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DeVellis to Selectmen: 'Address These Open Meeting Law Accusation"

A routine motion to turn go into executive session at the end of the selectmen's meeting on Thursday night quickly turned into a discussion on whether to have a discussion on an alleged open meeting law violation aimed at two members of the board. 

"For us to go into executive session and talk about Splitsville with these violations, I think we need to address it," DeVellis said.

In December, the selectmen were scheduled to address an alleged open meeting law violation that accuses selectmen Lorraine Brue and Ginny Coppola of attending a meeting with the Kraft Group that may have been more than a fact finding mission in October. After a snowstorm postponed the meeting, the issue never appear on a meeting agenda despite DeVellis' efforts for a public discussion.

Coppola and Brue, the two selectmen accused of the violation, saw no need for further discussion.

"There were no open meeting law violations and the response we gave said there were no open meeting law violations," Coppola said.

"I'm objecting to that because in 2012 we had four open meeting law complaints against this board and they were not discussed. I don't see why that should get in the way of us discussing Splitsville," Brue added,

When asked if the board could discuss the issue which was not on the agenda, Town Counsel Dick Gellerman said it was fine for the board to discuss placing a discussion on open meeting law violations on the agenda but advised against discussing the substance at Thursday's meeting.

"I do hope that it gets us off the issue of if we can have a discussion on Splitsville in executive session. I would hate to see that stop the board from discussing Splitsville in executive session," Gellerman said.

When asked by DeVellis if he believed there was an open meeting law violation, Gellerman was interrupted by Acting Town Manager Bob Culter stating that the item was not on the agenda and Coppola vehemently disagreeing with DeVellis' desire to address the issue.

"What would you be talking about if this became an agenda item? There's a process that has begun and why would the selectmen discuss this if the process has begun and the information has been submitted to the attorney general?" Coppola asked.

"I think the information that the town gave on behalf of the board is incorrect," DeVellis said.

"Well that's your opinion Mr. DeVellis," Coppola replied.

Attorney David DeLuca, who was hired by the selectmen to assist with the liquor license transfer, agreed with Gellerman's assessment concerning having a discussion at a future meeting.

"I firmly believe that the public is entitled to notice and hearing so the only matter you should be considering is if you want to put that matter into a future agenda," DeLuca said. "Your public has a right to have a opportunity to be here. I don't think it's appropriate to discuss the matter so your best option is to put it on an agenda if you choose to."

Sullivan said he would take it under advisement, admitting that the issue with Splitsville and the open meeting laws have gone on for too long.

"This has been burning for a long time and is something that could have been solved long ago if I handled it a different way," Sullivan said.

The board did go into executive session with only DeVellis voting in the negative.
R. Hood January 27, 2014 at 07:05 PM
Be careful Jim. We know what happens when the current Intellectually Challenged BOS Members think you're an intellectual threat.... See Harrington, Paicos, Et Al.........
Joanne Hensas January 28, 2014 at 08:47 AM
Mr DeVellis looks extremely frustrated at each meeting. His composure and professionalism are to be commended! We need transparency NOW. This game has gone on way to long-all because of egos at the Foxboro Taxpayers' expense. The egos need to be checked at the door. Thank you Jim for taking the tough road--but the right one! It's not easy being the fish swimming upstream!! Keep up the good work! You have my support.
Deborah A Stewart January 28, 2014 at 10:02 AM
Well said Joanne. Jim is the voice of reason and common sense. We sure need more of that!
Sam January 31, 2014 at 08:11 AM
Haters gotta hate. And you people sure have hate down to a science.
Sam January 31, 2014 at 08:16 AM
Haters gotta hate. And you people really know how to hate.

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