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Charlton selectmen in violation again

DA cites board for review process

December 11, 2009


For the second consecutive year, selectmen have violated the Open Meeting Law in evaluating Town Administrator Robin L. Craver.

"That borders ridiculous. It blows my mind. I don't get it," said Selectman Peter J. Boria of the violation, which stems from the one-on-one meetings each selectmen had with Craver prior to finishing the evaluation.

No penalties have been levied because the reviews were incorporated into meetings minutes, which make them public record.

Overall, this is the board's third Open Meeting Law violation in the past two years, including one as the result of a complaint from Stonebridge Press Newspapers.

The District Attorney's office rendered its latest opinion in response to a complaint filed the by the Worcester Telegram & Gazette.

" The one-on-one meetings by [selectmen with Craver] were a deliberate circumvention of the Open meeting Law by avoiding the presence of a quorum to discuss professional competence privately," Assistant District Attorney Patricia C. Smith wrote in a Dec. 8 letter to the board. "[Selectmen] violated the Open Meeting Law by conducting a significant portion of [Craver's] evaluation by a series of individual public meetings that excluded the public."

Specifically addressing the private meetings, Smith wrote: "It is quite obvious that these individual meetings were specifically devised as a private discussion of professional competence in the absence of a quorum."

Editor's Note: See the complete story in the Southbridge Evening News Monday, Dec. 14.

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