Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Read it and weep, the Superior Court Decision in the Open Meeting Lawsuit

As Kyle Robidoux said in a voice message to me: the good guys finally won one. (or did they?...)


There should be a pdf available to read on my website www.electkevin.us as soon as possible.

I'm off to New Orleans tomorrow, interested to hear people's thoughts.

7 comments:

the sak said...

Minutes of our Boston City Council are too brief for people to understand clearly what the proceedings, what the transactions were at the public meetings. For example papers of the Mayor are referred to in the minutes without even mentioning the topics, the subjects of the papers that were approved. There's no index for the docket numbered items provided.

the sak said...

http://electkevin.us/JudgmentOnOMLCase.pdf
03/27/2006 18:12 FAX 617 367-4024
Boston Globe CITY HALL 001

Commonwealth of Massachusetts

SuFFOLK, ss.

SUPERIOR COURT
Civil Action No. 05-01798

KEVIN McCREA & others^1
^1 Shirley Kressel and Kathleen Devine
v.
MICHAEL FLAHERTY
and the BOSTON CITY COUNCIL

FINDINGS AND ORDER ON
DEFENDANTS' MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT

Plaintiffs, Kevin McCrea
("McCrea"), Shirley Kressel ("Kressel"),
and Kathleen Devine ("Devine"),
filed this action seeking declaratory
and injunctive relief.

The plaintiffs' complaint alleges
violations of the
Open Meeting Law, G.L. c. 39 ss23A-C
("the Open Meeting Law"),
by the defendants, the
Boston City Council and its President,
Michael Flaherty
(collecively referred as "the Council").

Specifically, the plaintiffs challenge
the legality of certain meetings held in
which various members of the Council
were present on the following dates:
June 3, 2003,
June 19, 2003,
August, 14, 2003,
September 23, 2004,
October 21, 2004,
November 18, 2004,
December 15, 2004
January 13, 2005,
February 17, 2005,
January 20, 2005, and
March 24, 2005.^2
^2 Although there was a public hearing
on December 15, 2004, the plaintiffs
allege that an unlawful closed hearing
was held prior to the public hearing.

In addition to alleging that
there were violations of the Open
Meeting Law on particular dates, the
plaintiffs also claim that the alleged
repeated violations constitute a
"systematic" failure to comply with the
requirements of the statute.

03/27/2006 18:12 FAX 617 367-4024
Boston Globe CITY HALL 002

The Council denies the
plaintiffs' allegations that violations
occurred as to the meetings held on
January 13, 2005,
January 20, 2005,
February 17, 2005, and
March 24, 2005

In addition to denying that any
violations have occurred, the
Council takes the position that the
December 15, 2004 meeting
cured any violations which
may have occurred on earlier occasions.

This Court has previously ruled
that the plaintiffs may not maintain an
action to seek invalidate the December
15, 2004 vote because it is time barred
pursuant to the strict twenty-one day
statute of limitation of actions
provision of Section 23B
Memorandum of Decision and Order on
Defendants' Motion to Dismiss Pursuant to
Mass. R. Civ. P. 12(b)(6), 6.

However, the plaintiffs also seek
injunctive relief, including an order
compelling the Council to
comply with the Open Meeting Law
at future meetings.

This matter is now
before the Court on
Defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment
pursuant to Mass. R. Civ. P. 56
on the basis that there are no genuine
issues of material fact and that the
plaintiffs have no likelihood of proving
that they are entitled to the injunctive
relief sought.

For the reasons stated below, the
Defendants Motion for Summary Judgment
is DENIED and
summary judgment is GRANTED
in favor of the plaintiffs
pursuant to Mass. R. Civ. P. 56(c).

[ more... ]
http://electkevin.us/JudgmentOnOMLCase.pdf

the sak said...

http://electkevin.us/JudgmentOnOMLCase.pdf
[ ...continued ]

03/27/2006 18:12 FAX 617 367-4024
Boston Globe CITY HALL 019

ORDER

It is ORDERED that Defendants'
Motion for Summary Judgment is DENIED
and summary judgment is instead GRANTED
in favor of the plaintiffs.

It is DECLARED that the
Boston City Council violated the
Open Meeting Law under
http://www.mass.gov/legis/laws/mgl/39-23b.htm
G.L. c. 39, Section 23 on
June 3, 2003,
June 19, 2003
August, 14, 2003,
September 23, 2004,
October 21, 2004,
November 18, 2004,
December 15, 2004
January 13, 2005,
February 17, 2005,
January 20, 2005, and
March 24, 2005.

It is ORDERED pursuant to
G.L. c. 39, Section 23B,
http://www.mass.gov/legis/laws/mgl/39-23b.htm
that a fine is hereby
imposed in the amount of
One Thousand Dollars ($1000.00)
for each such violation for a total of
Eleven Thousand Dollars ($11,000.00).

It is further ORDERED that the
Boston City Council is
ENJOINED as follows:

The Boston City Council
and any committee thereof shall comply
with the requirements of the
Open Meeting Law,
G.L. c. c. 39, Section 23B
in the future.
http://www.mass.gov/legis/laws/mgl/39-23b.htm

03/27/2006 18:12 FAX 617 367-4024
Boston Globe CITY HALL 020

This shall include
compliance with the requirements
relating to executive session, to wit:

No executive session shall be held
until [the Boston City Council] has
. first convened in an open session
for which

. notice has been given,

. a majority of the members have
voted to go into executive session

. and the vote of each member is
recorded on a roll call vote

. and entered into the minutes,

. the presiding officer has cited
the purposes for an executive session,

. and the presiding officer has
stated before the executive session
if [the Boston City Council] will
reconvene after the executive session.

It is further ORDERED that this
matter be set down for a hearing
pursuant to G.L. c. 231, Section 6F
http://www.mass.gov/legis/laws/mgl/231-6f.htm
to address plaintiffs' further request for relief.

Nancy Staffier Holtz
Justice of the Superior Court
http://www.mass.gov/courts/courtsandjudges/judgesandjudicialofficers/staffiern.html

Dated: March 27, 2006
http://electkevin.us/JudgmentOnOMLCase.pdf

the sak said...

How do you get the stenographic machine
output with the debate and remarks of
Boston City Councilors from the
public meetings of the Council?

Council stenographic machine
output, software, verbatim
transcripts can be requested
from legal stenographer
Ellen Fritch Associates,
617 269-5448
emfritch at aol.com

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