Did You Know? Executive Session

Massachusetts State House – credit malegislature.gov

Massachusetts Open Meeting Law applies to public bodies and their appointed or elected officials. It is a critical part of how government here functions and anyone who has lived in other countries where things are not quite so “open” will know what I mean here. A requirement of volunteers to town government here in Weston is that they must take Open Law training. Town boards and committees must list meeting times and agendas with proper notification, and be open to the public to attend. The exception to public attendance is when they meet in executive session.

Committees, boards and commissions are allowed to meet in executive session for a myriad of reasons. It’s helpful to review Massachusetts General Meeting Law Chapter 30, Section 21A on this, which can be found here. In case you don’t feel like reading that whole novel (and know that there are a lot of reasons for executive session), two stand out in current times:

3. To discuss strategy with respect to collective bargaining or litigation if an open meeting may have a detrimental effect on the bargaining or litigating position of the public body and the chair so declares;


9. To meet or confer with a mediator, as defined in section 23C of chapter 233, with respect to any litigation or decision on any public business within its jurisdiction involving another party, group or entity, [Ed: this one goes on with a number of conditions]

Perhaps the middle schooler in us all always wants to know what is going on in these sessions. Are they telling secrets? In actuality, they don’t seem so fun. Coming up in the next week are two executive sessions: School Committee on Thursday, February 18, and Zoning Board of Appeals regarding lawsuits over 751-761 Boston Post Road on Tuesday, February 23. What could it all mean to us mortals? We’ll find out eventually…

School Committee Agenda here.

Zoning Board of Appeals Agenda here.

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