OPEN MEETING LAW COMPLAINT FORM

Office of the Attorney General One Ashburton Place Boston, MA 02108
Please note that all fields are required unless otherwise noted.

Your Contact Information:
First Name: Kevin

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State: MA

Last Name: Jourdain

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Address: 357 Jarvis Avenue City: Holyoke Phone Number: Email: Zip Code: 01040

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+ 1 (413) 539-8000

Ext.

Kevin.Jourdain@verizon.net

Organization or Media Affiliation (if any):

--------~----~-------------------------------

President, Holyoke City Council

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Public Body that is the subject of this complaint:

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Regional/District

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Name of Public Body (including city/ town, county or region, if applicable):

--~--------------------------------------------Board Commissioners Robert Mausel, Katherine Liptak, Patricia Mertes

Holyoke Board of Health

Specific person(s), if any, you allege committed the violation: Date of alleged violation: Ju19,2012

Page 1

Description of alleged violation:
Describe the alleged violation that this complaint the reasons supporting your belief. is about. If you believe the alleged violation was intentional, please say 50 and include

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Pleasesee attached letter.

What action do you want the public body to take in response to your complaint?
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has a maximum

of 500 characters.

(1) Rescind its vote of July 9, 2012 approving a needle exchange program in the City of Holyoke. (2) Properly notice the topic for a future meeting to afford the public and City Council the opportu nity to be present at this meeting.

Review, sign, and submit your complaint
Read this important notice and sign your complaint.
your complaint will be considered a public record and be available to any

Under most circumstances

member of the public upon request.

I understand that when I submit this complaint the Attorney General's Office cannot give me legal advice and cannot

act as

my personal lawyer. on this form is true to the best of my knowledge.

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Page 2

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Description of Alleged Violation

COUNCILOR-AT-LARGE KEVIN A. JOURDAIN 357 JARVIS AVENUE HOLYOKE,MA TEL (413) 538-5519 EMAIL:KEVIN.JOURDA1N@VERIZON.NET

The Board of Health posted a meeting notice (attached) for its regular meeting of July 9, 2012 listing the items that the Board was to act on at that meeting. This agenda did not state any mention of a discussion, deliberation or vote on the issue of granting "local approval" to a needle exchange program in the City of Holyoke under MOL Ch. III § 215. Please note that reference to a discussion of a needle kiosk program has nothing whatsoever to do with needle exchange it is an unrelated topic and appears as entirely separate item on meeting notice and minutes. _M.G.L. 30A requires that the list of topics must be sufficiently specific to reasonably inform the public of the issues to be discussed at the meeting. Firstly, there is no mention of adoption of a needle exchange program on the meeting notice. Secondly, the use of the term "other programs" clearly would lack the requisite sufficient specificity to meet the legal requirement. "Other programs" is so open a term as to potentially mean anything one could imagine. Without notice to the general public, the Board of Health while corporally convened discussed, deliberated and voted to approve a needle exchange program in the City of Holyoke. The Mayor, in attendance at this meeting, then immediately acted upon this unnoticed action to give his approval of their action to effectuate what both the Board of Health and the Mayor are purporting to be "local approval" of a needle exchange program. Tapestry Health, also with high ranking officials in attendance at this meeting, in light of the actions of this meeting have begun operating a needle exchange in the City of Holyoke. M.O.L. 30A requires the Chair, as of the time the notice is filed, to list the topics he or she reasonablyanticipates will be discussed at the meeting, Firstly, since the Board of Health took final action on the item at the first and only meeting it was discussed, it can be strongly inferred that the Chair reasonably anticipated the topic arising at that meeting and therefore the item should have been placed on the meeting notice among the topics to be discussed. Secondly, according to the minutes of the meeting (attached) no less than 11 individuals were present to advocate in favor of the Board adopting a needle exchange program. No one in opposition was present. Dr. Mausel, a Board of Health member, is even quoted in the minutes as wondering why no City Councilors were present because they were supposed to have been notified of the meeting. The Mayor wrongly claims members of the City Council were aware of the meeting. These

