NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

Local News

October 30, 2013

Public denied access to legal opinion on fire engineers

West Newbury selectmen divided on decision

(Continued)

But Knowles countered that putting out what he sees as “incomplete information” would actually mislead the public. “Let’s try to resolve it first,” he said.

Kemper then objected to what he feels is a tendency by Knowles to label a document as being “in draft form” as a way to skirt public document laws, an apparent reference to a five-month delay in the release of a financial audit back in 2011. At the time, Knowles claimed the document was still in draft form and raised questions about some of the methodologies used by auditors Melanson Heath in arriving at the results it did. The audit was eventually released in an “as is” form without any new input from the employees, Finance Committee or selectmen.

Kemper argued on Monday that if Knowles really feels there is more research needed, then why not take no action next week and revisit the warrant article at the annual meeting next spring.

“This is first-class manipulation,” he said. To which Knowles responded, “That could be said of your comments, too.”

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