Dec 05

Massachusetts Municipal Lawyers Association (MMLA) has issued an appeal to Governor Baker and other State House leaders to promptly clarify through legislative action certain features of the recently enacted marijuana law that relate to actions municipalities are authorized to take.  The urgency is particularly telling given that many towns are already started – or about to start – preparing their warrants for the spring annual town meetings.  To view, click on the following link to the Letter to Governor Baker.

Also, MMLA issued two informational advisories on the new law.  Click on the following links for the Advisory for Municipal Counsels and for the Advisory for Municipal Officials. Feel free to share these with your local officials. 

These documents are the product of a working committee created by the MMLA Executive Board last month.  The committee will continue to work on these issues and will be issuing supplements to its advisories. Please contact MMLA with any particular issues or concerns you have with this new law. Also be advised that a program on the new law is being planned for early next year.

Nov 22

SJC issued today a decision in SEIU v. Department of Mental Health, holding that the union could challenge a determination by the DMH that it did not have to comply with the Pacheco Law concerning privatization of services.  The SJC had previously rejected DMH  claim that the union lacked standing and found in this case that “Because unreviewable agency decision-making on such a matter would thwart legislative intent, we concluded that in these circumstances “declaratory judgment is an appropriate vehicle for relief to ensure that agencies may not evade the requirements of the Pacheco Law with impunity.”  The SJC vacated the judgment of dismissal and remanded the case for joinder of necessary parties.  Click here to view the full decision. 

Nov 15

In a decision released today – James R. DeGiacomo, trustee v. City of Quincy the SJC affirmed summary judgment granted to the City of Quincy in a major trust case, finding that the successor trustee could not challenge a long term lease, so finding on, among other reasons,  grounds of res judicata and collateral estoppel, etc.  There had been a 1972 case in which a court ruled that the lease was properly entered into.  The trust/beneficiary of the trust bringing the present case was not a party to those proceedings. Congratulations to MMLA Executive Board member and Quincy City Solicitor James Timmins on this decision. Click HERE for the full text of the decision.

Nov 08






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Oct 21

On October 20th, the Appeals Court issued a decision in Brown v. Kalicki deciding that accreted beachfront property took on the status of registered land as it accreted and without recourse to court proceedings to amend the certificates of title. Interveners claimed prescriptive rights over this now accreted land. The lower court judge ruled that the accreted beachfront automatically became registered, and, therefore, was protected from the interveners’ claims that they have a prescriptive easement to use the beach area on the plaintiffs’ land.  On the lower court decision, the Appeals Court wrote: “The question for the judge was whether the accreted beachfront took on the status of registered land as it formed, or whether registered status could be obtained only through court proceedings to amend the certificates of title. The judge ruled that the accreted beachfront automatically became registered, and, therefore, was protected from the interveners’ claims that they have a prescriptive easement to use the beach area on the plaintiffs’ land. Applying well-established standards of review, we affirm.” Click here for the full text of this decision.

Oct 18

October 18, 2016 – It was announced this morning that MMLA Executive Board Member Kathleen Colleary has been awarded the 2016 Manuel Carballo Governor’s Award for Excellence in Public Service.  Kathleen’s day job is as Chief of the DOR Division of Local Services Bureau of Municipal Finance Law. 

Kathleen Colleary

Kathleen Colleary

We at MMLA are extremely gratified to see her recognized by the Commonwealth for the highest levels of service to our cities and towns, a recognition that we  at MMLA have long known to be much deserved.  DOR Commissioner Michael J. Heffernan, in announcing the award, wrote:

I am delighted to announce that Kathleen Colleary of the Division of Local Services has been chosen for a 2016 Manuel Carballo Governor’s Award for Excellence in Public Service. The Manuel Carballo Governor’s Award for Excellence in Public Service, named in honor of the late Secretary of Human Services, is given annually to no more than 10 employees or groups of employees who exemplify the highest standards of public service.  

For 36 years, Kathleen has personified what it means to provide exceptional public service. In her nomination citation, Kathleen was singled out for possessing a “profound understanding” of Massachusetts General Laws, statutes, and regulations, insight which is only matched by her indefatigable work ethic. 

Kathleen’s expertise was critical in our policy direction for the current municipal modernization effort, where “her attention to detail, deep subject matter knowledge and willingness to tackle a seemingly endless backlog of arcane and conflicting laws, policies and regulations led to the development and successful passing of ‘An Act to Modernize Municipal Finance and Government’, legislation hailed as the most comprehensive set of reforms in decades.”  

For those who have worked alongside Kathleen, it should come as no surprise that she is esteemed in municipal finance circles across the Commonwealth as an expert and legal mind of the highest order.  

Oct 17

Dont Miss It!!! – “Social Media and All That Jazz” – Sal’s, Lawrence, October 27

The Association will hold its next monthly meeting on Thursday, October 27, 2016 at in Lawrence.   The reception will begin at 6:00 p.m. with dinner following at about 6:30 p.m., followed by the program.  We plan to end by 9:30 p.m.  The meal will be a dinner buffet with delicious choices.  The meeting fee for members in good standing (paid up for the current year) is $45.00, which includes dinner, materials and program.  For all others the fee is $55.00.  If you have a special dietary need, please advise.  Reservations and cancellations may also be made by calling James B. Lampke, Esq., at 781-749-9922, fax 781-749-9923. Continue reading »

Oct 14

PARTIES: Kalu v. Boston Retirement Board
HEARING DATE: May 4, 2016
DECISION DATE: October 14, 2016
Contributory Retirement Appeal Board. Public Employment, Accidental disability retirement, Retirement. Retirement. Practice, Civil, Appeal. Administrative Law, Decision, Judicial review, Official notice, Substantial Evidence.

