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Councilor Alleges Colleagues Broke Meeting Law

Richard Conti says Jeremy Denlea and Walter Thibodeau should not have coordinated to create a concept to improve parking enforcement in Attleboro.

Two city councilors and an Attleboro administrator say they have come up with a good solution to improve parking enforcement in Attleboro, but one councilor says the conclusion was reached in violation of Massachusetts' opening meeting law.

Councilors Jeremy Denlea and Walter Thibodeau had proposed a measure for council consideration that would have required 40 hours of training for parking enforcement officers. This was in response to residents' complaints about improperly issued tickets. Denlea announced at the City Council meeting on Tuesday that he and Thibodeau had reached a compromise with Barry LaCasse, Attleboro's director of budget and administration.

The compromise calls for LaCasse to hold weekly "training and review" sessions with the parking officers that would take at least 30 minutes.

"During this session, all disputed and voided parking tickets from the prior week will be reviewed and proper procedure will be explained to the parking enforcement officers by Mr. LaCasse so as to avoid any improper situations from reoccurring," a joint statement from Denlea, Thibodeau and LaCasse states (the statement is attached).

Following Denlea's reading of the statement on Tuesday, Councilor Richard Conti said that the compromise had been reached illegally because Denlea and Thibodeau sit on the council's Transportation & Traffic Committee, and. state law only allows the committee to meet in front of the public at sessions that have been noticed.

"I'm still smarting from the meeting at my patio," said Conti, referring to when it was determined he, Councilor Mark Cooper and then-Councilor Cherie Felos had violated the law by meeting about a recall petition in private at Conti's home.

Denlea said his actions were not a violation of the law because he and Thibodeau did not meet on an issue of new business, since the proposal had not gone before the council for it to be assigned to a committee. Denlea said he did not know if the item would have been assigned to the traffic committee, and could have gone to the ordinances committee.

Council President Frank Cook told Conti, "You raise an interesting point." He said he would do research to determine if the councilor's allegation was accurate. 

Michelle Tristoff May 16, 2012 at 12:41 PM
EVP, I agree! Everything is about what Conti wants (or as he claims his "constituents" ie his wife wants). He was upset that Thibodeau and Denlea made the paper in a positive fashion by working with the Administration to address an issue of much concern. So, his responce is to publically humiliate himself by showing that he has no understanding of the open meeting laws, whatsoever, even though he is the ONLY member of the Council who has been convicted of actually breaking the open meeting laws! What a sad little man he is.
Jeb May 16, 2012 at 04:15 PM
Dolly - Richard Conti was found to have violated the open meeting law but a formal complaint had not been petitioned to the DA's office. I think anyone can still petition it but as far as I know no one has done it yet... I also don't know the statute of limitations so if you wanted to file one against him I would contact the state if I were you.
Fact Checker May 16, 2012 at 05:35 PM
To the editor: Why no questioning the identity of this vitriolic posting by an unknown? As you were not in the area last fall, you might not be aware of the personal attacks fired off by "Jacob", yet no comment regarding the anonymity. Are you aware that a search of 411.com does not return a listing for anyone under the last name Tristoff in any NE state (I know, 411.com is not all encompassing)? And the Tristoff poster lists Conti as having been "convicted" which implies to most that a trial was conducted, it was not. http://www.thesunchronicle.com/articles/2011/10/30/attleboro/10395933.txt Say what you like about my posting anonymously, completely disregard my opinion as I do of some others. The majority of my postings take exception with a position. Do I take the occasional gratuitous shot at other posters? YES, often as a poor stab at humor and occasionally out of frustration. But look back at the postings: most are about an issue or an author error which was substantial enough to alter the reader's perception. Am I special or better? Not in the least. Perfect? Not even on the same planet as perfect. I respect the right of people to post without using their given name. If you do not like it, change the policy, The Sun Chronicle did.
Jeb May 16, 2012 at 06:30 PM
Dolly - If you have recently heard otherwise, why did you ask the question? This is my source: http://attleboro.patch.com/articles/city-councilors-mistakenly-violate-open-meetings-law. The reason I felt it appropriate to single Mr Conti out is because he is the subject of this article. He is singling his collegues out, is he not? He admits he is still "smarting" over his violation so it appears he wants others to join him in his misery. This last statement is just my observation.
Steven Scott May 16, 2012 at 08:57 PM
What qualifications does LaCasse have to "train" these parking officers??? It sounds to me that Conti did the right thing as far as the open meeting thing, I don't see it as trying to blame others or take focus off himself but rather a watchdog effort.
Carol Bragg May 16, 2012 at 11:57 PM
Question: Does the Open Meeting Law allow members of the City Council to meet and make decisions during a crisis without having posted the meeting publicly two days in advance? Or do crises now have to announce themselves two days before they occur so no one will violate the Open Meeting Law?
Carol Bragg May 18, 2012 at 12:40 AM
The Open Meeting Law DOES provide for exceptions in emergencies. The comment was facetious -- that is, not serious -- and had nothing to do with politics.
Gretchen Robinson May 18, 2012 at 08:19 PM
inflated sense of self??
Gretchen Robinson May 18, 2012 at 08:25 PM
Thank you Jonathan for speaking out against the partisan slamming and for stepping in to prevent the "conversation" from deteriorating. This comment/discussion board Is too important to let a few drag their red herrings through and sideline this forum. Folks, have some respect for one another and each other's ideas/thoughts.
Jonathan Friedman (Editor) May 18, 2012 at 11:53 PM
Thank you Gretchen. EVP's comments have been deleted and his account has been suspended due to violations of the terms of use agreement for Attleboro Patch, including "Patch believes in transparency, and we ask that all your registration information be truthful. You may not use any aliases or other means to mask your true identity." The terms, which everybody who signed up for an account have agreed to meet, can be found here: http://attleboro.patch.com/terms.
Joey McClintock May 19, 2012 at 04:54 PM
I am not surprised at all by Conti's (likely false) allegations. We all know that misery loves company and Conti is a miserable human being. Nowhere is too low for him to go. Conti is a sneaky snake and we all need to vote him out of office before he bites and poisons any more innocent bystanders. In November vote for anyone who is not Conti!
Gretchen Robinson May 19, 2012 at 05:11 PM
Jonathan: Thanks for keeping this site as a helpful community resource. In my church we have a behavioral covenant. If someone's behavior violates that covenant, they can be asked to leave. So there's a lot of limit-setting being done out there--and a lot of need to do limit-setting, too, alas.
Gretchen Robinson May 19, 2012 at 05:16 PM
I decided not to vote for Conti again. I've talked to him last year at length at the Farmer's Market. I think he has done good work there. Alas, I think, he gets too full of himself and tries to dominate the process, as he did over the Attleboro Library by attacking the Library Board. That was wrong. People expect their elected officials to "Serve" and that means to cooperate and collaborate in order to do the City's business. I hate posturing and attacking done by anyone. It just turns people in the community off. However, I do not agree with your characterization of him. He has his flaws and we all do. Call him up and talk to him. He's not unreasonable.
GiGi Grace May 20, 2012 at 02:20 PM
Wow, are you physic or do you Mr. Conti? Actually there was no conviction as there is no means of such in M.G.L. I recommend you do some investigating before making statements.
Migsy May 20, 2012 at 02:25 PM
Yes please do. As he's not running for any office in November.

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