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WVN #522: Raucous comment on firing

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  • waylandvoters1
    Dear Wayland Voter, Strong words flew during an extended public comment section, but the selectmen then got down to business, setting a fall Town Meeting date
    Message 1 of 3 , Sep 12, 2013
    • 0 Attachment

      Dear Wayland Voter,

      Strong words flew during an extended public comment section, but the selectmen then got down to business, setting a fall Town Meeting date and appointing an acting town administrator. They also prepared to defend against an Open Meeting Law complaint stemming from the sudden termination of the town administrator’s contract. 

      Also in this newsletter: A new agreement approved by the Board of Selectmen nearly halves  mitigation money for the Danforth housing project in Framingham and moves to terminate the rest of the 2005 negotiated settlement.  

      Raucous Comment

      Citizens packed the Large Hearing Room on Monday night to sound off about the dismissal of Town Administrator Fred Turkington two weeks before. During nearly an hour of public comment there was more heat than light, with most speakers clearly on the side of the three selectmen who voted for dismissal or the two who opposed it. Many comments were applauded despite attempts to maintain decorum.  The selectmen wrangled over ground rules for comment though it is the chairman’s job to conduct the meeting.  

      But some residents simply called for civility and unity, while others said they had no opinion about Turkington but believed the dismissal process was flawed. One citizen summed up the matter as being all about power, who has it and who wants to regain it.

      A resident who said he is a municipal lawyer elsewhere introduced an opinion that hadn’t been widely heard before. He criticized the three selectmen who voted for dismissal for failing to discuss Turkington’s performance. Though the three have said repeatedly that to do so would endanger the legal status of a firing “without cause,” the lawyer said discussion is permissible. 

      To supporters of veteran Selectmen Joe Nolan and Steve Correia, Turkington was invaluable in the town’s progress on important projects such as the Town Center and a proposed new public works building: Wayland is well run and achieving important goals.

      To supporters of Selectmen Tony Boschetto, Doug Leard and Ed Collins, the dismissal was an important step to return the town to a system in which, as one speaker put it, volunteers are in charge: in recent years Wayland tolerated rapidly rising taxes, shoddy accounting and secret transfers of millions of dollars.

      The one point of agreement was that since he was hired in 2005 Turkington had been a central figure.

      One speaker against the three selectmen promised political revenge.  

      Later in the evening, Selectman Nolan referred to written public comments received by email, asserting they were 25-1 against the board’s dismissal action.   By Monday, additional emails received in the office were provided to the Board.  Totals had increased to 38 against, 23 in support, not including correspondence selectmen received personally that were not copied to the office.   

      The conflict is being carried on in local media. Turkington is pictured by one side as indispensable. The other side sees him as acquiring so much power --  unjustified by his job description and the voted intent of the 2004 town meeting that established the town administrator position --  that he created many complications, difficulties and dissatisfaction.  

      Some public comments raised thoughtful questions, for example other procedures that could have produced a smoother, more orderly transition. 

      But in the days after the meeting there were still ad hominem attacks suggestive of the conspiracy theory raised in earlier letters about a “small group” plotting to take away everything good about Wayland.
      Former selectman Tom Fay published a letter in the Sept. 12 Wayland Town Crier essentially alleging that five citizens were involved somehow in a violation of the Open Meeting Law: “The plan (for the dismissal) was obviously communicated to George Harris, Kent George, Molly Upton, John Flaherty, and Peggy Patton beforehand. These Boschetto, Leard and Collins supporters were all present at the meeting, anxiously awaiting the moment Turkington was axed,” he wrote. 
      Fay’s letter didn’t mention the presence of other citizens in the room, nor the fact that one of those he named left before the motion was taken up. Molly Upton covered the meeting for Wayland Voters Network.
      The 3-1 vote on Aug. 26 made it clear that there was little possibility that Turkington’s contract would be renewed. The question becomes the best way to deal with that contract.  When Boschetto spoke to his motion that evening, and in a subsequently published personal statement, he explained why he believed termination without cause was best for both the Town and the employee.  
      On Aug. 26 either of the two selectmen in the minority could have moved to table the matter until a later meeting to allow time for discussion.  By angrily leaving the meeting, selectman Correia did not avail himself of that procedural option, one that seasoned board members are usually familiar with.    

      Next Steps

      The Board has invited department heads to meet with them during next Monday night’s meeting.  The selectmen also have invited the Personnel Board to discuss establishing the search process for a new town administrator.  At the Sept. 5 Personnel Board meeting, several members expressed concern that the board had not been consulted about terminating Turkington’s contract.  A review of its posted meeting minutes, however, shows no board discussion of the town administrator’s negotiated 2011 contract (with new benefits) nor the DPW director’s new contract negotiated with the town administrator in April 2012.  

      Fall Town Meeting

      Relations between the three selectmen and the two remained strained when public comment ended. Motion piled upon motion as the board got to work on something as simple as appointing John Senchyshyn as acting town administrator, which was authorized by the Aug. 26 motion for dismissal. Town counsel advised amending the wording.  

      Eventually the board put together a plan to search for a permanent replacement. Senchyshyn is a veteran who has been human resources director and Turkington’s right-hand man. He can remain in the acting role for up to six months, with a two month extension possible. 

