Profound moment when one Hingham Selectman files an Open Meeting Law Violation against own BOS

.Justice Louis D. Brandeis once famously said ,

“Publicity is justly commended as a remedy for social and industrial diseases. Sunlight is said to be the best of disinfectants; electric light the most efficient policeman.”

Justice Brandeis could have been speaking of  the purpose of The Open Meeting Law of Massachusetts:

The Open Meeting Law supports the principle that the democratic process depends on the public having knowledge about the considerations underlying governmental action. The Open Meeting Law therefore requires that most meetings of public bodies be held in public.

Plus this, as one digs deeper into the definition:

The purpose of the Open Meeting Law is to ensure transparency in the deliberations on which public policy is based. Because the democratic process depends on the public having knowledge about the considerations underlying governmental action, the Open Meeting Law requires, with some exceptions, that meetings of public bodies be open to the public. It also seeks to balance the public’s interest in witnessing the deliberations of public officials with the government’s need to manage its operations efficiently.

Back to the full quote from Justice Brandeis which seems to not only advocate Open Meetings for governmental bodies and agencies, but ALSO that

“Publicity is justly commended as a remedy for social and industrial diseases. Sunlight is said to be the best of disinfectants; electric light the most efficient policeman.”

That’s where citizen bloggers come in. And journalists. And cartoonists, all forms of media to keep track of what is being done in our name by government.

So it is pretty damn significant when a Hingham Selectman, Paul Healey,files an Open Meeting Violation against the very Board of Selectmen that he sits on.

That bit of news was shared publicly last evening at the January 8th,2015 Hingham Board of Selectmen Meeting.

I have mentioned before on this blog, that, in my opinion,there are an extreme numbers of Executive Sessions this current Hingham BOS votes to go into. Clearly, the Open Meeting Law allows for that occurrence.

However,something that occurred in one of those Executive Sessions bothered Selectman Paul Healey so much that he took the extraordinary step of filing an Open Meeting Law violation against the Board he sits on.

On the Agenda for last night’s meeting there was an item concerning the possibility of ‘rescinding’ a vote. Turns out, the rescinding of the vote is from an Executive Session.

We find out through the benefits of HCAM( did you look at the temperature gage last night? it was COLD out – so we got to sit at home and watch HCAM, and it appears from the lack of citizens present in the room, that maybe quite a few sat at home and watched as well), that not only has he filed an Open Meeting Law Violation, he has called numerous times for the Minutes of the Executive Sessions be made public. I heard no second from the other 2 Selectmen when he mentioned that.

I heard what amounts to defensiveness on the part of the other 2 Selectmen, Chair Irma Lauter and the newest member to the Board, Paul Gannon.

I saw a lot of tap dancing around a subject only alluded to – what that vote that needed to be rescinded really signified.

What goes on behind the closed door of the Executive Session in our name as citizens~ I’m sure it is something that Justice Louis D. Brandeis would want sunlight shining on as well as publicity as a remedy for social and industrial diseases. As a citizen blogger – I will add as well, the publicity to shine on a governmental Board that seems to like the addiction of Executive Board secrecy.

Because I have faith in the ability of an informed electorate to understand what is being done in their name, here is the video from HCAM: it begins at the 16 mintute 10 second mark.

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One Response to Profound moment when one Hingham Selectman files an Open Meeting Law Violation against own BOS

  1. Janet Alfieri says:

    Article in Hingham Journal about this strange session:

    Hingham selectmen split over possible executive session violation – See more at: http://hingham.wickedlocal.com/article/20150119/NEWS/150116694/12581/NEWS/?Start=1#sthash.7GTMu8Fg.dpuf

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