Open Meeting Law Guidelines, Notice of Meetings and Room Reservation

The Open Meeting Law (MGL 39, Sec 23B) requires that all government meetings shall be open to the public.  Back in 2010 the Open Meeting Law was revised to include a number of changes; some rather significant.

The Attorney General is the enforcement agency regarding any and all violations to the law.

 

Agendas

It is necessary for your Board, Commission, and Committee to submit your agenda as part of the posting of your meeting.  Please note that Saturdays, Sundays and legal holidays will be excluded from the 48 hour notice period.  For example, if you wish to post a meeting for Monday evening, your meeting notice/agenda must be posted with the Town Clerk’s Office no later than Thursday.  Below are the times of when the Town Hall is open:

  • Monday, Wednesday, and Thursday – 8:00AM – 4:00PM
  • Tuesday – 8:00AM – 7:00PM
  • Friday – 8:00AM – noon

Also, below is a guide in order to aid you with the timing of your submittals:

  • Monday night meetings must be posted before Thursday night.
  • Tuesday night meetings must be posted before Friday noon (if Monday is a holiday, before Thursday night).
  • Wednesday night meetings must be posted before Monday night.
  • Thursday night meetings must be posted before Tuesday night.
  • Friday night meetings must be posted before Wednesday night.

In addition, please keep in mind that even though you may have emailed your agenda on a specific day and time, until the Town Clerk’s Office date and time stamps the agenda it is not official. A way to ensure that your agenda has been officially posted; you will now receive notification that the agenda has been posted and your date and time stamped copy of the agenda will be emailed back to you for your records.  This date and time stamped copy will also appear on the Town’s website.  Going forward please only submit your agenda ONCE, whether it is by email or submitting a hard copy in person.  It gets too confusing when agendas are emailed and delivered by hand. Email meeting notices with agenda to posting@townofmaynard.net

In the past, you were able to submit a posting which includes your meeting schedule for the entire year.  However, with the changes in law, this is no longer acceptable.  If you choose to post a “2020 Meeting Schedule” listing of all the possible meeting dates on your particular website page, that is fine, but each individual meeting will not be posted.

Your agenda must include the following information:

  1. Location of the meeting – Name of Building
  2. Name of the room or room #
  3. Complete Address
  4. Date of the Meeting
  5. Time of the Meeting
  6. Agenda – the list of topics that the chair reasonably anticipates will be discussed
  7. Signed by the Chair or Representative

Click here to download a sample for you to follow when developing your meeting notice/agenda.  (This sample is in Microsoft Word format).

One of the requirements under the Open Meeting Law is the need for specificity.   Your meeting notice/agenda shall include a list of topics the Chair anticipates will be discussed at the meeting.  As you can see from the sample Selectmen’s agenda, the items reflected on the Selectmen’s agenda fulfills these requirements. However, please understand that should an item come up within the 48 hours, and it requires immediate attention by your Board, Commission, or Committee, a simple role call vote to add the item to the agenda will be acceptable.  But, if the item came up prior to the 48 hours, a new agenda would have to be submitted to the Town Clerk’s Office.  If an agenda is revised, it MUST state “REVISED AGENDA” on the new agenda.  Once this has been received in the Town Clerk’s Office it will be date and time stamped, emailed back to you for your records and posted on the website.  Click here to view a sample revised agenda.

Please be advised that moving forward no Town Seals will be acceptable on any agendas, they are not ADA compliant.

Also please be aware that if your Board, Committee or Commission plans to schedule a Public Hearing, the Public Hearing Notice and the agenda must be filed at the same time, it is a check and balance to make sure we are all on the same page.

And, if a time is indicated on the agenda then that hearing may not begin until such time.     That Public Hearing may NOT begin prior to that indicated time.

If your Board, Committee or Commission plans to hold a Joint Meeting with other Boards, Committees, or Commissions, all MUST post an agenda.  And, each Board, Committee, or Commission must maintain their own set of minutes.

When developing your meeting notice/agenda for an upcoming meeting, items to be addressed in Executive Session shall be specifically identified on your agenda without compromising the purpose for which the Executive Session is called.  A role call vote of each member of your board must be taken prior to entering into Executive Session.  The Chair shall also publicly announce whether open session will reconvene after the Executive Session has concluded, all of which must be stated on the agenda.

