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Saturday, November 11, 2006

Westborough case could have wider implications

WESTBOROUGH

A Superior Court judge's ruling in a case involving the way the Westborough selectmen picked their town counsel could have broader implications, Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly reports.

The judge ruled that selectmen violated the state's Open Meeting Law by attempting to select a town counsel without conducting the search in public.

The selectmen had argued that a committee it created was engaged in a preliminary screening process when it held a series of closed-door meetings and reduced the number of candidates from 24 to one.

The Worcester County district attorney's office, which filed the suit in response to a written complaint from a Westborough resident, said that once the list of candidates had been reduced to three names, the search should have been conducted in public.

The decision is important because "it emphasizes that there can be no further consideration in closed sessions of candidates who have passed a prior preliminary screening," Patricia C. Smith of the district attorney's office told Lawyers Weekly.

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