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Town of Wayland warned for similar use of ‘phone alert’

PUBLISHED: | UPDATED:

An article in your newspaper, “School phone alert system used to urge override voting,” by M.E. Jones on June 24 reported: “Two days before voters passed a $200,000 override at a special town election, residents linked to the ‘Connect Ed’ phone-alert system received a call that some people said is unethical and may be illegal as well. Others, however, have said the call — initiated by School Committee Chairman Stuart Sklar — was just a reminder to vote.”

This issue has been determined and settled by the state Office of Campaign & Political Finance after a recent similar violation by the town of Wayland.

The Boston Globe reported on June 15 (“Criticism for principal on election e-mail,” by John M. Guilfoil):

“‘Public resources, namely use of the school server, the e-mail list and the time of the school staff, were used to distribute the document. This activity did not comply with the campaign finance law,’ wrote Michael J. Sullivan, director of the Office of Campaign & Political Finance, in a letter to Schlegel. (Editor’s Note: Charlie Schlegel was the principal of Wayland Middle School at the time of the Globe story.) ‘Governmental entities may not expend public resources or contribute anything of value to influence or affect the outcome of a ballot question.’

‘We concluded that the activity that took place in Wayland didn’t comply with the campaign finance law and issued a ‘Did not comply/no further action’ public resolution letter,’ said Brad Balzer, spokesman for the state agency. Balzer said that Schlegel will not face any further punishment or sanction for sending the e-mail. Sullivan’s letter serves as a written warning against future uses of town or school resources for promoting political agendas.”

For the full report see tinyurl.com/3knuhv.

CHIP FORD

Director of Operations

Citizens for Limited Taxation

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