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 Brian Falk

 Steve Madaus

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October 3, 2017
New Open Meeting Law Regulations Take Effect October 6th 
The Attorney General's new Open Meeting Law regulations have been finalized and will take effect on October 6th. The new regulations are available on the Attorney General's website, along with an updated Open Meeting Law Guide, new checklists, and revised certification materials.
The new regulations amend certain procedures regarding OML complaints, meeting notices, and other matters, as follows:
  • Mediation for Frequent Complainants: Public bodies may request mediation with a complainant who has filed five or more OML complaints with the same body or municipality within the previous 12 months. If the individual declines mediation, the AG may decline to review the complaint.

  • No Hearings Before Nullification or Reinstatement Orders: A hearing before an administrative law judge is no longer required prior to an order from the AG nullifying votes or reinstating employees. 
  • Website as the Sole Alternative Notice Location: Upon a decision by the chief executive of the municipality (or majority vote of a regional or district body), the municipal website may be used as the official location to post meeting notices. In the event of a website outage during the 48-hour notice period, the municipality has 6 business hours to restore service; otherwise, meetings must be rescheduled and reposted. 

  • Amended Notices: Notices that are amended with new information within 48 hours before a meeting must show the date and time of the amendment.

  • Past Violation Letters Provided to New Members: Clerks must provide new members of public bodies with copies of any determination letters issued by the AG over the last 5 years where the AG found that the public body violated the OML. This is in addition to other materials provided to members of public bodies upon appointment or election.

  • Timely Approval of Minutes: A public body may satisfy the requirement that meeting minutes must be approved in a "timely manner" by approving minutes within 30 days or within its next 3 regular meetings, whichever is later.

  • Simpler Remote Participation Standard: A chair may allow a member to join a meeting by remote participation upon finding that physical attendance is "unreasonably difficult," replacing the five factors for consideration (illness, disability, emergency, military service, and geographic distance).
If you have any questions, please contact Brian Falk.

Worcester Office
Mercantile Center 
100 Front Street
Worcester, MA  01608
t 508.791.8500
f 508.791.8502
Westborough Office
1800 West Park Drive
Suite 400
Westborough, MA  01581
t 508.898.1501
f 508.898.1502
Boston Office
175 Federal Street
Suite 1220
Boston, MA 02110

Mirick O'Connell is a full-service law firm with offices in Worcester, Westborough and Boston, Massachusetts.  The Firm's principal practice groups include Business;
Construction Law; Creditors' Rights, Bankruptcy and Reorganization; Elder Law; Family Law and Divorce; Health Law; Intellectual Property; Labor, Employment and Employee Benefits; Land Use and Environmental Law; Litigation; Personal Injury; Public and Municipal Law; and Trusts and Estates.
This client alert is intended to inform you of developments in the law and to provide information of general interest.  It is not intended to constitute legal advice regarding a client's specific legal issues and should not be relied upon as such.  This client alert may be considered advertising under the rules of the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court.