The Appeals Court issued a decision on retirement law today in Kalu v Boston Retirement Board. The Court held that while the appeal from the denial was timely, the denial by the Board and CRAB was not proper and remanded the matter for further proceedings. Of note, the Court found fault with CRAB’s considering evidence not in the record and without giving the parties notice and opportunity to present evidence. Continue reading »

Oct 13

On September 23rd’s Public Records Law Conference at Holy Cross, sponsored by Burns & Levinson, MMLA, and MMA, the following materials were distributed:

Public Records Law Update– Matthew Feher
Chedklist of Procedures for Records Access Officers– Kevin Batt
Top Ten Practical & Policy Issues– Lauren Goldberg
Best Practices for Compliance– Robert W. Ritchie

Oct 12

SJC Issues 2 Decisions of Importance to Cities and Towns

1.  10.11.16 – The SJC has issued its opinion in Brown v. Commissioner of Probation and ruled that sovereign immunity has not been waived for post judgment interest.  The Court held that “In this case, we consider whether sovereign immunity bars a plaintiff who is awarded punitive damages, costs, and attorney’s fees as part of a judgment under G. L. c. 151B, § 9, from recovering post judgment interest on those awards from a public employer.  The trial judge denied a request by the plaintiff, Helen Brown, for such interest, concluding that sovereign immunity has not been waived with respect to such interest, and judgment was entered accordingly.  A divided panel of the Appeals Court affirmed the judgment, see Brown v. Office of the Commissioner of Probation, 87 Mass. App. Ct. 729, 735 (2015), and we allowed the plaintiff’s application for further appellate review.  Because we conclude that G. L. c. 151B, § 9, does not waive sovereign immunity from liability for post judgment interest, either expressly or by necessary implication, we affirm.” 

2.  Also, the SJC affirmed a Land Court decision that applied the rule of Murphy v. Mart Realty of Brockton, Inc.., 348 Mass. 675 (1965),in finding it was improper that a path for a trail to cross over the easement in question and then continue onto the fourth parcel, given that the easement was not intended to serve that parcel.  In Taylor v. The Martha’s Vineyard Land Trust the SJC declined to find that the rule of Murphy was applied too rigidly and that a fact intensive analysis should have been applied.

Oct 11

Massachusetts Municipal Lawyers Association would like again to remind its members and the public  that its “Municipal Law Quarterly” is now publicly available on its website,  The Quarterly contains articles about updates in municipal law in the Commonwealth, practice tips, and analyses of issues facing cities and towns and impacting municipal practice.  On the MMLA Home Page, click on the menu tab “Quarterly Journal,” to access the current and past issues of the Quarterly.  MMLA invites you to log on and enjoy the articles.  The current issue – Municipal Law Quarterly, Fall 2016 – is now available.

MMLA wishes again to acknowledge with gratitude the members of its Municipal Law Quarterly Editorial BoardStacey G. Bloom, Editor-in-Chief; Jordan L. Shapiro, Editor Emeritus; ngela D. Atchue, Managing Editor; Carol Haijar McGravey; Timothy J. Harrington; and Peter L. Mello

Oct 07

The Appeals Court issued today important decision on civil service appeals, drug testing, modification of punishment.  See Preston Thompson vs. Civil Service Commission, where the Appeals Court essentially affirmed a Superior Court decision which affirmed, with modification, a Civil Service Commission decision that had upheld in part and reversed in part action taken by the Boston Police Department based on drug testing by hair samples.  Click here for full text of the opinion.

Oct 07

On October 6th, a hearing was held at the Secretary of State’s Office on regulations proposed to implement recent major changes in the state Public Records Law.  MMLA executive board member Kevin Batt, and MMA representative John Robertson testified on behalf of both organizations, submitting a joint letter commenting on the proposed regulations. They also jointly submitted a redline version of the draft regulations showing suggested changes to the draft regulations.  Click on the following links to the relevant documents:
Chapter 121, Acts of 2016
DRAFT Regulations
MMLA-MMA Redline Version of DRAFT Regulations
MMLA-MMA Written Testimony

Oct 04

The SJC issued its decision in Chadwick v Duxbury Public Schools today.  The decision upheld the Superior Court ruling which declined to recognize a union member-union privilege, which has never been recognized in Massachusetts.  Congratulations s to MMLA member John Cloherty of Pierce Davis & Perritano, who represented the Duxbury School Department; also to MMLA member Christopher Petrini of Petrini & Associates who, with Steven Finnegan, filed an amicus brief for the MMLA and the School Committee Association.  Click here for the full text of the decision.

Aug 30

Be sure to mark your calendar for a great CLE opportunity coming up on Friday, September 23rd at the Hogan Center, Holy Cross College, Worcester. Click on the link below for program details and registration:

September 23 – “Opening the Books on the New Public Records Law”
record picture– Hogan Center, Holy Cross College, Worcesterrecord picture 2

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