      The selectmen were more amicable in voting to hold the next Town Meeting on Wednesday, Nov. 20 at 7:30 p.m. in the Wayland High School Field House.  The warrant has been opened for the submission of articles, due in the selectmen’s office by 4:30 p.m. on Sept. 19.  

      Proposed DPW Facility 

      The selectmen met during their six-hour meeting on Monday with officials planning to try again to get voter approval for a new Department of Public Works facility on River Road. The measure failed by only 10 votes in April. Given the decrepit condition of the current building near the Middle School, “We cannot not go ahead,” Nolan said. 

      Officials brushed off a planned appeal based on environmental law applicable to locating the  road to the building. The current access, River Road itself, was rejected because of objections by residents to heavy DPW truck traffic on their road, also a designated Scenic Road. The selectmen and Board of Public Works (BoPW) plan instead to beef up and extend the current dump access road from Route 20 to go around the landfill and enter the River Road site from the rear. 

      However, wetlands regulations allow disturbance of wetlands only if the alternatives are technically or economically unfeasible. If the Conservation Commission (ConCom), which is currently in the middle of its hearing process for the road, allows it anyway, this issue can be the basis of an appeal to the Department of Environmental Protection. If an appeal is filed, the status of the road could still be up in the air by Town Meeting time. 

      BoPW chairman Tom Abdella expressed hope that the ConCom would close the hearing on Sept. 12, despite awaiting archaeological and ceremonial study reports, which are not expected until the end of the month.  Town Counsel informed them that if an appeal is filed, no work can be done until the DEP acts to resolve it.  BoPW member Jon Mishara expressed a high level of confidence about the Route 20 access road. 

      But at its continued hearing on Sept. 12 the ConCom had just received revised plans responding to issues raised at the first hearing session and subsequently by its engineering peer review consultant. It also received follow-on public input regarding the definition of redevelopment in DEP’s regulations which might affect allowing the road at all. The hearing was continued again for another two weeks. 

      Open Meeting Law Inquiry   

      Hostility was open when the selectmen discussed how to respond to an accusation that Leard, Boschetto and Collins violated the Open Meeting Law (OML) in the way they dismissed Turkington (inadequate specificity in the posted meeting agenda).  Before Kim Reichelt, founder of Wayland eNews, submitted her OML complaint to the selectmen’s office on Sept. 3, the attorney general’s office decided to individually interview the selectmen. The selectmen are required to first respond to the complainant.  The regulations provide the opportunity for both parties to resolve the matter locally, if possible.  
      http://www.mass.gov/ago/government-resources/open-meeting-law/

      Nolan and Correia minimized the importance of the inquiry and vigorously opposed hiring special counsel at taxpayer expense. 

      Leard said an AG lawyer had already asked him if he would be accompanied by counsel.

      If you have nothing to hide, there’s no problem, said Correia, who had already been interviewed. When Boschetto asked him about sharing notes or recollections from the interview, Correia said he couldn’t remember. 

      Collins, an attorney, said he was indifferent on special counsel but said, “Walpole prison is full of people who had nothing to hide.”

      When Nolan repeated his opposition to hiring counsel when a case doesn’t yet exist, Boschetto shot back, “Joe, you just said that there could be a criminal investigation.” (Actually Correia had said it.)

      By a vote of 3-2, a motion to hire special counsel succeeded.

      -- WVN Staff


      DANFORTH MITIGATION MONEY REDUCED

      On Monday evening, the Board of Selectmen voted 4-0-1 to sign an agreement significantly reducing the mitigation Wayland will receive because of the proposed Danforth Green housing project just over the Framingham line off Old Connecticut Path.  

      The 2003 Town Meeting, with unanimous support of the Finance Committee, passed a resolution urging the selectmen to seek mitigation to protect Wayland from project impacts.  Developer Roy MacDowell Jr. and his sons have been trying for about 18 months to reduce the 2005 settlement for $1.45 million with the original developer (National Development) that resolved the Town of Wayland’s appeal of the Framingham Planning Board’s 2003 Special Permit.  

      In January the Board took the first step towards that outcome by voting 3-2 to approve authorizing former board chairman John Bladon to sign a memorandum of understanding calling for cutting the value of the Wayland settlement almost in half, down to $760,000.  That money provides for several items, including intersection improvements and traffic signals at West Plain Street and Old Connecticut Path.  Details were reported in prior newsletters, available at:  http://groups.yahoo.com/neo/groups/waylandvotersnetwork/conversations/topics/650
      http://groups.yahoo.com/neo/groups/waylandvotersnetwork/conversations/topics/654

      At the time, the developer was still seeking permits and approvals from various Framingham boards for a smaller project.  This new agreement would limit the size of the project to 353 units of housing --  market rate units and separately sited rental apartments to be built by a different developer.  In 2005, the negotiated $1.45 million settlement was based on 525 units, down from 665 units in the 2003 Special Permit.  

      The developer needed to have all permits in hand before Wayland would sign the proposed new agreement.  A Framingham resident then appealed variances granted to MacDowell by that town’s Zoning Board of Appeals.  Although that Land Court appeal was dismissed at the end of August, the resident still has rights to appeal to a higher court.  