statements taken together clearly infer that the two individuals knew that needle exchange was to be discussed at the meeting. Thirdly, it is obvious that these 11 individuals and the membership of the Board of Health not only reasonably anticipated that needle exchange would be taken up at this meeting but were certain it would be brought up for discussion and a vote since no less than 8 of them spoke and made presentations in support of needle exchange. If the topic of needle exchange was not on the meeting notice then how did all of these individuals know to come to the meeting to speak and make presentations on the topic of needle exchange? Lastly, it should be noted that the Board of Health described their entire new business section of the meeting notice as only discussing topics for "informational/verbal" purposes. While this was true of the listed topics of needle kiosk and vaccine reimbursement, it was not the case for the unlisted needle exchange. Not only was needle exchange deliberated upon but it was acted upon with a full vote of the Board of Health. The open meeting law was violated not only in its word but in its spirit by the calculated actions of the parties involved. In sum, the topic of Needle Exchange should have been placed on the meeting notice and it was not. Moreover, the Board's actions effectively precluded public participation at the meeting and the ability of the public to attend and witness the discussion and participate like the 11 individuals who came to speak in favor of the Board's actions. It also precluded the public's opportunity to record the topic's discussion, if one chose to do that. Personally, I would have been present. I would have spoken in opposition to adoption of a needle exchange program if afforded the opportunity to speak like the proponents but I had no notice of the meeting as required by state law and our city ordinances. Even if provided with notice, because of the lack of specific specificity, I would have had no idea that needle exchange would have been up for discussion and a vote. In addition to the listed violation of MGL 30A, I allege a clear violation of Holyoke Code of Ordinances 2~59 which states in part, "All municipal boards whose members are appointed by the Mayor or the City Council shall send written notices of their meetings to the individual members of the City Council three days prior to any such meeting." The Board of Health produced a meeting notice on July 5,2012 and filed in with the City Clerk at 10:59am that day. This meeting notice was never sent to nor ever received by the members of the Holyoke City Council. This also is a clear violation of our city ordinances. I believe the Board's actions were intentional for the following reasons: (1) This topic has been discussed by the Board of Health in prior years and they are well aware of the controversial nature of the subject and the high level of interest the topic has in the public debate. Deliberating on it, voting on it and taking final action on the item without it being on the

meeting notice should have easily been anticipated to cause a public concern regarding the lack of transparency and opportunity for the public participation. This Board is composed of sophisticated members of the public who hold advanced degrees and who are required to have been trained in the open meeting law. (2) There have been two prior votes of the City Council and a prior public referendum opposing the action taken by the Board of Health at this meeting. in the city

The Board should have

reasonably anticipated that the topic is an issue of public concern and not a trivial matter. It can be reasonably inferred that the Board by keeping the topic off the meeting notice attempted to shield itself from public criticism and public attention that without question would have come if the item had been on the meeting notice and has been voiced publicly since their vote. (3) The Board is fully aware that Holyoke Code of Ordinances Section 2-59 requires the Board of Health like all Mayoral appointed Boards to provide the members of the City Council individually a copy of their meeting notice and that it must be sent 3 days in advance of the meeting. This was not done. (4) All of the circumstances and facts surrounding this meeting, taken in their totality, appear to

demonstrate a well-choreographed meeting designed intentionally to keep the public in the dark on the true purpose of the meeting, to advocate a one-sided position in favor of needle exchange with the specific goal of squashing known public opposition from the members of the City Council and general public. I call upon the Board of Health to immediately Sincerely, act upon and approve the requested remedy.

President Holyoke City Council

Attachments: Ex. A Notice of Board of Health Meeting - July 9, 2012 Ex. B Minutes of Meeting - July 9, 2012 Ex. C Holyoke Code of Ordinances 2-59

07-05-'12 10:49 FROM-HolyoKe Board Health
Mayor Alex B. Morse

4133225596

T-637 P0002/0002 F-523
Brian D. Fitzgerald, Director
Board of Health

City of Holyoke

NOTICE OF MEETING
TO:
FROM:

DATE: RE:

July 5,2012 July Board Meeting

Please be advised that a regular meeting of the Holyoke Board of Health will be held on:

Date:
Time: Place:

Monday, July 9,2012

12:00 p.m.

City Hall City Council Chambers

536 Dwight Street Holyoke, MA 01040 Please inform me if you will not be able to attend. Looking forward to seeing you there,

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~~--------------------------------~--------~~-----------------~~---CITY HALL ANNEX. 20 KOREAN VETERANS Pu\ZA " HOLYOKE, MASSACHUSETTS PHONE (413) 322·55950 FAX: (413) 322-5596 01040-5037

Birthplace of Volleyball

AGENDA BOARD OF HEALTH MEETING CITY COUNCIL CHAMBERS
JUl.Y 9, 2012 12:00 P.M. A. Call Meeting to Order
1. Katherine M. Liptak, RN, MSN, Chair, call the meeting to order at __

p.m.

B. Minutes: 1. Minutes of the Board Meeting held on June 11,2012.
C.

Departmental Reports;

1. Animal Control Report 2. Sanitarian's Report
3. Housing-Code Enforcement Report D. New Business: (Informational/Verbal)

1. Needle Kiosk Update / Other Programs 2. Vaccine Reimbursement Program

• Denotes Action to be taken by the Board

Addendum: The listing of matters of those reasonably anticipated by the Chair which may be discussed at the meeting. Not all items may in fact be discussed, and other items not listed may also be brought up for discussion to the extent permitted by law.

Agendo.7.9.12

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Sec. 2-59. - Notice to councilmembers of meetings of municipal boards; filing of agenda.
All municipal boards whose members are appointed by the mayor or the city council shall send written notices of their meetings to the individual members of the city council three days prior to any such meeting. An agenda of every such meeting shall also be filed in the office of the city clerk.