Monday, September 30, 2013

Cambridge City Council Passes Orders Contrary to Law. Are They Valid?

Published September 23, 2013 11:16 AM ET; Last updated September 30, 2013 7:57 PM ET

[This letter was published in the Cambridge Chronicle Thursday, September 26, 2013 print edition at page A11, and online at

See my comments on Council order to have City Council learn Robert's Rule's of Order and their own rules in this video clip

In "Highlights from the City Council meeting," September 12, 2013, Erin Baldassari reported "the Attorney General [of Massachusetts], ruled in June [2013] that [the Council was] violating open meeting laws by co-sponsoring policy orders before voting on them." Not reported is how far back do these violations go? If the orders going back some months, years are illegal are they valid?

A related matter is the failure of the City Council to run its meetings according to its own rules, e.g., according to Robert's Rules of Order. About 7 years ago I reminded the Council repeatedly that they were not obeying their own rules. The response was to tell me I was violating a rule that they 

never enforced. 


Does the Council's weekly work have any legal worth? Why is the City Council permitted to violate Due Process requirements and the Open Meeting Law? Does the Council operate under direction of the President and Fellows of Harvard College, with permission to ignore inconvenient laws as long as they do not anger their master?

60 SECONDS: Highlights from the Cambridge City Council meeting Sept. 9
By Erin Baldassari ebaldassari (at)
Cambridge Chronicle
Posted Sep 13, 2013 @ 11:08 AM

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