Pittsfield Subcommittee Receives Open Meeting Complaint After First Meeting

By Joe DurwinPittsfield Correspondent
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The subcommittee made sure there was proper signage at its followup meeting.

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — A locked door led to a complaint to the attorney general's office accusing a newly formed Reid Middle School Council subcommittee of violating open meeting law at its very first meeting.

Terry Kinnas, who serves on the School Committee, accused members of the newly formed Community Outreach Subcommittee at Reid of intentionally locking the school's door while they held a Nov. 14 meeting. The subcommittee repeated the meeting on Nov. 21.

In the complaint, Kinnas says that when he arrived for the Nov. 14 meeting, he found the door locked and no clear signage showing where the meeting was being held.  

"I did get to the meeting and told the chairperson that they were violation open meeting by having the building door locked," said Kinnas in his complaint.  "I asked if the chair had training on Open Meeting Law and the answer was yes, therefore I believe it was intentional."

Kinnas asked that "all actions that took place as a result be voided out and a new meeting take to replicate all activities and actions that took place."

In its response to the attorney general's office, the subcommittee indicated that it had acquiesced with Kinnas' request for a repeated meeting and ensured that secretarial and custodial staff are included in all future meeting notifications to see that doors are unlocked and appropriate signage placed.  

In its response, the committee added that these actions "should in no way be construed as agreement with the accuracy or substance of Mr. Kinnas's claims, but only as a show of good faith on our part."

On Monday, at the subcommittee's third meeting, some members of the fledgling School Council subcommittee expressed dismay with the course of action taken by Kinnas. The committee formed earlier this year to meet on an "as needed basis."

"I was very disappointed," said Julia Sabourin, who chairs the subcommittee. "We did learn from this experience, but I think the way we were treated was very hurtful."

"It's unfortunate we were distracted like this, as volunteers," said committee member Debra Guachione.

Open Meeting Law Complaint 11-16-12
Reid Subcommittee Response to Open Mtg Law Complaint

Tags: open meeting,   open meeting complaint,   Pittsfield School Committee,   


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