      When asked about the status of another appeal, MacDowell seemed not to know, but he also tried to assure the Board that he expects that any additional appeal will also be dismissed.  He said he’s already applied for a building permit, and he spoke about wanting to get started as soon as possible on Wayland’s intersection improvements.  As in January, Selectman Joe Nolan advocated that the board approve the new agreement.  

      Selectman Tony Boschetto expressed concern, however, about risks he still sees in the termination language, and he ultimately abstained from voting.  

      Language in sections 5 and 6 of the new Agreement is similar to the January draft version, which had prompted concerns from several attorneys who participated in the original negotiations that led to the 2005 settlement.  Those sections spell out terms under which  MacDowell could exit from the new agreement and/or the prior one.    

      Section 6 includes:  “The Town hereby releases and waives any and all rights it may hold under the Prior Settlement Agreement…...the Town and Danforth acknowledge and agree that the Prior Settlement Agreement shall be deemed to be terminated and of no further force and effect…..”
      The process of the developer deeding 80+ acres between the aqueduct and the Sudbury River to Framingham for conservation protection referred to in the Agreement’s Section 1 is not completed.  In May, Framingham Town Meeting approved receiving the land, conditioned on the performance of an environmental cleanup, which is still in progress.  Framingham has not officially accepted the land yet.  The developer has advocated that protective outcome since he first began to meet publicly with town officials in 2012.      

      The Board’s voted approval Monday night was contingent upon town counsel’s final review of Exhibits accompanying section 5. 

      Wayland selectmen’s 2005 press release described the effort made to negotiate protective mitigation against the impacts of the proposed project:
      http://waylandwells.info/wp-content/uploads/2012/07/Press-Release-Danforth-Litigation-Settlement-19-January-2005.pdf

      -- Linda Segal 


      MEETINGS CALENDAR:  All meetings take place in Wayland Town Building unless otherwise indicated.  Click on the calendar date in the town website homepage to access posted meeting agendas:    http://www.wayland.ma.us/Pages/index

      Monday, Sept. 16:  Ten boards/committees are posted to meet

      Finance Committee, 6 p.m., warrant article for fall town meeting
      Trust Fund Commissioners, 6 p.m.
      Selectmen, 6:30 p.m., Executive session with WWMDC
      Wastewater Management District Commission, 6:30 p.m.
      Trees Protection Temporary Study Committee, 6:30 p.m.
      Personnel Board, 7 p.m.
      Board of Public Works, 7 p.m.
      Recreation Commission, 7 p.m.
      School Committee, 7 p.m. 
      Community Preservation Committee, 7:30 p.m., First Parish request for CPA funds

      Wednesday, Sept. 18:

      LEPC (local emergency planning), 8 a.m. (MORNING), Public Safety Building
      Library Trustees, 8 a.m. (MORNING), Wayland Public Library, Raytheon Room
      Public Ceremonies Committee, 7 p.m.

      Thursday, Sept. 19:

      All boards/committees posted for Open Meeting Law Training, 7 p.m., Large Hearing Room 

      ----------------------------------------------------------
      You can read all previous WVN newsletters at:
      http://groups.yahoo.com/group/waylandvotersnetwork/
      ==================================================
      To be sure you continue to receive WVN newsletters optimally and in your inbox
      (instead of bulk or junk folders) it may help to add to your address book or
      safe sender list:
      waylandvoters@...
      waylandvoters1@... .
      ==================================================
      Thank you for reading this WVN newsletter. Please forward it to your friends and
      neighbors in Wayland. If they want to receive their own copy, they can sign themselves up by
      sending a blank email to:
      waylandvotersnetwork-subscribe@yahoogroups.com
      Click reply and send after receiving an e-mail confirming the subscription.

      If you have questions, email mmshort1@....

      Wayland Voters Network
      Michael Short, Editor

               
    • waylandvoters1
      Dear Wayland Voter, Strong words flew during an extended public comment section, but the selectmen then got down to business, setting a fall Town Meeting date
      Message 2 of 3 , Sep 12, 2013
      • 0 Attachment

        Dear Wayland Voter,

        Strong words flew during an extended public comment section, but the selectmen then got down to business, setting a fall Town Meeting date and appointing an acting town administrator. They also prepared to defend against an Open Meeting Law complaint stemming from the sudden termination of the town administrator’s contract.

        Also in this newsletter: A new agreement approved by the Board of Selectmen nearly halves  mitigation money for the Danforth housing project in Framingham and moves to terminate the rest of the 2005 negotiated settlement.  

        Raucous Comment

        Citizens packed the Large Hearing Room on Monday night to sound off about the dismissal of Town Administrator Fred Turkington two weeks before. During nearly an hour of public comment there was more heat than light, with most speakers clearly on the side of the three selectmen who voted for dismissal or the two who opposed it. Many comments were applauded despite attempts to maintain decorum.  The selectmen wrangled over ground rules for comment though it is the chairman’s job to conduct the meeting.  

        But some residents simply called for civility and unity, while others said they had no opinion about Turkington but believed the dismissal process was flawed. One citizen summed up the matter as being all about power, who has it and who wants to regain it.

