Petition article to reimburse Selectman Martha Gjesteby to be filed today 9/15/14

Selectmen don’t meet this week, but there will still be a lot of governmental business happening at town hall. Citizens’ petitions for Nov. 17 Special Town Meeting are due at the selectmen’s office by 4 p.m. September 17. The rumor is that Carver Town Administrator Mike Milansoki will be re-filing his conflict of interest articles for selectmen. No one has reported seeing or signing that petition. If there is one.

Tom Gruber said he will be filing a citizens’ petition Monday morning (9/15) with selectmen asking town meeting to direct selectmen to reimburse selectman Martha Gjesteby for legal fees she incurred while defending herself from her board’s charges that she had violated the criminal conflict of interest law. When former selectman chair Paul Carlson got around to filing his complaint he lowered it to a run-of-the-mill open meeting law complaint. Until a decision by the ethics commission became public, Gjesteby thought she was defending herself against the criminal statute. Hence, the lawyer.

When a majority of a board of selectmen files charges against a member, that member must obtain his or her own counsel, as town counsel cannot represent both parties. Gjesteby hired Brian Moss of Murphy, Hesse Toomey and Lehane of Crown Colony Plaza in Quincy. Her final bill was $9,226.52.

Congratulations to Tom Gruber and the 133 citizens who signed his petition to reimburse Gjesteby, for not getting involved in the nasty details of what Gjesteby’s board put her through. Signers say this is not about Gjesteby. This is about anybody who serves on an elected or appointed board that is unjustly accused of a crime they didn’t commit and who had to hire an attorney and who is found to be innocent of that accusation.

Petitioners’ article reads as follows:


To see if Town Meeting would vote to appropriate $9,226.52 from available sources to reimburse Select­man Martha Gjesteby for legal expenses to successfully defend herself from unsubstantiated allegations made against her by the then Cohasset Board of Selectmen. Bill attached to petition article.


This article will reimburse Selectman Martha Gjesteby for legal expenses incurred in successfully defending herself against a conflict of interest complaint filed by the Board of Selectmen on January 1, 2013. Selectmen chose to file this complaint despite Town Counsel’s warning that Gjesteby had not broken any laws

On February 8, 2013 Gjesteby filed an open meeting law complaint against the Board of Selectmen saying that it had met illegally in executive session to make allegations against her on an assertion made by then Acting Town Manager Michael Milanoski.

On June 28, 2013 the State Ethics commission ruled, after review, that the Board of Selectmen’s Open Meeting Law complaint filed against Gjesteby did not warrant further action.

In an opinion dated September 3, 2013 The Attorney General agreed with Gjesteby saying:

“We find that the Board violated the Open Meeting Law by failing to identify which union and/or non-union personnel it would be discussing in executive session on December 18, 2012 and by discussing a topic in executive session that should have been discussed in open session. The chair must state the purpose for the executive session, stating all subjects that may be revealed without compromising the purpose for which the executive session was called. G.L. c. 30A, § 21(b).

“Following the Board’s discussion of union and non-union contracts, the (Acting) Town Manager raised an issue about a break of confidentiality within the Board. The Board then held a lengthy discussion regarding the Acting Town Manager’s assertion. There is no executive session purpose that permits a public body to discuss behind closed doors a breach of confidentiality or other protocol, unless the public body is discussing a com­plaint or disciplinary matter under Purpose 1. See G.L. c. 390A, § 21 (a). Because the Board did not enter into executive session under Purpose 1, this topic should have been discussed in open session.”


Monday, September 15

Cohasset Elder Affairs will meet at 8:30 am at the South Shore Community Center.

The Community Preservation Committee will meet at town hall at 7 pm. The first order of business will be the election of chair, vice-chair and secretary.

Also, 7:05 Update from Cohasset Sailing Club on clubhouse. Discuss sign for clubhouse regarding CPC funding of project.

7:15 Update from Cohasset Conservation Trust on Fox Run, and Ingram property.

7:25 Proposal from Veteran’s Memorial Committee for restoration of memorials. Request is for $25,000.00. Work to be completed before Memorial Day 2015.

7:45 Discussion of goals for the upcoming year. Discuss procedure changes for submission and approval of proposals.

Tuesday, September 16

 Water commissioners will meet a 10 am at the Water Treatment Plant, 339 King Street to discuss their own warrant articles.

 The Advisory Committee will meet in the Selectmen’s Room at 7 pm.

 The first order of business is the water commission’s 2014 year-end deficit & 2015. According to town officials, there is a $300,000 structural deficit in the water department.

Review of 2014 Certified Free Cash at year-end.

Special Town Meeting Monday 11/17 – Likely Articles

Prior Year Unpaid Bills

Disposition of Certified Free Cash

Pole Easements

Bylaw Changes

Personnel Bylaw

Planning Board (2)

Water Commission (3)

Citizen Petitions due in by 9/17, reimbursement of legal cost article

Capital – Fire Line

Budget Adjustments

Review of 2015 YTD August Financials


Assessors will meet at 5:30 pm at Town Hall.

The board will discuss the senior center, the growth report to date, commercial reval proposal update, and antennae leases.

Wednesday, September 17

School Committee meets at 143 Pond Street at 7:35 pm.

© Copyright 2014 Tanna K, All rights Reserved. Written For: Tinytown Unleashed