In line with Massachusetts Division of Open Government, Ashby is providing access to publicly available information to promote openness and transparency in government.
Open Meeting Law Requests
Massachusetts Open Meeting Law requires that most meetings of public bodies be held in public, and it establishes rules that public bodies must follow in the creation and maintenance of records relating to those meetings. Complaints can be filed with the public body.
Download the full text of the Open Meeting Law.
|11/9/2020||Patrick McPhee||Complaint||Mis-directed Complaints: Complaint requests action by the AG, not by the Town of Ashby|
|11/9/2020||Patrick McPhee||Complaint||Invalid Submissions: Complaint was not submitted on requisite complaint form.|
Complaint is relative to an alleged issue with Town By-laws, having nothing to do with Open Meeting Law.
|11/9/2020||Patrick McPhee||Complaint||Complaint is a re-hash of #2 (correcting the failure to utilize the proper complaint form). Again, the complaint relates solely to the submitter’s issues with Town By-laws, with the addition of personal, creative notions of how he would like to see things work.|
|11/19/2020||Patrick McPhee||Complaint||Invalid Submissions: Complaint was not submitted on requisite complaint form. |
Complaint relates to Town By-laws and has nothing to do with the Open Meeting Law.
Complaint incorrectly assumes actions have been taken or commitments made without authorization. That assumption is wrong; the statement that a further Town Meeting action is required is also erroneous.
|11/30/2020||Patrick McPhee||Complaint||Invalid Submissions: Complaint was not submitted on requisite complaint form.|
|12/2/2020||Patrick McPhee||Complaint||Mis-directed Complaints: Complaint, in part seems action by the AG, not the Town.|
Complaint objects that both Selectboard and Public Safety Building Committees posted agendas (“at the same time!”) for a meeting which involve both bodies. There were not posted at the “same time” and the complainant’s insistence that the meeting had to be posted as a single, shared agenda is not correct.
|12/3/2020||Patrick McPhee||Complaint||Complaint completely confuses the distinction between “warrants” and “invoices,” resulting in numerous incorrect statements – particularly statements arising from the Complainant’s notion that a vendor warrant is a simple, one-part item, while, in actuality, it will contain multiple (and sometimes voluminous numbers) of individual invoices.|
|12/3/2020||Patrick McPhee||Complaint||Complaint essentially relates to Town By-laws, and has nothing to do with the Open Meeting Law; added vague allegations of “retaliation” are similarly inapplicable.|
Complaint insists – despite correction – that a legally submitted petitioni for inclusion of a warrant article for a Town Meeting can be amended before the Selectboard place the item in the warrant. This amending action would be illegal, and the petitioned article must be placed in the warrant with every misspelling, punctuation error, capitalization error, or other peculiarity intact – and without amendment.
Complaint (although quoting official documentation regarding the term “quorum”) proceeds to ignore what those documents actually say… The Finance Committee consists of five (5) members. In the subject time frame, there was only one official, appointed member (later increased to two members). The Committee had no possible way to assemble the necessary three bodies to constitute a quorum, and the committee had no legal means available to take any valid, official action. The complaint fails to recognize that the calculation of a quorum is based on the total number of slots (including vacant positions), and not hte number of appointees who are actually official members. Three members do not constitute a quorum of the Public Safety Building Committee. The remainder of the allegation is, at best, murky, and I am attempting to establish exactly what the alleged activity has involved – if anything.
|12/4/2020||Patrick McPhee||Complaint||The group referenced in the complaint is a volunteer assemblage, which was never appointed by the Selectboard as an official Town entity. Interestingly, the complaint references the Town Administrator as involved with this group. I am the Town Administrator, and I have not been involved with, nor have I had any particular knowledge of this group.|
|12/7/2020||Patrick McPhee||Complaint||Invalid Submissions: Complaint was not submitted on requisite complaint form. |
Complaint deals entirely with Town By-law issues, and has nothing to do with the Open Meeting Law.
Complaint (aside from citing rules that do not exist) says that the “Assistant Town Manager” issued directives regarding distribution of materials at Town Meeting. Ashby does not have a Town Manager, but a Town Administrator: there is an Assistant Town Administrator, but she was not present at the subject Town Meeting, and in any case would not have made such a directive without consulting with me, the Town Administrator. The statement in the complaint alluding to what impact any document may have had on any individual reader or group of readers is entirely speculative.
|12/7/2020||Patrick McPhee||Complaint – 1|
Complaint – 2
|Complaint is a re-hash of [previous] complaint, correcting the absence of the requisite complaint form; the errors and misinformation remain. The requested resolution of the complaint seeks enforcement of rules that do not exist.|
|12/7/2020||Patrick McPhee||Complaint||Invalid Submissions: Although copied to the AG, there is no content to this filing, and no complaint form.|
|12/8/2020||Patrick McPhee||Complaint||Mis-directed Complaints: Complaint seeks action by the AG.|
Complaint states that “Contract 90% drawing was part of warrant and public vote, this would require another town meeting”. That statement is incorrect – the Town Meeting vote contained no reference to any such terms, and no further meeting is necessary.
|12/8/2020||Patrick McPhee||Complaint||Invalid Submissions: This is merely an exhortation to the AG, to expedite investigation of the Complainant’s Complaints.|
|12/18/2020||Patrick McPhee||Complaint||Complaint deals entirely with Town By-law issues, and has nothing to do with the Open Meeting Law.|
Complaint references an incorrect date for the referendum. In any case, there has been no formal application undertaken and/or money committed by the Town with any financial institution or lending agency.
|12/28/2020||Patrick McPhee||Complaint||Complaint does not fall under the Open Meeting Law.|
|12/28/2020||Patrick McPhee||Complaint||There are only two Executive Sessions held in calendar 2020: 11/25 and 12/2; the executive session noted on the agenda for 12/23 never transpired. The two executive sessions actually held both related to contract negotiation issues, and neither of those matters has been fully resolved as of this date. Premature public disclosure of the content of those executive sessions would tend to defeat the process of negotiation.|
|3/9/2021||Patrick McPhee||Complaint||Response from the Assistant Attorney General, Division of Open Government|
Public Records Requests
The Massachusetts Public Records Law (Public Records Law) and its Regulations provide that each person has a right of access to public information. This right of access includes the right to inspect, copy or have a copy of records provided upon the payment of a reasonable fee, if any.
The Massachusetts Public Records Law parallels federal law, with some variation. Every government record in Massachusetts is presumed to be public unless it may be withheld under a specifically stated exemption.