Sunday, November 19, 2017

The MMA encourages new municipal officials, including selectmen elected this spring, to attend. The morning of Jan. 19 will feature a special session for first-time attendees to help them get the most from the two-day event.
The advance program registration rate is $180 for members and $295 for registrants from other government entities. After the early registration deadline of Jan. 10, all registrations will be done on-site at a rate of $230 for members and $345 for other government entities. MMA Business Partners qualify for member rates.
Annual Meeting registration forms must be returned to the MMA, and no registrations can be accepted over the phone. Registrants are urged to return their form with payment. The MMA accepts credit cards for Annual Meeting transactions.
Reservations are also being accepted for the Women Elected Municipal Officials Leadership Luncheon on Friday, Jan. 19, and the Friday and Saturday evening dinners, which will feature engaging speakers and entertainment.
• See registration details
The Sheraton Boston Hotel, conveniently located adjacent to the Hynes, is the host hotel for 2018. The MMA negotiated a reduced room rate of $174 per night for a single or $184 per night for a double. The reduced-rate rooms are expected to sell out quickly, and reservations must be made by Dec. 22 to take advantage of the special rates.

Templeton Town Administrator has it in contract to attend and yes, you pay for it. Also, if all five selectmen attend, that is quite the bill just for attendance and rooms, there is also parking and meals. 
Looking at the so called special financial report, I find no reporting of all town employee salaries, no accounting of the individual trust accounts, only a total of all trust funds. No real accounting of town debt. A very lacking report from the treasurer, no showing of actual cash flow, no accounting of the spending of taxpayer dollars
If you think Town Counsel works for you, you are mistaken! If you think Town Counsel is at Town Meeting to help you out, you are mistaken. Town Counsel is there for the 'Town", the corporation. If you think the selectmen or Planning Board has done something wrong and you pursue it legally, you will be up against Town Counsel.

from Templeton General By-Laws:

Article VII – Legal Affairs

 Section 1. The Selectmen shall be agents of the town to institute, prosecute and defend any and all claims, actions and proceedings to which the town is a party or in which the interests of the town are or may be involved.

Section 4. The Selectmen shall annually in June appoint a Town Counsel, who is a member of the bar in good standing, to serve for the term of one year from the first day of July following and until his successor is appointed and enters upon the performance of his duties. They shall likewise fill any vacancies in said office for the unexpired term, and may employ special counsel to assist the said Town Counsel whenever, in their judgement, necessity therefore arises. Amended 8-31-78

If you recall, a resident at Town Meeting commented he got advice from Town Counsel, then selectmen Brooks jumped up demanding who gave you authority to contact Town Counsel? The resident responded he had spoken to them at the end of a previous town meeting. Shortly there after, selectmen Brooks is at a BOS meeting taking about looking at and for new Town Counsel.

An attorney is a licensed professional and an officer of the court, so when a question is asked pertaining to a subject that an attorney was not involved in or has no knowledge of the background facts, do not expect much. Expect what was given, a general description of the options available.

Remember also, that is the individuals responsibility to act legally and ethically, as all elected or appointed officials are suppose to take the ethics training and obtain open meeting law information as well as sign a document stating that.

I have spoken to different attorneys from different law firms after a Town Meeting and the information received or just the conversation was different than the perception arrived at by way of comments or opinions rendered during Town Meeting.
Town Counsel is employed/appointed by the BOS, retained or not by the BOS and firms are not in the business of losing clients, in this case, the client is the BOS.

Having served as a selectmen and having dealt with three different law firms, I can state with confidence that Templeton has a very good Town Counsel and can receive very good legal advice, but the selectmen have to want that to happen for it to come to fruition. The selectmen have to want good governance, transparency and honesty for that to happen. Remember who shut down conversation at Town Meeting with regards to the school funding; selectmen Brooks made the motion that resulted in Town Meeting, as in the people who took the time to attend, being unable to discuss that matter any longer. Town Counsel did his job for his client, the BOS. The selectmen wanted to shut down any talk of stopping the school and they did it. If you want that to change, elect new selectmen and demand they do things in the way in which you want them too. If they do not, either elect new ones or recall them, you have the power to do that. That is not going to happen with 66 people showing up for Town Meeting. Remember, that 66 includes selectmen, Advisory Committee, the checkers, etc, so how many residents actually showed up who were not required to be there?