UMass board broke open meeting law
The University of Massachusetts board of trustees repeatedly violated the state’s open meeting law during its search for a new president, according to an investigation by Attorney General Martha Coakley’s office.
In a letter to the board obtained yesterday by the Associated Press, investigators with Coakley’s office said that members violated the law throughout the search process and that the violations were “wide-ranging and serious.’’
Investigators said that the board failed to provide proper meeting notice and that when meeting notices were posted, they were not specific enough.
They also found that the qualifications of three finalists were inappropriately discussed in executive session and that executive sessions were simply continued from one date to another, instead of being posted separately.
Minutes from both open and executive sessions were short on detail, investigators from Coakley’s Division of Open Government found.
Coakley is ordering the board to undergo open meeting law training before appointing a new UMass Amherst chancellor in September.
“This is a strong action that makes clear that these violations should not have occurred, requires the board to take corrective remedies, and works to ensure that the mistakes do not happen again,’’ Coakley said.
She also ordered the full release of executive session minutes.
Board of trustees chairman James Karam said the board sought to conduct a search process that was “fair, open, and transparent and certainly one that conformed to relevant state law.’’