blog, by email in care of the Town Administrator at firstname.lastname@example.org, by mail to the Town Hall, 55 Summer Street, or by telephone: 781 334-9410. The Selectmen can be reached directly at:
Chairman Phil Crawford <email@example.com>,
Selectman David Nelson firstname.lastname@example.org
Selectman Tom Terranova<email@example.com>
“If not now, when? If not you, who?” – Hillel