Municipal Law

Municipal law is the exercise of open government.  It requires notice, due process, and susceptibility to the public records law.  It regulates town and school district meetings.  Elections (both from the floor and under the Australian Ballot method) must be conducted according to law.  The entire process needs to be clear, including the wording of "warnings," and the conducting of the meetings themselves.  Cities, Towns and School Districts regularly have to deal with delicate and high-stakes privacy issues, in contexts like FERPA-protected education records, HIPAA-protected medical records, employee files, disciplinary proceedings, executive session.  They are have to respond, both correctly and promptly, to public record requests.  They have to preserve records (and in some cases destroy them) for (or after) a certain time.  The issues are complex, and recent legislation has mandated the award of attorney's fees to a successful plaintiff in an action against a defendant municipality for a violation of these laws.  The rapid turnover in select board and school board compositions is another reason that municipalities need to be committed to continuing education for board members.  I have extensive experience as a teacher/trainer/facilitator, and I encourage municipalities to consider locally-customized training sessions as a means of achieving both efficiency and effectiveness.