On August 27th, MMLA joined with Massachusetts Smart Growth Alliance and the Zoning Reform Working Group in a letter to Speaker of the House Robert DeLeo with a detailed response the position taken by the Homebuilders Association of Massachusetts on the zoning reform bill HB 1859. The letter describes the position of HBAM as focusing on “the dysfunctional state of land use law in the Commonwealth and its negative effects upon housing production and economic development.” The letter to Speaker DeLeo goes on to say: “On that we are in agreement. However, HBAM would leave the status quo intact rather than pass a bill that aims to correct many of the underlying problems, a bill supported by a diverse coalition ranging from municipal lawyers, to environmentalists, to city, town, and regional planners, to public health professionals, to affordable housing advocates.” Read the full text of the Letter to Speaker Robert DeLeo.
On August 8th, the Land Court issued a decision in Curley v. Town of Billerica, (Misc 12-459001, Middlesex) discussing the applicability of Article 97 to “playgrounds.” “Massachusetts law does not explicitly define what constitutes a playground, but it does draw distinctions between parks and playgrounds that indicate that a playground is not a park.” Click on above link for full text of opinion. This follows a spirited discussion about the scope of Article 97 earlier today on the MMLA ListServ.
CASES UPDATE: [8/19/13] The U. S. District Court ruled today that Title VII does not preclude an action by a person who was offered and accepted a position. “Title VII makes it unlawful for an employer to ‘fail’ or ‘refuse’ to hire an individual because of that individual’s sex. Plaintiff does not cite to, nor has the Court found, any case interpreting the statute that has upheld a hiring-discrimination claim in a case in which the plaintiff was offered and accepted the position. Nevertheless, the language of the statute does not definitively preclude such a claim. … Thus, construing the statute broadly in keeping with its purpose, hiring-discrimination claims should not be strictly limited to those cases where a plaintiff is never offered, or never accepts, a position. …” REBECCA FISHER vs. TOWN OF ORANGE, et al. (The full text of the decision is now available to MMLA members in MuniLaw Cases section.)
At the Association’s annual fall Awards Luncheon and Seminar in Sturbridge on August 8, 2013, MMLA conferred awards upon two municipal attorneys in recognition of their significant contributions to municipal law and to the Association.
MMLA’s 2013 President’s Award was conferred upon City of Boston Corporation Counsel William F. Sinnott. Bill is an active member of MMLA and IMLA who has for many years attended and presented at MMLA and IMLA meetings and conferences. He and his staff at Corporation Counsel’s office have contributed to the collegiality of our Association. As head of the City’s Law Department, Bill and his legal team have engaged in cases that greatly affect the rest of the state. He has been a leader in dealing with so many unique areas of local government law. Bill has consistently shared with us the unique legal experiences of our Capital City and his storehouse of legal wisdom that benefits the 350 other cities and towns of the Commonwealth. By his example and efforts, he has elevated the excellence of municipal law in Massachusetts.
Irene Schall, of New Bedford, was the recipient of MMLA’s Robert W. Ritchie Special Achievement Award. Irene, a member of IMLA’s Executive Board, is former City Solicitor for the City of New Bedford. In addition to municipal law, Irene’s professional expertise in other areas of practice has proven to be just what our Association needed in order to effect a smooth transition of the ‘City Solicitors & Town Counsel Association’ into ‘Massachusetts Municipal Lawyers Association,’ from an unincorporated association to Massachusetts Municipal Lawyers Association, a tax-exempt non-profit corporation. Under her skillful direction and careful attention to the time-consuming details of these major changes, MMLA successfully grafted a 21st Century structure and corporate name onto our municipal bar association’s 67 years of service to our cities and towns – a special achievement of the sort for which this award was established by MMLA.
MMLA Executive Director Jim Lampke is to be awarded the Charles S. Rhyne Lifetime Achievement in Municipal Law Award by the International Municipal Lawyer Association (IMLA) when it meets in October in San Francisco. The Rhyne Award is considered by municipal lawyers from the United States and Canada to be the municipal law equivalent of the Heisman Trophy. IMLA is a non-profit, professional organization of municipal attorneys from the United States and Canada, an advocate and resource for local government attorneys since 1935, when the organization was founded by the late Charles S. Rhyne.
IMLA explains that the Rhyne Award is the highest award given by IMLA: “The award is not intended to be bestowed in a regular basis, but rather is intended to be a recognition bestowed only occasionally and then only upon a truly uncommon individual.” IMLA Executive Director Chuck Thompson, in an IMLA press release earlier today, announced Lampke to be that truly uncommon individual, by stating that “James Lampke is a gifted attorney and colleague. Like Charles Rhyne, James is at the top of his field. His contributions to the Town of Hull and the Commonwealth of Massachusetts are of great importance, and they will leave a lasting imprint in the field of municipal law. Honoring him with this award will encourage other exceptional lawyers to pursue local government law.”
MMLA President, Ed Pikula, City Solicitor of Springfield, announced Jim’s selection earlier today at an MMLA municipal law educational seminar in Sturbridge.
Hurry . . . Just In – San Francisco Registration Discount Extended to 8/15/13
JOIN many of your MMLA colleagues and many IMLA members from all over the United States and Canada! IMLA returns to the “City by the Bay” for its 2013 Annual Conference, held in magnificent San Francisco from September 29 – October 2, 2013 and the San Francisco Host Committee and IMLA’s Program Planning Committee are hard at work planning a great time for all who attend! This program is shaping up to be another outstanding CLE opportunity! CLICK HERE for the latest program updates. New Programming Added – Checkout the new work session on HOW TO DO MORE WITH LESS – PRODUCTIVITY SOLUTIONS!
IMLA is extending the Early Bird Rate! The Annual Conference Early Bird Rate will now expire on August 15th, but, if you send in your registration form by close of business August 15th, you’ll have until August 30th to pay. Click here for the Conference Registration Form.
Bill Kelley, General Counsel of the Alcoholic Beverages Control Commission, after nearly 22 years serving state and local governments, has announced that he is about to fulfill his original career plan of working for the state for a couple of years and then moving on to private practice. Although he is about two decades behind his timetable, his original plan will come to pass later this month when he officially steps down as General Counsel for the ABCC. ABCC Chairman Kim. S. Gainsboro said that during his time with the Agency he “has been an invaluable asset” and “has assisted applicants, licensees, attorneys and local boards,” and “has been a vital resource to this Commission. He will be sorely missed.”
Bill is a recent recipient of MMLA’s “President’s Award” in recognition of his years of genuine interest in local government and history of providing guidance and assistance to city and town attorneys over the years. With characteristic humility, Bill commented that he has “enjoyed a magnificent experience of working with city and town attorneys, and has learned more than he shared.” He hopes to join us at one of our next upcoming meetings to reflect on his years with the ABCC and to share with us his plans for his ongoing legal career as it unfolds.
It’s fair to say that MMLA expects not so much to “miss” Bill as to see more of him in the years ahead.
Professor Robert H. Smith of Suffolk University Law School will deliver this year’s Robert D. Smith Constitutional Law Lecture. This lecture series was instituted several years ago in honor of the late Robert D. Smith, long time Town Counsel of Barnstable, a champion of constitutional home rule in Massachusetts. It will be held as part of the Association’s Annual Conference at the Red Jacket Inn in South Yarmouth from October 17th through September 19th.
Professor Smith’s presentation will be entitled “Constitutional Law & the Supreme Court: A Review and a Preview”