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Officials to learn about FOIA.

Byline: Sarah L. Hamby

PUTNAM - Several town officials, including selectmen, are being required to participate in a Freedom of Information Act workshop as part of a settlement of a complaint filed in July by Putnam resident James Brezniak.

Mr. Brezniak, a retired state police officer, filed the complaint with the Freedom of Information Commission because he was concerned that a board meeting took place at 7 p.m. April 21, a Monday, although the meeting had not been posted. The board regularly holds meetings on the third Monday of each month at that time, but posting of the meeting is still legally required.

During that meeting, the board voted to send two items to a town meeting, which was to be held at 7:30 p.m. May 19. Those two items involved the 2008 Neighborhood Assistance Act and the Putnam Middle School Roof Committee.

Subsequently, two additional items were added to the town meeting warrant without proper public notice. The two items dealt with the repeal of town ordinances, one which requires that the Board of Education be located in the Town Hall and one regarding eminent domain. No board meeting was held to add the two additional items to the warrant.

The town meeting was canceled May 9 because of the lack of posting and it was never rescheduled.

As part of the settlement, selectmen acknowledged the board had violated the Freedom of Information Act. they also agreed to strictly abide by the law and to attend an Freedom of Information Act workshop conducted by the commission staff within 60 days of the final decision, which is dated Oct. 8.

Mr. Brezniak withdrew his complaint and both parties were commended by the commission for their ability to reach a settlement without full adjudication.


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Title Annotation:LOCAL NEWS
Publication:Telegram & Gazette (Worcester, MA)
Date:Oct 29, 2008
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