Open Meeting Law

Open Meeting Law Guidelines, Notice of Meetings & 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.

For more information visit the Massachusetts Open Meeting Law website.

  1. Agendas
  2. Minutes
  3. Holiday / Elections Schedule
  4. Reserving Seating Areas

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 Wednesday. Please email all meeting notices. Posted notices will be date stamped during the Town Clerk's Office regular business hours:

  • Monday, Wednesday, and Thursday through 8 am - 3:30 pm
  • Tuesday through 8 am - 6:30 pm
  • Friday through 8 am- 11:30 am

After work hours notices will be date stamped the next business day. Please keep this in mind while following the 48-hour meeting posting rule.

Except in an emergency, public bodies shall file meeting notices sufficiently in advance of a public meeting to permit posting of the notice at least 48-hours in advance of the public meeting, excluding Saturdays, Sundays, legal holidays or if Town Administrators closes Town Hall (snow etc.), in accordance with M.G.L. c. 30A, § 20. In an emergency, the notice shall be posted as soon as reasonably possible prior to such meeting. Please email with all agendas and meeting minutes. You can also request a meeting room reservation or link for a virtual or remote meeting.

Meeting notices shall contain the date, time and place of such meeting and a listing of topics that the chair reasonably anticipates will be discussed at the meeting. The list of topics shall have sufficient specificity to reasonably advise the public of the issues to be discussed at the meeting. The date and time that the notice is posted shall be conspicuously recorded thereon or therewith. (See details below)

Except in cases of emergency, do not meet on holidays, election days or during town meetings.

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. Please only submit your agenda via email.

Note: 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 "2021 Meeting Schedule" listing of all the possible meeting dates on your particular website page, 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 Number
  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

Download a sample for you to follow when developing your meeting notice/agenda (DOC).

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 Select Board's agenda, the items reflected on the Select Board's agenda fulfills these requirements. However, please understand that should an item come up within the 72 hours, and it requires immediate attention by your Board, Commission, or Committee, a simple roll 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. 

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. Also, 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 roll 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.