Thursday, August 17, 2017

Questions asked and they have been answered; enjoy the read.

Mr. Bennett,

Thank you for your service to the country.

We have an FAQ about electronic communications and deliberation on our website that I hope will be helpful for you:

May members of a public body communicate with the public through social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, and webpages?

Yes, members of public bodies may communicate with members of the public through any social media platform. However, members of public bodies must be careful not to engage in deliberation with the other members of the public body through such communications. If a member of a public body communicates directly with a quorum of the public body over social media platforms such as Facebook or Twitter, that communication may violate the Open Meeting Law. Public body members should proceed with caution when communicating via these platforms.

Posting on a blog is not a violation of the Open Meeting Law, nor is having comments open on the page. However, if a quorum of public body members discusses matters related to the business of the public body on the blog, it would probably constitute deliberation, which would be a violation of the Open Meeting Law.

We do not think it is necessary to include a disclaimer on your page.

Please let me know if you have any other questions.


Kaitlin Maher
Paralegal, Division of Open Government
Office of the Massachusetts Attorney General
One Ashburton Place, 20th Floor
Boston, MA 02108
Ph: (617) 963-2451
Fax: (617) 727-5785

From: jeff bennett []
Sent: Wednesday, August 16, 2017 9:42 PM
To: Maher, Kaitlin (AGO) <Kaitlin.Maher@MassMail.State.MA.US>
Subject: Re: Templeton Advisory Committee OML complaint response

I have a couple of questions concerning the open meeting law, I am a member of the Templeton Advisory Committee and I have a blog as well as a facebook page, both are very open and public, as I block no one. I often post copies of emails from people such as the town accountant, selectmen etc, I sometimes post what was discussed/voted on at Advisory Committee meetings as well as selectmen meetings. I often comment on the actions of selectmen, I criticize them when I feel it is appropriate. My first question; is having the comments part of my blog "on" so anyone can comment a problem with the open meeting law? Second question, if I post a disclaimer such as all material on this blog is directed to members of the general public and is not intended to be read by my fellow Committee members, nor do I intend for any readers to convey such material directly or indirectly to my fellow Committee members.

or Disclaimer
Opinions expressed are those of Jeff Bennett and do not represent any other member of the Advisory Committee
Does that help keep me out of conflict with the open meeting law. I am a veteran with strong feelings and views on what is public and what should be allowed but I wish to walk the line so to speak so any guidance you may provide would be greatly appreciated. 

Jeff Bennett