December 1, 2011

Private Audience: Brown, 4 councilors attend closed-door meeting with rail depot foes

BRUNSWICK — Town Manager Gary Brown and four town councilors took part in a private, unannounced meeting Monday night with board members of a neighborhood group concerned about plans to build a train layover facility between Stanwood Street and Church Road.

Councilors Joanne King, Benet Pols, Debbie Atwood and John Perreault attended the meeting, which took place at Resource Systems Engineering, Inc., 30 Parker's Way.

The town did not post notice of the meeting on its website or via other means typically used to provide public notice about municipal meetings. Brown said Monday's meeting with the Brunswick West Neighborhood Coalition "was not a public meeting," and, as such, did not require public notice.

Brown cited a 2009 email from the town's attorney, Pat Scully of Bernstein Shur, in which Scully opines that public notice is required only in cases when a quorum of the town's nine-person council is present, meaning five or more councilors.

Preti Flaherty attorney Sigmund Schutz, who co-wrote "Maine's ‘Right to Know' Law:' An Introduction and Guide" and who represents The Times Record, disagreed.

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