SHIRLEY — Finance Committee Chairman Frank Kolarik said he would like to get teleconferencing set up so that FinCom member Bob Schuler can participate in the meetings.
Schuler has been banned from all town buildings by the board of selectmen ever since he made a comment that they considered to be a threat during a May 2, 2011 budget meeting.
On Jan. 31, Chief Administrative Officer David Berry sent a memo to members of all town boards, committees, and staff stating that the attorney general’s office had recently issued regulations providing discretion with regard to remote participation at meetings regulated by the Open Meeting Law.
In the memo, Berry states that the board intends to monitor remote participation at meetings, “and so instructs each body that uses remote participation to inform the Chief Administrative Officer of each such remote participation, providing details of the participation, and its assessment of each use.”
It goes on to say that members of a board may participate remotely only if physical attendance is “unreasonably difficult,” as determined by the chair or acting chair of the committee. The term “unreasonably difficult” is further defined as that which is due to personal illness, personal disability, an emergency, military service, or geographic distance.
FinCom Vice Chairman Dan Meehan reasoned Monday night, Feb. 6, that Schuler’s banishment from town buildings by the selectmen places him in the category of “attendance that is reasonably difficult due to geographic distance.” He then recommended to the board that Schuler be permitted to join the FinCom meetings via teleconference.
Fellow member Mike Swanton concurred that Schuler should be permitted to participate remotely, and Kolarik said that he would take the matter up with the selectmen.