May 24

[5.24.16] – After months of public deliberations, a conference committee charged with ironing-out differences between competing House and Senate public records law packages released a compromise bill earlier today that is expected to be voted by the House Wednesday.  The conference committee report reflects several areas pushed by MMLA and included language that requires that a request be made in writing, ensures that time spent by legal counsel assisting with the production of public records is reimbursed, and maintains a level of judicial discretion as it relates to the award of attorneys’ fees and damages.  The bill requires that cities and towns comply with a request or render a response within 10 business days, and provides as many as 55 business days to comply with the law under certain circumstances and if granted by the supervisor of public records.  MMLA will prepare a thorough analysis of the legislation – please visit this website for additional updates and information.

May 07

On  May 19th at The Chateau in Westborough MMLA’s May Monthly Meeting held a program entitled “Community Preservation Act – Adoption, Amendment, Revocation, Implementation”.  Presenters for this program were Patricia Hunt and Kathleen Colleary, both from the DOR and Mark Cerel, Franklin Town Attorney and Medfield Town Counsel.

Continue reading »

Apr 14

SIXTH ANNUAL PUBLIC CONSTRUCTION UPDATE CONFERENCE

 Secrets of a Successful Public Construction Project:
Working with Outside Professionals from Design through Project Close-Out

 Thursday, April 28, 2016 3:00 p.m. – 9:30 p.m, at CBS Scene, Patriot Place, Foxboro, MA

Come join us for a lively and entertaining discussion and demonstration of the roles played by various professionals in the evolution of a typical public construction project, including discussion regarding pre-qualification, contract negotiations, bid protests, contract administration, construction delay, mediation strategies and best practices.  Our presenters include the following well-respected and experienced professionals in the construction industry: Christopher Petrini, Esq., Petrini & Associates, P.C. , Program Moderator; Deborah Anderson, Esq., Assistant Attorney General, Bid Protest Unit; Christopher Brown, Esq., Petrini & Associates, P.C.; Roy Cooper, P.E., Vice President, ARCADIS; Neil Joyce, Principal, Construction Monitoring Services, Inc.; Peter Mello, Esq., Petrini & Associates, P.C.; Alan Miller, self-employed Owner’s Project Manager; James Paolini, Director of Facilities Management, Town of Framingham; James Peloquin, Esq., Partner, Conn Kavanaugh Rosenthal Peisch & Ford, LLP.

The program will be followed by dinner and MMLA’s Annual Business Meeting. The registration fee includes the program, related written materials and dinner.  Don’t miss out on this perennially popular program!  Register today!  Program materials will be emailed to registrants prior to the meeting, so be sure to provide your email address when registering.

A dinner buffet will be served. Thus, there is no meal selection. Please be sure to return the enclosed registration form to the MMLA office. Reservations and cancellations may also be made by calling James B. Lampke, Esq., at 781-749-9922, fax 781-749-9923. Please note that if you fail to timely cancel your reservation, you will receive a bill for registering.  For details, see Upcoming Events.

Apr 14

On April 12th, MMLA submitted a letter to the Legislature’s Public Records Law Conference Committee expressing the Association’s views with respect to the House and Senate bills proposing significant amendments to the state public records law which are now being considered by the Committee.  The letter sent by Executive Board Member Matthew G. Feher, Chair of the Association’s Legislative Committee,  introduced a detailed summary of the Association’s position on the provisions of both bills, by stating:

“MMLA strives to strengthen and improve the state’s public records law (“PRL”) in a balanced and easily understandable manner.  We are grateful to have had an opportunity to meet with House and Senate leadership over the past several months to discuss meaningful improvements to the PRL that will benefit all participants in the process.  With this goal in mind, we offer the following comments that correspond to the enclosed table that objectively compares the principal differences between the competing bills against current law.”

The letter was submitted as testimony to the conference committee.  MMLA Executive Director Jim Lampke, MMLA Legislative Committee Matthew Feher, and Executive Board Member Kevin Batt testified at the committee hearing.

