Last Update for this page:  07/13/2012 06:05:28 PM

Selectman Pratt appears before her Board

Files complaint with Ethics Commission

Kevin Kohrt

December 7, 2005 "What can we do for you this evening Mrs. Pratt?" asked Chairman Eric Sonnet as Mary Pratt took the seat reserved for public comment at last night's Board of Selectmen meeting.

"Well, it's what you could have done for me, Mr. Sonnet," replied Mrs. Pratt. "I am extremely grieved to be here tonight," she continued, "but I just feel that the buck stops here and something has to be done about it."

She then described how, following the negative determination of the Fruit Street SSEIR by the the Executive Office of Environmental Affairs (EOEA), Paul Loscocco and Karen Spilka worked to set up a meeting with the EOEA to "work out ways to go forward to finalize a plan to receive MEPA's stamp of approval," as she described it (later confirmed by Eric Sonnet's report on the meeting).

"Paul Loscocco had told both Mrs Kramer and myself, previously, that we would be aware of such a meeting," claimed Mrs. Pratt. "Such a notice came via email to the Board of Selectmen's office to [Executive Secretary] Ted and [Executive Assistant] Geri, addressed to Eric Sonnet, regarding the date and time of such meeting and was received the afternoon before Thanksgiving."

Mrs. Pratt then quoted the email notice as saying of the meeting, "Please have the Board of Selectmen and Fruit Street Committee determine which members will be in attendance."

"In the past, and Ted knows it," Mrs. Pratt pointed out, when special meetings came up in which the Board is involved, "we're all emailed or telephoned ... and we negotiate."

But apparently none of this happened. Mrs. Pratt said she heard nothing about it until she received a message from Paul Loscocco late on Tuesday, November 29th, regarding the meeting arranged for that Thursday.

Upon taking it up with Ted Kozak, the Executive Secretary who had received the email notification, she discovered that, "not only were Muriel and I not notified, but the office was told not to discuss it with us."

But by Tuesday night it was too late to post the meeting with the requisite 48 hour advanced notice for it to be a public meeting and allow more than two Selectmen to attend without violating the Open Meeting law. Mrs. Pratt then explained that rather than see the meeting cancelled so as to reschedule it as an open public meeting, to "the embarrassment of the town of Hopkinton", she and Muriel reached the compromise with state agencies to send substitutes to represent them.

After the meeting, according to Mrs. Pratt, "Muriel did reach out and asked if she could meet with Ted to discuss it."

Mr. Kozak conferred with the rest of the Selectmen, resulting in a full page response from Mr. Clark to Mrs. Kramer, from which Mrs. Pratt quoted:

"The goal of the meeting was to make progress with MEPA and to understand what their concerns were. Mrs. Pratt and Mrs. Kramer and the rest of the Fruit St opponents are free to meet with MEPA on their own to advance their agenda of delay and denial."

Mrs. Pratt also stated, "Consequently because of this Muriel Kramer and I have filed a complaint to the Ethics Commission for determination of whether the open meeting law was violated and whether a minority of two on the board of selectmen can rule against two others because they don't agree with them."

"I've spent over thirty years volunteering for different things in this town," concluded Mrs. Pratt. "To be used the way I have been used, and Muriel too, really grieves me. And for that, I have no more to say."

There was no response from the Board.

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