Hadley bylaw review panel under fire for having no records over 2-plus years

By SCOTT MERZBACH

Staff Writer

Published: 05-28-2023 11:29 AM

HADLEY — A committee charged by the Select Board with reviewing the town’s bylaws is facing a complaint that it is violating the state’s Open Meeting Law.

“They have never posted a meeting, an agenda, kept minutes or made their meetings available on the public access channel,” Susan Delmolino of River Drive writes in the complaint that was submitted to the state attorney general’s office on April 7.

The complaint also calls out the Select Board for not promulgating policies and procedures so the panel can be in compliance with the state law and failing to use the supervisory function of the town administrator to bring it into compliance.

“The failure to develop policy and procedures for OML, and then supervise the town administration for compliance with OML, indicates intentionality to circumvent OML,” Delmolinio wrote.

The Select Board met in executive session Monday to take up the matter. The board also met in executive session that evening with the Zoning Board of Appeals related to Valley Community Development’s appeal of the denial of its request under the state’s chapter 40B law to turn the EconoLodge hotel on Route 9 into affordable housing.

No immediate response was provided to the complaint by officials at Town Hall.

Though formed in December 2021, following a request by Town Administrator Carolyn Brennan in September 2021, it’s unclear what the Bylaw Committee has been doing. Last August, the Select Board proposed a charge of the Bylaw Committee that would allow it “to review current General Town of Hadley Bylaws and add, delete or amend as necessary to meet current and anticipated Town needs.”

At that time, Town Clerk Jessica Spanknebel and Planning Board Chairman Jim Maksimoski were named to serve as its co-chairs. Others appointed previously included Ann Hudson and Tim Neyhart, as community members, Dan Zdonek for the Board of Assessors, Mitch Kuc for the Police Department, Mike Spanknebel for the Fire Department, Tom Quinlan for building inspections and David Fill for the Select Board.

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Delmolinio is asking the Select Board to acknowledge errors have been made and develop a policy of professional development for elected and appointed officials, and that the Bylaw Committee summarize previous discussions in a taped meeting and that all future meetings be recorded by Hadley Media.

Scott Merzbach can be reached at smerzbach@gazettenet.com.]]>