LTE: Open Meeting Law vs. Equity and Justice Director

The Reading Post accepts Letters to the Editor. All letters must be signed. The Reading Post reserves the right to edit or not publish any letters received. Letters do not represent the views or opinions of the Post.

To the Editor, 

The attached letter was sent today to members of the Library Board of Trustees, Select Board, School Committee, and Town Manager Robert LeLacheur, and Town Meeting members. ( I included it below in case you have difficulty with the pdf.)

In it, I urge these members not to support at April Town Meeting the creation of and funding for the new Director of Equity and Social Justice position and placement of Reading Human Relations Advisory Committee under a new Division of Equity and Social Justice, all under the library.

I would appreciate it if you could publish the letter to enable others to better understand one of the larger issues involved in this budget line item. 

Thank you, 

Kendra Cooper, TMM – Prec. 8
Covey Hill Road

Reading Library Board of Trustees
Reading Select Board
Reading School Committee
Robert LeLacheur, Reading Town Manager

Dear Committee and Town Meeting Members and Town Manager LeLacheur,

Nearly 60 years ago, my mother testified at the Massachusetts State House in favor of the state’s first Open Meeting Laws (OML). As a news reporter, she knew the dangers inherent in public business conducted in secret. 

Now, some in Reading propose to evade Open Meeting Law requirements by creating and funding a new Director of Equity and Social Justice position under the library and placing the Reading Human Relations Advisory Committee (HRAC – established in 2001 by the Board of Selectmen) under a new library Division of Equity and Social Justice.

Apparently, to some, Open Meeting law requirements are simply a nuisance and unnecessary obstacles. Requirements such as the HRAC’s need to post meetings 48 hours in advance, allowing the public to attend, see and hear their deliberations, keeping and releasing accurate minutes of their proceedings in a timely manner, in their eyes, appear unreasonable.

However, like the Privacy and Public Records laws that dovetail with OML requirements, Massachusetts Open Meeting laws protect our rights, provide transparency and enable us to hold our local government accountable. These rights should not be dismissed and negated because some believe they are inconvenient to those in power.

I urge you not to support the library placement of this Director of Equity and Justice position and the new Division of Equity and Social Justice. The public’s “right to know” should prevail over those who wish to conduct town and local business in the dark.


Kendra Cooper, TMM – Prec. 8
Covey Hill Road

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