        A resident who said he is a municipal lawyer elsewhere introduced an opinion that hadn’t been widely heard before. He criticized the three selectmen who voted for dismissal for failing to discuss Turkington’s performance. Though the three have said repeatedly that to do so would endanger the legal status of a firing “without cause,” the lawyer said discussion is permissible.

        To supporters of veteran Selectmen Joe Nolan and Steve Correia, Turkington was invaluable in the town’s progress on important projects such as the Town Center and a proposed new public works building: Wayland is well run and achieving important goals.

        To supporters of Selectmen Tony Boschetto, Doug Leard and Ed Collins, the dismissal was an important step to return the town to a system in which, as one speaker put it, volunteers are in charge: in recent years Wayland tolerated rapidly rising taxes, shoddy accounting and secret transfers of millions of dollars.

        The one point of agreement was that since he was hired in 2005 Turkington had been a central figure.

        One speaker against the three selectmen promised political revenge.  

        Later in the evening, Selectman Nolan referred to written public comments received by email, asserting they were 25-1 against the board’s dismissal action.   By Monday, additional emails received in the office were provided to the Board.  Totals had increased to 38 against, 23 in support, not including correspondence selectmen received personally that were not copied to the office.   

        The conflict is being carried on in local media. Turkington is pictured by one side as indispensable. The other side sees him as acquiring so much power --  unjustified by his job description and the voted intent of the 2004 town meeting that established the town administrator position--  that he created many complications, difficulties and dissatisfaction.  

        Some public comments raised thoughtful questions, for example other procedures that could have produced a smoother, more orderly transition.

        But in the days after the meeting there were still ad hominem attacks suggestive of the conspiracy theory raised in earlier letters about a “small group” plotting to take away everything good about Wayland.
        Former selectman Tom Fay published a letter in the Sept. 12 Wayland Town Crier essentially alleging that five citizens were involved somehow in a violation of the Open Meeting Law: “The plan (for the dismissal) was obviously communicated to George Harris, Kent George, Molly Upton, John Flaherty, and Peggy Patton beforehand. These Boschetto, Leard and Collins supporters were all present at the meeting, anxiously awaiting the moment Turkington was axed,” he wrote.
        Fay’s letter didn’t mention the presence of other citizens in the room, nor the fact that one of those he namedleft before the motion was taken up. Molly Upton covered the meeting for Wayland Voters Network.
        The 3-1 vote on Aug. 26 made it clear that there was little possibility that Turkington’s contract would be renewed. The question becomes the best way to deal with that contract.  When Boschetto spoke to his motion that evening, and in a subsequently published personal statement, he explained why he believed termination without cause was best for both the Town and the employee.  
        On Aug. 26 either of the two selectmen in the minority could have moved to table the matter until a later meeting to allow time for discussion.  By angrilyleaving the meeting, selectman Correia did not avail himself of that procedural option, one that seasoned board members are usually familiar with.    

        Next Steps

        The Board has invited department heads to meet with them during next Monday night’s meeting.  The selectmen also haveinvited the Personnel Board to discuss establishing the search process for a new town administrator.  At the Sept. 5 Personnel Board meeting, several members expressed concern that the board had not been consulted about terminating Turkington’s contract.  A review of its posted meeting minutes, however, shows no board discussion of the town administrator’s negotiated 2011 contract (with new benefits) nor the DPW director’s new contract negotiated with the town administrator in April 2012.  
        Fall Town Meeting

        Relations between the three selectmen and the two remained strained when public comment ended. Motion piled upon motion as the board got to work on something as simple as appointing John Senchyshyn as acting town administrator, which was authorized by the Aug. 26 motion for dismissal. Town counsel advised amending the wording.  

        Eventually the board put together a plan to search for a permanent replacement. Senchyshyn is a veteran who has been human resources director and Turkington’s right-hand man. He can remain in the acting role for up to six months, with a two month extension possible.

        The selectmen were more amicable in voting to hold the next Town Meeting on Wednesday, Nov. 20 at 7:30 p.m. in the Wayland High School Field House.  The warrant has been opened for the submission of articles, due in the selectmen’s office by 4:30 p.m. on Sept. 19.  

        Proposed DPW Facility

        The selectmen met during their six-hour meeting on Monday with officials planning to try again to get voter approval for a new Department of Public Works facility on River Road. The measure failed by only 10 votes in April. Given the decrepit condition of the current building near the Middle School, “We cannot not go ahead,” Nolan said.

        Officials brushed off a planned appeal based on environmental law applicable to locating the  road to the building. The current access, River Road itself, was rejected because of objections by residents to heavy DPW truck traffic on their road, also a designated Scenic Road. The selectmen and Board of Public Works (BoPW) plan instead to beef up and extend the current dump access road from Route 20 to go around the landfill and enter the River Road site from the rear.

        However, wetlands regulations allow disturbance of wetlands only if the alternatives are technically or economically unfeasible. If the Conservation Commission (ConCom), which is currently in the middle of its hearing process for the road, allows it anyway, this issue can be the basis of an appealto the Department of Environmental Protection. If an appeal is filed, the status of the road could still be up in the air by Town Meeting time.

        BoPW chairman Tom Abdella expressed hope that the ConCom would close the hearing on Sept. 12, despite awaiting archaeological and ceremonial study reports, which are not expected until the end of the month.  Town Counsel informed them that if an appeal is filed, no work can be done until the DEP acts to resolve it.  BoPW member Jon Mishara expressed a high level of confidence about the Route 20 access road.

        But at its continued hearing on Sept. 12 the ConCom had just received revised plans responding to issues raised at the first hearing session and subsequently by its engineering peer review consultant. It also received follow-on public input regarding the definition of redevelopment in DEP’s regulations which might affect allowing the road at all. The hearing was continued again for another two weeks.

        Open Meeting Law Inquiry   

        Hostility was open when the selectmen discussed how to respond to an accusation that Leard, Boschetto and Collins violated the Open Meeting Law (OML)in the way they dismissed Turkington (inadequate specificity in the posted meeting agenda).  Before Kim Reichelt, founder of Wayland eNews, submitted her OML complaint to the selectmen’s office on Sept. 3, the attorney general’s office decided to individually interview the selectmen. The selectmen are required to first respond to the complainant.  The regulations provide the opportunity for both parties to resolve the matter locally, if possible.  
        http://www.mass.gov/ago/government-resources/open-meeting-law/

        Nolan and Correia minimized the importance of the inquiry and vigorously opposed hiring special counsel at taxpayer expense.

        Leard said an AG lawyer had already asked him if he would be accompanied by counsel.

        If you have nothing to hide, there’s no problem, said Correia, who had already been interviewed. When Boschetto asked him about sharing notes or recollections from the interview, Correia said he couldn’t remember.

        Collins, an attorney, said he was indifferent on special counsel but said, “Walpole prison is full of people who had nothing to hide.”

        When Nolan repeated his opposition to hiring counsel when a case doesn’t yet exist, Boschetto shot back, “Joe, you just said that there could be a criminal investigation.” (Actually Correia had said it.)

        By a vote of 3-2, a motion to hire special counsel succeeded.

        -- WVN Staff


        DANFORTH MITIGATION MONEY REDUCED

        On Monday evening, the Board of Selectmen voted 4-0-1 to sign an agreement significantly reducing the mitigation Wayland will receive because of the proposed Danforth Green housing project just over the Framingham line off Old Connecticut Path.  

        The 2003 Town Meeting, with unanimous support of the Finance Committee, passed a resolution urging the selectmento seek mitigation to protect Wayland from project impacts.  Developer Roy MacDowell Jr. and his sons have been trying for about 18 months to reduce the 2005 settlement for $1.45 million with the original developer (National Development) that resolved the Town of Wayland’s appeal of the Framingham Planning Board’s 2003 Special Permit.  

        In January the Board took the first step towards that outcome by voting 3-2 to approve authorizing former board chairman John Bladon to sign a memorandum of understanding calling for cutting the value of the Wayland settlement almost in half, down to $760,000.  That money provides for several items, including intersection improvements and traffic signals at West Plain Street and Old Connecticut Path.  Details were reported in prior newsletters, available at:  http://groups.yahoo.com/neo/groups/waylandvotersnetwork/conversations/topics/650
        http://groups.yahoo.com/neo/groups/waylandvotersnetwork/conversations/topics/654

        At the time, the developer was still seeking permits and approvals from various Framingham boards for a smaller project.  This new agreement would limit the size of the project to 353 units of housing--  market rate units and separately sited rental apartments to be built by a different developer.  In 2005, the negotiated $1.45 million settlement was based on 525 units, down from 665 units in the 2003 Special Permit.  

        The developer needed to have all permits in hand before Wayland would sign the proposed new agreement.  A Framingham resident then appealed variances granted to MacDowell by that town’s Zoning Board of Appeals.  Although that Land Court appeal was dismissed at the end of August, the resident still has rights to appeal to a higher court.  

        When asked about the status of another appeal, MacDowell seemed not to know, but he also tried to assure the Board that he expects that any additional appeal will also be dismissed.  He said he’s already applied for a building permit, and he spoke about wanting to get started as soon as possible on Wayland’s intersection improvements.  As in January, Selectman Joe Nolan advocated that the board approve the new agreement.  

        Selectman Tony Boschetto expressed concern, however, about risks he still sees in the termination language, and he ultimately abstained from voting.  

        Language in sections 5 and 6 of the new Agreement is similar to the January draft version, which had prompted concerns from several attorneys who participated in the original negotiations that led to the 2005 settlement.  Those sections spell out terms under which  MacDowell could exit from the new agreement and/or the prior one.    

        Section 6 includes:  “The Town hereby releases and waives any and all rights it may hold under the Prior Settlement Agreement…...the Town and Danforth acknowledge and agree that the Prior Settlement Agreement shall be deemed to be terminated and of no further force and effect…..”

        The process of the developer deeding 80+ acres between the aqueduct and the Sudbury River to Framingham for conservation protection referred to in the Agreement’s Section 1 is not completed.  In May, Framingham Town Meeting approved receiving the land, conditioned on the performance of an environmental cleanup, which is still in progress.  Framingham has not officially accepted the land yet.  The developer has advocated that protective outcome since he first began to meet publicly with town officials in 2012.      

        The Board’s voted approval Monday night was contingent upon town counsel’s final review of Exhibits accompanying section 5.

        Wayland selectmen’s 2005 press release described the effort made to negotiate protective mitigation against the impacts of the proposed project:
        http://waylandwells.info/wp-content/uploads/2012/07/Press-Release-Danforth-Litigation-Settlement-19-January-2005.pdf

        -- Linda Segal


        MEETINGS CALENDAR:  All meetings take place in Wayland Town Building unless otherwise indicated.  Click on the calendar date in the town website homepage to access posted meeting agendas:    http://www.wayland.ma.us/Pages/index

        Monday, Sept. 16:  Ten boards/committees are posted to meet

        Finance Committee, 6 p.m., warrant article for fall town meeting
        Trust Fund Commissioners, 6 p.m.
        Selectmen, 6:30 p.m., Executive session with WWMDC
        Wastewater Management District Commission, 6:30 p.m.
        Trees Protection Temporary Study Committee, 6:30 p.m.
        Personnel Board, 7 p.m.
        Board of Public Works, 7 p.m.
        Recreation Commission, 7 p.m.
        School Committee, 7 p.m.
        Community Preservation Committee, 7:30 p.m., First Parish request for CPA funds

        Wednesday, Sept. 18:

        LEPC (local emergency planning), 8 a.m. (MORNING), Public Safety Building
        Library Trustees, 8 a.m. (MORNING), Wayland Public Library, Raytheon Room
        Public Ceremonies Committee, 7 p.m.

        Thursday, Sept. 19:

        All boards/committees posted for Open Meeting Law Training, 7 p.m., Large Hearing Room

        ----------------------------------------------------------
        You can read all previous WVN newsletters at:
        http://groups.yahoo.com/group/waylandvotersnetwork/
        ==================================================
        To be sure you continue to receive WVN newsletters optimally and in your inbox
        (instead of bulk or junk folders) it may help to add to your address book or
        safe sender list:
        waylandvoters@...
        waylandvoters1@....
        ==================================================
        Thank you for reading this WVN newsletter. Please forward it to your friends and
        neighbors in Wayland. If they want to receive their own copy, they can sign themselves up by
        sending a blank email to:
        waylandvotersnetwork-subscribe@yahoogroups.com
        Click reply and send after receiving an e-mail confirming the subscription.

        If you have questions, email mmshort1@....

        Wayland Voters Network
        Michael Short, Editor

           
      • waylandvoters1
        Dear Wayland Voter, Strong words flew during an extended public comment section, but the selectmen then got down to business, setting a fall Town Meeting date
        Message 3 of 3 , Sep 12, 2013
        • 0 Attachment

          Dear Wayland Voter,

          Strong words flew during an extended public comment section, but the selectmen then got down to business, setting a fall Town Meeting date and appointing an acting town administrator. They also prepared to defend against an Open Meeting Law complaint stemming from the sudden termination of the town administrator’s contract. 

          Also in this newsletter: A new agreement approved by the Board of Selectmen nearly halves  mitigation money for the Danforth housing project in Framingham and moves to terminate the rest of the 2005 negotiated settlement.  

          Raucous Comment

          Citizens packed the Large Hearing Room on Monday night to sound off about the dismissal of Town Administrator Fred Turkington two weeks before. During nearly an hour of public comment there was more heat than light, with most speakers clearly on the side of the three selectmen who voted for dismissal or the two who opposed it. Many comments were applauded despite attempts to maintain decorum.  The selectmen wrangled over ground rules for comment though it is the chairman’s job to conduct the meeting.  

          But some residents simply called for civility and unity, while others said they had no opinion about Turkington but believed the dismissal process was flawed. One citizen summed up the matter as being all about power, who has it and who wants to regain it.

          A resident who said he is a municipal lawyer elsewhere introduced an opinion that hadn’t been widely heard before. He criticized the three selectmen who voted for dismissal for failing to discuss Turkington’s performance. Though the three have said repeatedly that to do so would endanger the legal status of a firing “without cause,” the lawyer said discussion is permissible. 

          To supporters of veteran Selectmen Joe Nolan and Steve Correia, Turkington was invaluable in the town’s progress on important projects such as the Town Center and a proposed new public works building: Wayland is well run and achieving important goals.

          To supporters of Selectmen Tony Boschetto, Doug Leard and Ed Collins, the dismissal was an important step to return the town to a system in which, as one speaker put it, volunteers are in charge: in recent years Wayland tolerated rapidly rising taxes, shoddy accounting and secret transfers of millions of dollars.

          The one point of agreement was that since he was hired in 2005 Turkington had been a central figure.

          One speaker against the three selectmen promised political revenge.  

          Later in the evening, Selectman Nolan referred to written public comments received by email, asserting they were 25-1 against the board’s dismissal action.   By Monday, additional emails received in the office were provided to the Board.  Totals had increased to 38 against, 23 in support, not including correspondence selectmen received personally that were not copied to the office.   

          The conflict is being carried on in local media. Turkington is pictured by one side as indispensable. The other side sees him as acquiring so much power --  unjustified by his job description and the voted intent of the 2004 town meeting that established the town administrator position --  that he created many complications, difficulties and dissatisfaction.  

          Some public comments raised thoughtful questions, for example other procedures that could have produced a smoother, more orderly transition. 

          But in the days after the meeting there were still ad hominem attacks suggestive of the conspiracy theory raised in earlier letters about a “small group” plotting to take away everything good about Wayland.
          Former selectman Tom Fay published a letter in the Sept. 12 Wayland Town Crier essentially alleging that five citizens were involved somehow in a violation of the Open Meeting Law: “The plan (for the dismissal) was obviously communicated to George Harris, Kent George, Molly Upton, John Flaherty, and Peggy Patton beforehand. These Boschetto, Leard and Collins supporters were all present at the meeting, anxiously awaiting the moment Turkington was axed,” he wrote. 
          Fay’s letter didn’t mention the presence of other citizens in the room, nor the fact that one of those he named left before the motion was taken up. Molly Upton covered the meeting for Wayland Voters Network.
          The 3-1 vote on Aug. 26 made it clear that there was little possibility that Turkington’s contract would be renewed. The question becomes the best way to deal with that contract.  When Boschetto spoke to his motion that evening, and in a subsequently published personal statement, he explained why he believed termination without cause was best for both the Town and the employee.  
          On Aug. 26 either of the two selectmen in the minority could have moved to table the matter until a later meeting to allow time for discussion.  By angrily leaving the meeting, selectman Correia did not avail himself of that procedural option, one that seasoned board members are usually familiar with.    

          Next Steps

          The Board has invited department heads to meet with them during next Monday night’s meeting.  The selectmen also have invited the Personnel Board to discuss establishing the search process for a new town administrator.  At the Sept. 5 Personnel Board meeting, several members expressed concern that the board had not been consulted about terminating Turkington’s contract.  A review of its posted meeting minutes, however, shows no board discussion of the town administrator’s negotiated 2011 contract (with new benefits) nor the DPW director’s new contract negotiated with the town administrator in April 2012.  

          Fall Town Meeting

          Relations between the three selectmen and the two remained strained when public comment ended. Motion piled upon motion as the board got to work on something as simple as appointing John Senchyshyn as acting town administrator, which was authorized by the Aug. 26 motion for dismissal. Town counsel advised amending the wording.  

          Eventually the board put together a plan to search for a permanent replacement. Senchyshyn is a veteran who has been human resources director and Turkington’s right-hand man. He can remain in the acting role for up to six months, with a two month extension possible. 

          The selectmen were more amicable in voting to hold the next Town Meeting on Wednesday, Nov. 20 at 7:30 p.m. in the Wayland High School Field House.  The warrant has been opened for the submission of articles, due in the selectmen’s office by 4:30 p.m. on Sept. 19.  

          Proposed DPW Facility 

          The selectmen met during their six-hour meeting on Monday with officials planning to try again to get voter approval for a new Department of Public Works facility on River Road. The measure failed by only 10 votes in April. Given the decrepit condition of the current building near the Middle School, “We cannot not go ahead,” Nolan said. 

          Officials brushed off a planned appeal based on environmental law applicable to locating the  road to the building. The current access, River Road itself, was rejected because of objections by residents to heavy DPW truck traffic on their road, also a designated Scenic Road. The selectmen and Board of Public Works (BoPW) plan instead to beef up and extend the current dump access road from Route 20 to go around the landfill and enter the River Road site from the rear. 

          However, wetlands regulations allow disturbance of wetlands only if the alternatives are technically or economically unfeasible. If the Conservation Commission (ConCom), which is currently in the middle of its hearing process for the road, allows it anyway, this issue can be the basis of an appeal to the Department of Environmental Protection. If an appeal is filed, the status of the road could still be up in the air by Town Meeting time. 

          BoPW chairman Tom Abdella expressed hope that the ConCom would close the hearing on Sept. 12, despite awaiting archaeological and ceremonial study reports, which are not expected until the end of the month.  Town Counsel informed them that if an appeal is filed, no work can be done until the DEP acts to resolve it.  BoPW member Jon Mishara expressed a high level of confidence about the Route 20 access road. 

          But at its continued hearing on Sept. 12 the ConCom had just received revised plans responding to issues raised at the first hearing session and subsequently by its engineering peer review consultant. It also received follow-on public input regarding the definition of redevelopment in DEP’s regulations which might affect allowing the road at all. The hearing was continued again for another two weeks. 

          Open Meeting Law Inquiry   

          Hostility was open when the selectmen discussed how to respond to an accusation that Leard, Boschetto and Collins violated the Open Meeting Law (OML) in the way they dismissed Turkington (inadequate specificity in the posted meeting agenda).  Before Kim Reichelt, founder of Wayland eNews, submitted her OML complaint to the selectmen’s office on Sept. 3, the attorney general’s office decided to individually interview the selectmen. The selectmen are required to first respond to the complainant.  The regulations provide the opportunity for both parties to resolve the matter locally, if possible.  
          http://www.mass.gov/ago/government-resources/open-meeting-law/

          Nolan and Correia minimized the importance of the inquiry and vigorously opposed hiring special counsel at taxpayer expense. 

          Leard said an AG lawyer had already asked him if he would be accompanied by counsel.

          If you have nothing to hide, there’s no problem, said Correia, who had already been interviewed. When Boschetto asked him about sharing notes or recollections from the interview, Correia said he couldn’t remember. 

          Collins, an attorney, said he was indifferent on special counsel but said, “Walpole prison is full of people who had nothing to hide.”

