Closed meetings carry a cost
INTRO TEXT Municipal officials could be in for a rude—and costly—awakening if they don’t follow the letter of the law. The Open Meeting Law, that is.
Under bills now pending in the Legislature, a court could fine government bodies that contravene the statute up to $1,000 and each member attending the session up to $500. (Anyone who goes on record to oppose a violation of the law would be exempt from fines.) Current fines of up to $1,000 levied against local boards would be slapped on state boards as well.
The Massachusetts Newspaper Publishers Association backs the bills, sponsored by Rep. Antonio Cabral, a New Bedford Democrat, and Sen. Stephen Brewer, a Barre Democrat, as good-government devices that would give teeth to public disclosures mandates.