The third webinar in the Massachusetts Select Board Association Leadership Conference series covered open meetings, public records and municipal finance. Speakers included (clockwise from top left) Cohasset Select Board Member Diane Kennedy, Arlington Deputy Town Manager Sandy Pooler and KP Law Managing Partner Lauren Goldberg.

The Massachusetts Select Board Association today held the third webinar in this year’s Leadership Conference series.

The webinar was an “ask the experts” session for newly elected select board members, covering the topics of open meeting and public records laws and municipal finance.

This session was a follow up to the Open Meeting and Public Records Laws 101 and Municipal Finance 101 trainings that were offered during last year’s virtual conference and are now available on-demand. (Attendees were asked to watch the on-demand recordings of last year’s sessions prior to attending today’s webinar.)

Arlington Deputy Town Manager Sandy Pooler began the session with a brief review of some of the key aspects of municipal finance that are important for select board members to consider, including the link between the budget document and policy, the roles of select boards, finance committees, and municipal staff in budgeting and policy development, and the six key management steps for producing a budget, derived from the Division of Local Services’ Guide to Financial Management for Town Officials.

Pooler fielded questions on subjects like capital budgeting, budgeting for regional school districts, planning and budgeting in the time of ARPA (federal American Rescue Plan Act), timelines for reviewing contracts and expenditures, and the role of community preservation commission funds in budgeting.

The second half of the webinar featured an update from K.P. Law Managing Partner Lauren Goldberg about emerging issues with the open meeting and public records laws. Goldberg discussed legal issues with municipal use of social media, the application of the open meeting law to emails, and Chapter 20 0f the Acts of 2021, which extended provisions for public bodies to meet remotely.

Goldberg responded to questions about the open meeting and public records laws, including rules around serial communications, board member recusal from agenda items, meeting posting requirements, and cross-committee meeting requirements.

More than 65 select board members attended the webinar.

The free MSA Leadership Conference webinar series will continue on July 28 on the Future of Public Meetings.

Division of Local Services’ Municipal Finance Training and Resource Center
DLS Guide to Financial Management for Town Officials
Extension of Pandemic-Related Relief Relative to Municipal Operations, KP Law
Participation in Executive Session, KP Law
Reviewing Proposed Amendments to Bylaws and Ordinances, KP Law
Open Meeting Law – Preparing a Meeting Notice, KP Law
Public Records Law Update, KP Law
The Open Meeting Law and Social Media – Potential Pitfalls, KP Law

Open Meeting Law and Public Records Law: Technology and Emerging Issues – KP LAW presentation (243K PDF)

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