For the full text of MMLA’s letter, click on this link:  Text of MMLA Letter to Conference Committee

Apr 08

[4-8-16] – MMLA’S Spring 2016 Issue of the Municipal Law Quarterly is now available in the Members Area of this website.  This issue covers a wide range of timely topics for the municipal attorney, including: mediation, and the Seven Deadly Sins;  a report on Thayer v. City Worcester; negotiating for public records reform; negotiating cloud contracts; coming attractions on EPA’s revised municipal storm-water (“MS4”) permit; and much more.

Members are asked to complete the Survey Monkey for the Annual Meeting and Conference.  The link to the survey is:   https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/2016MMLA  and it will be available until April 15, 2016.

 

Mar 24

LEG-UP # 16-05 (6.24.16) – MMLA Shared Representation Bill Advances in House – MMLA legislation that would enable cities, towns and other governmental bodies to use shared or joint legal representation in administrative and judicial proceedings of common interest was sent to Third Reading in the House earlier today. The bill, H. 1863 filed by Rep. Denise Provost (D-Somerville), builds upon recent efforts to improve government cooperation, achieve greater administrative efficiencies and better manage costs.  The use of inter-municipal agreements to share legal representation without any specific state or local  legal authority such is not permitted according to an interpretation by the State Ethics Commission of Section 17 of Chapter 268A of the General Laws.   This bill would provide statewide legal authority to share legal resources if there is no conflict in doing so and if so approved by the governmental body’s chief executive officer after consultation with their legal counsel.

Mar 20

Zoning Reform Bill (S2144) Update  –  LEG-UP # 16-04

On Feburary 25th, the zoning reform bill (S2144, previously designated S122) was reported favorably out of the Joint Committee on Community Development and Small Businesses and is now in the Senate Committee on Ways & Means.   In reporting on this favorable development, our coalition leader, Massachusetts Smart Growth Alliance, wrote:

This is exciting progress—we are one important step closer to our goal of making the first significant reforms in our planning, zoning and subdivision statutes since the 1970’s!   

We appreciate your continuing support and particularly want to thank those coalition members who communicated with legislators and/or staff.  Please continue to express your support for the bill—and your hope for speedy action—to Senate Ways & Means staffers or legislators. 

The Community Development Committee Co-Chairs, Senator Kathleen O’Connor-Ives and Representative Ann-Margaret Ferrante, and staff worked hard on this bill.  We are grateful that they took the time to review the bill in depth. 

We look forward to continuing to working together on zoning reform! Continue reading »

Mar 17

LEG-UP # 16-03  – (3.17.16)   –  Water Public-Private Partnership (P3) Bill Advances

On March 16, the legislature’s Joint Committee on State Administration and Regulatory Oversight issued its favorable report of MMLA-supported legislation that would authorize the use of public-private partnerships (P3), such as Design-Build-Operate-Finance, to deliver critically important water infrastructure projects at local option.  The bi-partisan bill, S1722, filed by Senate Minority Leader Bruce Tarr (R-Gloucester) and others, would provide cities and towns an important tool to combat ever-increasing water, sewer and stormwater infrastructure needs at a time when traditional government resources are in decline.   Continue reading »

Mar 11

Mark your calendars and make your reservations for five outstanding programs coming at you during the months of March and April!   For the full slate, click on:   March Madness and April Foolery.  For dates, times, and program details, visit Upcoming Events on the Home Page of this website.

For program details on the March 16th MCLE Annual Municipal Law Conference, co-sponsored by MMLA, MCLE, and MMA, click on:  2016 Annual Municipal Law Conference.

Feb 26

[2.26.16] – The zoning reform bill – Senate 2144 (formerly Senate 122) – was this week reported favorably out of the Joint Committee on Community Development and Small Businesses and is now in the Senate Committee on Ways & Means.   This is exciting progress—we are one important step closer to our goal of making the first significant reforms in our planning, zoning and subdivision statutes since the 1970’s!   The Community Development Committee Co-Chairs, Senator Kathleen O’Connor-Ives and Representative Ann-Margaret Ferrante, and their staffs, have worked hard on this bill.  We are grateful that they took the time to review the bill in depth.  There was one change made to the bill that would allow property owners could use the “approval not required” process to create two roadside lots a year, in the event a municipality adopts minor subdivision.  MMLA has joined other advocates for zoning reform in analyzing the amendment and plans to discuss that issue, and others, with Senate Ways & Means in the coming weeks.  Here is a link to the full text of the bill: S.2144

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