Updated Jan. 27
The Tisbury board of selectmen canceled a Saturday meeting in Boston after the legality of the meeting was called into question.
If you wanted to attend that meeting, it would have required a ferry ride, a drive to Boston, parking at the Prudential Center, and finding the board on the third floor concourse of the Hynes Convention Center.
Selectman Jeff Kristal confirmed the meeting was canceled, but referred questions about it to the board’s chair Melinda Loberg. Loberg has not returned phone messages or an email about the meeting.
The board posted a meeting for Saturday at 12 noon with four agenda items including: Beach Road development projects, spring and summer festival schedule, committee mission statements and charges, and event planning. Though the meeting was posted with town clerk Hillary Conklin, it was not on the town’s website, and the typical email blasts of the agenda were not sent out.
The board was in Boston to attend the Massachusetts Municipal Association (MMA) annual meeting. The MMA brings together selectmen from across the state to talk about issues and legislation that could affect town governments.
There was a separate posting on the town clerk’s bulletin board, a posting Conklin described as a “CYA posting” for chance meetings, as well as discussions with the town’s attorney, to cover the board while they were at the convention. That’s something the board has done for years as a way to avoid violating the Open Meeting Law, Conklin said.
But it’s the posted meeting away from the Island that raised questions about the board’s motives. The Times spotted the posting at Tisbury Town Hall Friday.
“I was shocked,” said Lynne Fraker, who is an outspoken critic of the board. “I went into the town hall looking for something else, and saw that meeting posted. They’re talking about something very important, which is the charge of committees. That really concerns me.”
Fraker was talking about the natural resources committee, a fledgling board that’s having trouble finding its way and has recently asked selectmen for more direction.
Upon learning the board would convene in Boston, longtime Tisbury resident Len Morris said,
Reached Friday, selectman Jim Rogers declined to speak to the legality of the meeting, but said the board saw it as an opportunity to deal with some issues while all three are together. The board has had difficulty scheduling meetings of late where all three members can attend.
“Because we’re all going to be at the same place, we wanted to discuss a few things,” Rogers said. “We’re not trying to hide anything … I think I’ve shown I’m all about the people, the taxpayers, and I wouldn’t want to do anything that would jeopardize that.”
A spokesman for state Attorney General Maura Healey could not comment, but shared the process of filing a complaint. Under the state’s Open Meeting Law, a complaint is typically filed with the board, and if the response is unsatisfactory, an appeal can be filed with the AG’s office.
The Times has filed a complaint with the board about its scheduled meeting.
Updated with the fact that board did not meet as planned.