State legal team will discuss open meeting law, answer questions


A legal team from the office of Attorney General Maura Healey will travel to Martha’s Vineyard Thursday, May 5 to hold two separate sessions intended to address a variety of legal issues and questions.

The rights and responsibilities of board members, elected officials, and members of the public under the Open Meeting Law will be the topic of the first session, held from 4 pm to 6 pm in the Katharine Cornell Theater on Spring Street in Vineyard Haven.

“The purpose of the Open Meeting Law is to ensure transparency in the deliberations on which public policy is based,” according to the Attorney General’s Open Meeting Law Guide. “Because the democratic process depends on the public having knowledge about the considerations underlying governmental action, the Open Meeting Law requires, with some exceptions, that meetings of public bodies be open to the public. It also seeks to balance the public’s interest in witnessing the deliberations of public officials with the government’s need to manage its operations efficiently.”

Tara Whiting, West Tisbury town clerk, was instrumental in arranging the session. Ms. Whiting told The Times she has attended a number of training sessions off-Island, and realized that “it was all well and good that I was learning about it, but it would also be really helpful information for Island administrators, and the members of Island boards and committees.”

Ms. Whiting contacted the Attorney General’s office, which agreed not only to hold a session on the Open Meeting Law, but to also hold a second session.

The “Attorney General’s Community Action Hours” will be held from 6 pm to 8 pm in the Katharine Cornell Theater. “As the people’s law firm, our staff will be ready to assist you and answer your questions,” the office said in a press release. The AG’s office invites questions pertaining to the minimum wage, overtime, disputed purchases and faulty products, landlord issues, and discrimination.