Non-Public Sessions (part 1)

Your blogger happened to have some mundane power of attorney documents for one of the selectmen who’s daytime job is being a lawyer. So we took Tuesday May 13, 2014 Mason selectmen’s meeting as an opportunity to hand expedite delivery of the paperwork and catch a selectmen’s meeting.

Imagine our surprise when we entered a roomful of people. Typical attendance at these events can be counted with the fingers on one hand; however, last night we counted 23 persons, not including the 4-5 at the head table and those that came and went throughout the meeting. It is not the practice of the selectmen to post agenda’s on the town web site; so the large public turnout left us somewhat perplexed.

At the beginning of the meeting, Chairman Moser annnounced the selectmen had a long agenda and events had come up which might result in much of the agenda getting deferred to the next meeting two weeks from now. He warned the public that most of the meeting would be held in non-public session.

What a great way to run the public’s business?

So clearly there were one or more elephants in the room that were not being publicly discussed. But first, what transpired in public session. This is all from memory, excuse us if we gum up a thing or two.

  • From the discussion of a change in “the employee health plan” we guessed that a lot of people might have been interested in the tax consequences of that. At one point Mr. Fletcher (who is deputy treasurer and also curmudgeon at large) indicated that he had attended and appreciated a prior presentation by the health committee, but was concerned that none of that had been reduced to writing. Mr. Fletcher also runs the earliest town web site which is known to post documents of historical significance to the Town; we frequently use it as a reference source ourselves. The selectmen agreed and thought the members of the committee would be willing to re-constitute their presentation in writing.
  • Mr. & Mrs. Bruce Mann met with the selectmen concerning a property they own that surrounds the fire/highway complex on Depot Rd. The Mann’s property has a deeded 50′ right of way across the complex. With all the activity of Mason’s Building Committee, they wanted to remind the selectmen that said right of way existed and they may have future plans to use it. The session was primarily informative for the newer selectmen to make sure that knowledge of its existance does not go down the drain. The selectmen thanked them. Apparently some of the selectmen were surprised, so the session may have had a point.
  • Mr. Clayton Williams came for a public hearing about adding a “deck” to his house at 81 Old Ashby Road which is in the historic district. No abutters appeared at the hearing and there were no comments from the public which we can recall. Although we wonder what was going through Mr. Williams’ head when faced with the large citizen turnout. The selectmen approved construction of the deck; primary reason appeared to be that given the siting of the house, no one would see much of either.

The selectmen held non-public sessions for “prior meeting minutes”, “A police (employee?) matter”, “a highway employee matter”. Although the town clock never budged from its setting of five minutes to one, these sessions did consume the majority of the meeting which went from 7:30 to 10:45 pm.

During one of these sessions, one of Mr. Greenwood’s daughters showed us a letter from Mr. Greenwood addressed to the selectmen. Mr. Greenwood is/was the Town Road agent and the topic concerned his resignation. Since the letter wasn’t acknowledged “as received” in public session, we and the town are left to speculate what has precipitated this turn of events.

What a great way to run the public’s business?

Did we mention that already?

1 comment for “Non-Public Sessions (part 1)

  1. Wentworth
    May 31, 2014 at 07:52

    The speculation about the status of the Mason Road Agent is no longer speculation; see here

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