Citzens Should Use Open Meeting Law

Benjamin Franklin is credited with once stating, “It is the first responsibility of every citizen to question authority.”

Though not initially perceived by many, the general public has always been the main watchdog of governmental action, activities and decision-making at all levels.

It is the use of important civic mechanisms like the Massachusetts Open Meeting Law that helps keep state, regional, and local government both transparent and accountable. This in turn helps government to appropriately serve the persons it is meant to serve, the public itself.

Whether it is on Beacon Hill, at the county complex, or the municipal town hall, it is truly unfortunate that sometimes those in government appear to forget this very simple yet key fact, and why they are supposed to be there. They are supposed to be there to promote the public good, and protect the public interest.

If you believe that a public committee, board or commission meeting has been conducted improperly, or that resulting decisions may be contrary to the public interest, then it is time to file an official Open Meeting Law complaint, or make inquiries with the Attorney General’s Office, Division of Open government via

email at: openmeeting@state.ma.us or by phone at: (617) 963-2540.

Ron Beaty
Barnstable County Commissioner

About Ronald Beaty