Reading an article in today's Gardner News causes me to ponder a question; If a member of the Gardner City Council were to write a letter to the editor on a subject that is or has been before them, would that constitute an open meeting law violation? I mean it is possible and plausible that other city council members could read the article which may contain the writers opinion. According to that article, "the expression of an opinion on matters within the body's jurisdiction to a quorum of a public body is a deliberation, even if no other public body member responds." That could be read to mean, if a councilor writes a letter to the editor, no other councilor may read the newspaper. Even if they have a yearly subscription. I suppose the same could be said for face book as well. Blogs, or any online medium. What if a councilor does a radio show and expresses an opinion on a matter before the council or has been before the council? Would the above mean that anyone who serves by appointment, election or volunteer may not read face book, read a blog, read a newspaper or listen to a local radio station for fear they might violate the law. I have to wonder if this was the intent of the Open Meeting Law to begin with? I thought I read somewhere the "new" law was to promote open governance and stop back room deals. It was suppose to be about transparency, but I wonder if the article may really center around those who were elected and now do not wish to be questioned or challenged or heaven forbid, be called names. I would offer up an opinion, but someone may find that offensive and report me to the thought police. I mean, I know they read this. To bad Templeton does not have a full time Town Administrator, of course the selectmen would actually have to spend time on that one, you know at their meetings.
posted by Jeff Bennett