The Middlesex District Attorney’s Office is inquiring into the doings of an informal, private gathering of some of the Town’s top elected officials with questions about whether the group, which has been developing recommendations for consolidating and streamlining the Town’s government, ran afoul of the State’s Open Meeting Law, according to the Belmont Citizen Herald.
According to BCH, a letter, dated June 18, 2009, was sent from Assistant District Attorney Robert Bender and addressed to members of the so-called Officers Group: Board of Selectmen Chairman Dan Leclerc, three members of the town’s Warrant Committee: Phil Curtis, Patricia Brusch and Elizabeth Allison, and two members of the School Committee: Ann Rittenburg and Leslie Walker.
According to the letter, the DA’s office was notified by a Belmont voter who inquired about the activities of the group which “have met as a group for several months this year to form proposals for better administrative or financial operation of town government, with the apparent intent to advance favored proposals by presenting those at meetings of your respective committees…”
The BCH story, by editor Anthony Schinella, indicates that the paper had previously inquired about the propriety of the group with both Warrant Committee Chair Phil Curtis and former Board of Selectman Chair (and Officers Group member) Angelo Firenze. “Both stated that they did not feel that the group’s meetings were a violation of the Open Meeting Law because there was not a quorum of each committee attending the private meetings and the group was not setting policy.” The group was “discussing with department heads and others, how the town was being managed, and how department heads would build their organizations if they could start from scratch,” the BCH reports.