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Friday, September 29, 2006

DA sues town over open meeting law


The Worcester District Attorney’s Office today filed a lawsuit charging the town of Westborough, its Board of Selectmen, and the Town Counsel Search Committee with violating open meeting laws in the selection of a new town attorney.

The suit filed in Worcester Superior Court asks that a judge order the town to rescind its selection, make public the transcripts of all meeting held in executive session, and fine both boards $1,000 for each meeting held in violation of the law.

District Attorney John J. Conte filed the lawsuit one week after sending a letter to the town ruling the selection was invalid and asking them to repeat the process.

Selectmen on Sept. 20 voted to hire Boston attorney Gregory B. Franks as counsel at a salary of $92,924 a year. Franks, who was to start Oct. 23, was the sole candidate presented to the board by the search panel, which interviewed eight finalists in closed sessions.

The DA's office says only the preliminary screening can be kept secret, but finalists must be interviewed in public. Town Coordinator Henry Danis, also a member of he search committee, could not be reached for comment Friday.

-- Jennifer Rosinski

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