If by chance your meeting has to be cancelled, the original agenda must be emailed back stating on the agenda, “THIS MEETING HAS BEEN CANCELLED”.  Once this has been received in the Town Clerk’s Office it will be date and time stamped, emailed back to you for your records and posted on the website.  Click here to view a sample cancelled agenda.

The Town Clerk also requests that every Board, Committee and Commission submit a “Charge” as to what specific responsibilities are of their certain Board, Committee or Commission in Town. The residents of Maynard, whether interested in serving as a member or just concerned with the actual “charge”, should have this information readily available.  That being said, the Town Clerk’s Office is respectfully requesting that the Chairs of all Boards, Committees, and Commissions work with their members to submit in writing the “charge” of their Board.

 

Minutes

First and foremost, you are required to keep minutes for all meetings.  Your minutes must include name of Board, location, date, time, members present and members absent.  Additionally, your minutes must retain all documents, photographs, recordings, maps, etc.  It will not be necessary to submit these documents to the Town Clerk, however, a list of documents and other exhibits used at the meeting must be included, along with the decisions made and actions taken for each agenda item.  A roll-call vote must be taken for each item voted in executive session and said vote is to be entered into the minutes.  Also, upon request, minutes from your open meeting must be made available within ten days.  The minutes may be either in “approved” or “draft” format.  The official minutes must be made available within a reasonable amount of time.  The Open Meeting Law considers two to four weeks a reasonable amount of time.

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact the Town Clerk’s Office at 978-897-1300.

 

Holiday / Elections Schedule

For your convenience, the upcoming elections, meetings and holidays for the years 2019-2020 are as follows:

2019 2020
Jan 1 – New Year’s Day
Jan 21- Martin Luther King, Jr. Day
Feb 18 – President’s Day
Apr 15 – Patriot’s Day
May 7 – Annual Town Election
May 20 – Annual Town Meeting
May 27 – Memorial Day
Jul 4 – Independence Day
Sept 2 – Labor Day
Oct 14 – Columbus Day
Nov 11 – Veterans Day
Nov 28 – Thanksgiving
Dec 25 – Christmas Day
Jan 1 – New Year’s Day
Jan 20- Martin Luther King, Jr. Day
Feb 17 – President’s Day
Apr 20 – Patriot’s Day
May 5 – Annual Town Election
May 18 – Annual Town Meeting
May 25 – Memorial Day
Jul 3 – Independence Day (observed)
Sept 7 – Labor Day
Sept 15 – State Primary
Oct 12 – Columbus Day
Nov 3 – State Election
Nov 11 – Veterans Day
Nov 26 – Thanksgiving
Dec 25 – Christmas Day
 

Reserving Seating Areas

All Town Hall Conference Rooms have monitors and networked PCs to access the internet or project power points, etc., Easels are available. If technical assistance is needed, indicate at time of reservation.  All spaces are ADA accessible.  Smaller rooms are fixed setup.  Various setup arrangements are possible for the two largest spaces. 48 hour advanced notice needed for setup arrangements.

Please reserve your room before emailing meeting and agenda to posting@townofmaynard.net to ensure room availability and accurate notice information. It is the responsibility of the board/committee Chair or designated member to reserve a meeting room. Please do not include others on the posting email. Inform fellow board/committee members in a  separate email of the meeting.
LOCATION SEATING TO RESERVE/NOTES
TA Conference Room 197 8 978-897-1375  sduggan@townofmaynard.net
White board equipped.
Finance Conference Room 202 10 978-897-1353
kpetersen@townofmaynard.net
OMS Conference Room G-17 6 978-897-1302
bjohnston@townofmaynard.net
White board equipped.
Michael J. Gianotis Room 201 35 978-897-1301
bmosca@townofmaynard.net
8 desks, record and cablecast capability from this room. Adjacent kitchen space.
Stewart T. Campbell Room 101
(OMS Lower Level)
60 978-897-1302
bjohnston@townofmaynard.net
10 seat conference table, podium. Overflow for Gianotis room.
Maynard Public Library
Second Floor Room
8 978-897-1010
Maynard Public Library
Roosevelt Room
70 978-897-1010
A/V available.
Maynard Public Library
Trustees Room
35 978-897-1010
10 seat conference table.

If you need further assistance, please contact the Town Clerk’s office at 978-897-1300.

 

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