          When Nolan repeated his opposition to hiring counsel when a case doesn’t yet exist, Boschetto shot back, “Joe, you just said that there could be a criminal investigation.” (Actually Correia had said it.)

          By a vote of 3-2, a motion to hire special counsel succeeded.

          -- WVN Staff


          DANFORTH MITIGATION MONEY REDUCED

          On Monday evening, the Board of Selectmen voted 4-0-1 to sign an agreement significantly reducing the mitigation Wayland will receive because of the proposed Danforth Green housing project just over the Framingham line off Old Connecticut Path.  

          The 2003 Town Meeting, with unanimous support of the Finance Committee, passed a resolution urging the selectmen to seek mitigation to protect Wayland from project impacts.  Developer Roy MacDowell Jr. and his sons have been trying for about 18 months to reduce the 2005 settlement for $1.45 million with the original developer (National Development) that resolved the Town of Wayland’s appeal of the Framingham Planning Board’s 2003 Special Permit.  

          In January the Board took the first step towards that outcome by voting 3-2 to approve authorizing former board chairman John Bladon to sign a memorandum of understanding calling for cutting the value of the Wayland settlement almost in half, down to $760,000.  That money provides for several items, including intersection improvements and traffic signals at West Plain Street and Old Connecticut Path.  Details were reported in prior newsletters, available at:  http://groups.yahoo.com/neo/groups/waylandvotersnetwork/conversations/topics/650
          http://groups.yahoo.com/neo/groups/waylandvotersnetwork/conversations/topics/654

          At the time, the developer was still seeking permits and approvals from various Framingham boards for a smaller project.  This new agreement would limit the size of the project to 353 units of housing --  market rate units and separately sited rental apartments to be built by a different developer.  In 2005, the negotiated $1.45 million settlement was based on 525 units, down from 665 units in the 2003 Special Permit.  

          The developer needed to have all permits in hand before Wayland would sign the proposed new agreement.  A Framingham resident then appealed variances granted to MacDowell by that town’s Zoning Board of Appeals.  Although that Land Court appeal was dismissed at the end of August, the resident still has rights to appeal to a higher court.  

          When asked about the status of another appeal, MacDowell seemed not to know, but he also tried to assure the Board that he expects that any additional appeal will also be dismissed.  He said he’s already applied for a building permit, and he spoke about wanting to get started as soon as possible on Wayland’s intersection improvements.  As in January, Selectman Joe Nolan advocated that the board approve the new agreement.  

          Selectman Tony Boschetto expressed concern, however, about risks he still sees in the termination language, and he ultimately abstained from voting.  

          Language in sections 5 and 6 of the new Agreement is similar to the January draft version, which had prompted concerns from several attorneys who participated in the original negotiations that led to the 2005 settlement.  Those sections spell out terms under which  MacDowell could exit from the new agreement and/or the prior one.    

          Section 6 includes:  “The Town hereby releases and waives any and all rights it may hold under the Prior Settlement Agreement…...the Town and Danforth acknowledge and agree that the Prior Settlement Agreement shall be deemed to be terminated and of no further force and effect…..”
          The process of the developer deeding 80+ acres between the aqueduct and the Sudbury River to Framingham for conservation protection referred to in the Agreement’s Section 1 is not completed.  In May, Framingham Town Meeting approved receiving the land, conditioned on the performance of an environmental cleanup, which is still in progress.  Framingham has not officially accepted the land yet.  The developer has advocated that protective outcome since he first began to meet publicly with town officials in 2012.      

          The Board’s voted approval Monday night was contingent upon town counsel’s final review of Exhibits accompanying section 5. 

          Wayland selectmen’s 2005 press release described the effort made to negotiate protective mitigation against the impacts of the proposed project:
          http://waylandwells.info/wp-content/uploads/2012/07/Press-Release-Danforth-Litigation-Settlement-19-January-2005.pdf

          -- Linda Segal 


          MEETINGS CALENDAR:  All meetings take place in Wayland Town Building unless otherwise indicated.  Click on the calendar date in the town website homepage to access posted meeting agendas:    http://www.wayland.ma.us/Pages/index

          Monday, Sept. 16:  Ten boards/committees are posted to meet

          Finance Committee, 6 p.m., warrant article for fall town meeting
          Trust Fund Commissioners, 6 p.m.
          Selectmen, 6:30 p.m., Executive session with WWMDC
          Wastewater Management District Commission, 6:30 p.m.
          Trees Protection Temporary Study Committee, 6:30 p.m.
          Personnel Board, 7 p.m.
          Board of Public Works, 7 p.m.
          Recreation Commission, 7 p.m.
          School Committee, 7 p.m. 
          Community Preservation Committee, 7:30 p.m., First Parish request for CPA funds

          Wednesday, Sept. 18:

          LEPC (local emergency planning), 8 a.m. (MORNING), Public Safety Building
          Library Trustees, 8 a.m. (MORNING), Wayland Public Library, Raytheon Room
          Public Ceremonies Committee, 7 p.m.

          Thursday, Sept. 19:

          All boards/committees posted for Open Meeting Law Training, 7 p.m., Large Hearing Room 

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          Wayland Voters Network
          Michael Short, Editor

                   
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