July 05, 2010
Local officials are raising concerns about an updated version of the state's Open Meeting Law.
"Clerks in general are not happy with this," said Sturbridge Town Clerk Lorraine Murawski of the new law that went into effect Thursday, July 1.
Under the new rules, which govern how and when public meetings are posted, towns are now required to meet many more obligations, which some area clerks have said could be costly and cumbersome. For example, installing a computer monitor in Dudley Municipal Complex would cost money the town does not have, according to Town Clerk Ora Finn.
Among the most significant changes is that towns are now required to make meeting postings accessible to public around the clock, according to a Jan. 20 memo from Kopelman and Paige, a legal firm representing many area communities.
Agendas must be included with postings as well.
Another crucial change — the state's Attorney General has taken over enforcement and oversight from the county district attorney's offices.
The new law also eliminates Saturdays from counting toward the requirement of posting a meeting at least 48 hours in advance.
Despite lawmakers wanting to bring more transparency to government, some area clerks are worried about finding the least costly method of achieving that goal.
See Tuesday's Southbridge Evening News for complete coverage of community news.