Town Meeting and SMOC suit

Town Meeting and SMOC suit September 17, 2010
Francis X. Reilly, Framingham Metrowest Daily News
FRAMINGHAM -- With our eyes wide open, Town Meeting voted to fund the defense of the Town and the other defendants in the SMOC law suit after a full and balanced debate. The reason for the Town's action appeared very simple, we were attacked and had to defend ourselves. Town Meeting was aware of the potential high cost, it was discussed on the floor. I'm sure SMOC had to be aware of these costs.

Now the judge has made a decision to let the case go on. If the judge had thrown out the case then it would have been fair to say the Town won that one. Therefore, because the case now continues it is fair to say SMOC won that one. However in reality both sides lost, both were aware from the beginning that the case could go all the way through the court system and that the damage to the relationship between SMOC and the Town would only get worse as time dragged on.

The reasons it might go all the way through the court system, is simple. Framingham must defend its integrity or it will be threatened by anyone who wants' something with a lawsuit, and in addition it must defend its citizens, employees and officials from such actions for the same reasons. On the other hand, SMOC and anyone else, have the right to suit when they think they have been wronged. The big equalizer in this picture is the cost of the suit. The court has recommended a settlement. If the court couldn't force a settlement then no third party can bring one about. Any settlement must include the approval of SMOC's Board of Directors on one side and the Town and all the defendants on the other. The only one who can settle for the Town is Town Meeting and/or the voters in a referendum on any Town Meeting vote.

There should be no attempt by anyone to try to leave Town Meeting and/or the voters out of the process. In fact, what is probably is holding up any settlement talks at this time is the (600 lb. gorilla) Town Meeting and the voters.

Send comments to: