News ArchivesYou'll find our most current news in the box on the right.
2.14.13 ~ DEP announces 30-day public comment period
on the wastewater commission's application for state permit to construct groundwater discharge facility at Wayland Town Building's athletic field. Click Here for more.
1.15.13 ~ New Wastewater Consent Order from DEP
Without any public discussion of who will bear the cost, Wayland’s Fred Turkington and Fred Knight have committed the Town to a legal agreement for a new wastewater management plan. Click Here
10.17.12 ~ Who You Gonna Call?
Trying to contact someone in town government? Our new page should help!
Last night the two boards met to discuss FinCom's wacky idea of cutting the school budget by 10%.
10.10.12 ~ Finance Director Resigning Michael DiPietro is stepping down
Artcles 4 & 5 pass with wide margin!
9.30.12 ~ OPEB Graph
Check it out!
WT Glossary Of Terms for Town Meeting now available. Download here, print and bring it to Special Town Meeting
It's ALMOST ready!
We should be rolling out the new WaylandTransparency pages within the next day or so.
SPECIAL TOWN MEETING - October 3, 2012
October 3, 2012, at 7:30 p.m. at the Wayland High School Field House
You can find the Warrant here.
ALSO, we have been updating our Glossary of Terms for Town Meeting, to include some of the more recent terms or acronyms that some find confusing. So, whether it's OPEB, OML, Free Cash or Stabilization Fund, we've tried to make the glossary as comprehensive as possible to help you get through TM with as little angst as possible. The old version is still here if you want to take a look. However, you might want to come back next week and print out the revised version to take with you.
HOT OFF THE PRESS
CLICK HERE for the Operational Review Committee's Restatement Report
We're VERY pleased to announce that we have been working feverishly on updating and revamping the site and that over the next month or so, you will see many new exciting, albeit disturbing, details about some of the goings on in town. There are some new pages we will roll out as they are ready, i.e., OPEB (now live), the illegal bank accounts and much more. AND if we can convince our webmaster to also give the site a facelift, you may see some layout changes, as well.
What the hell is OPEB, anyway, and why should I care?
Find out here.
4.24.2012 ~ Last night's Annual Town Meeting
4.23.2012 ~ Annual Town Meeting Resumes and Concludes Tonight
Tonight will be the final night, with two important articles - 28 and 31. Article 28 is to audit the school accounts that were not part of the general ledger and is critically important if we are to ever move forward with confidence in our school finances again. Article 31 is to ensure Electronic Voting for the next 3 years. It should be a short night with only 5 articles in total. Read more about it here.
The fun continues tonight at 7:30pm (doors open @ 6) at the Middle School Auditorium.
4.11.2012 ~ Annual Town Meeting Continues Tonight
Night 3 begins tonight with Article 9. The Budget took all night last night. While some of Monday night's results were a disappointment to those of us promoting transparency, last night's results were all about budget and tax rate and voters were very much aligned with the petitioners.
The fun continues tonight at 7:30pm (doors open @ 6) at the Middle School Gym.
4.7.2012 ~ Annual Town Meeting starts Monday
Hopefully, with Electronic Voting, it won't drag on too long, but with 31 articles, it's bound to be more than one night. Plan on attending each night, as there are some critically important articles in the Warrant.
Click here for our Glossary of Terms for Town Meeting.
You can print it out and bring it with you.
7:30pm Monday (doors open @ 6) Middle School Gym
4.6.2012 ~ A New Day in Wayland
Tuesday's election was a real tipping point for transparency in Wayland's government. All 5 of the candidates that we identified as being the most likely to bring transparency to Wayland were elected. Now, on to Town Meeting on Monday night!
4.2.2012 ~ Election Tomorrow!
Wayland Transparency has identifed who we believe to be the most TRANSPARENT candidates. Read All About It.
3.11.2012 ~ It's official!.
Our elementary schools are overcrowded. Four years after the School Committee unnecessarily closed Loker School and moved about 400 students to CH and HH, a study has just been done that proves what many people have known all along - our 2 elementary schools are well over capacity AND we still have Loker sitting there half emptly. Here is the official report.
1.26.2012 ~ New website devoted to Wayland water..
There is a new website devoted to Wayland's water supply, put together by members of the former Wayland Wellhead Protection Committee. Check it out.
1.24.2012 ~ Strange Times.
Some months ago, after School Committee member Shawn Kinney had pushed for more information about the 5 illegal Principals' Discretionary Accounts, a small group of residents made a lot of noise at a meeting and in the Crier that called for supporting our principals and trusting them implicitly. There was a particular "how dare you!" tone to the effort. Ironically however, the issue at hand had nothing whatsoever to do with trusting the principals and it was a rather tangential leap to be talking about principals, when the issue was about illegal bank accounts.
Similarly, at last night's School Committee meeting, 20 or so residents filled the room, most of them speaking during public comment. While the indignation was absent this time, there was a common theme from all of them that can best be summed up as "We support Dr. Stein and his new initiatives and we don't want any cuts to be made to this budget." It was clear from the number of people speaking, from the nearly identical message from each of them, (and from the email that had circulated through the schools earlier in the day asking people to come and speak), that they felt a need to rally the troops and come save the budget from getting slashed.
So, it must have come as a shock to them when the meeting got under way to hear SC member Ellen Grieco completely defuse the situations by asking why we're even talking about slashing the budget since it was never on the agenda. Shawn Kinney agreed. It was a non-issue. Always had been.
So, why did they think it was? Recently, Shawn Kinney had made a point that was misconstrued. He had made the point that residents had been overtaxed because each of the 3 previous fiscal years, the schools had considerable amounts of money left over, which was returned to the town. He said that we should be budgeting appropriately so that money brought in for the schools is spent on the schools, and not simply returned to the town. He had suggested that FinCom reexamine its recommendations to the School Committee, since the latter had continually been collecting more money than it was spending.
Every member of the public that spoke, save one, had nothing but praise and admiration for Dr. Stein, the budget and the schools The overarching message was one of unconditional support. One woman, however, had some less than complimentary things to say about the budget process. After pointing out that she is very glad to live in a town that spends 55% of its income on the schools (actually, that percentage is closer to 70). She went on to say that she has young kids, will be in the schools for many years and is excited about the schools overall. She said that she has read the budget and the Abrahams Report and is concerned that some very basic accounting practices that are normally part of Accounting 101 are not practiced here. She also pointed out that we do not have the level of transparency that we ought to have. Like many others, she has expressed a desire to understand what's under the hood.
During the 2nd public comment period, a resident spent some time advising the SC to not put too much stock in the Abrahams Report, as mistakes had been found and not corrected in their Part Two report (in actuality, two minor mistakes had been identified at the time, which were promptly addressed and corrected. The ORC then signed off on the final report agreeing that there were no remaining mistakes.) After she was finished, two others made some similar comments in what seemed to be a concerted effort to discredit the Abrahams Report. These were not unlike the comments made by the BOS when Part Two of the report was released and they were desperately trying to throw cold water on it. However they want to spin it, nothing changes the fact that the budget was/is a mess and that the budgeting "process" was rife with considerably less than "Best Practices".
A "good problem to have"?
Those were the words Tom Fay used in an effort to put a positive spin on the massive surplus that our FinCom & BOS grew. We would put it slightly differently - something along the lines of "gross mismanagement", but to each his own.
In addition to another $1.2M that the Abrahams Group recommends we move to Free Cash (making the presumed $10.3M on which we based a decision to return $4M to tax payers in November, actually $11.5M), now there's another $3,000,000 that needs to be addressed - the schools' revolving accounts. This week's budget meetings should be interesting. Please attend if you can.
HAPPY NEW YEAR!
It has been a remarkable year for change here in Wayland. Many thanks to all who have worked so hard to create some positive change in our little town, and to all of the voters who came out and made their voices heard at Special Town Meeting.
In the now infamous words of our former SC Chair, there is undoubtedly more to come, as we will continue to see some extraordinary developments in the coming months.
Here's wishing for a happy, healthy, successful and most importantly transparent 2012 to all!
Send Us Your Comments!
We always like to hear from you regarding ideas, comments and suggestions. Let us know of your experiences with transparency (or lack of it) in Wayland. Please be in touch!
"You better watch out
You better not cry
Better not pout
I'm telling you why
Abra hams is coming to town
He's making a list
And checking it twice...."
The Abrahams Group will be presenting their Restatement of FY2011 School Expenditures, followed by a discussion with the Operational Review Committee.
Meeting is tonight (Wednesday) at the Town Building at 7:30.
12.12.2011 ~ FY11 Budget Restatement
The Abrahams Group has completed their restatement of the FY11 budget.
You can find it here.
Article 3 passes in landslide!
11.15.2011 ~ BE PREPARED! Download your copy of Wayland Transparency's Glossary of Terms.
Never again be caught not knowing the difference between a Cherry Sheet and a Recap Sheet. Our Glossary provides what all voters need to know, in plain English
Print it out and bring it with you Thursday night!
11.14.2011 ~ SPECIAL TOWN MEETING
this Thurs. 7:30 MS!
We have added a whole section with several pages about Thursday's Special Town Meeting. Read about it here.
Be There! Thurs. Nov 17, 7:30pm Middle School
10.21.2011 ~ CHANGE IS COMING!
People have been asking when we're going to update the site. It will be soon, as there is a LOT of incredible stuff coming out lately and we want to be sure you have access to all of it.
In addition, we will be cleaning up the site a bit - not so much a major overhaul, but a "reconfiguration", if you will. Some links are out of date, i.e. Superintendent Search. As always, nothing will be deleted, simply archived, so that current information will be most prominent and older news and informaiton will be a little deeper in the site.
9.21.2011 ~ MCAS Test Results
Boston Magazine has posted the results of the MCAS socres for verious towns in the state. You can find Wayland's here.
6.24.2011 ~ Special ed director said to siphon $10m
Don't worry - not Wayland.
However, this is one of many recent stories in communities all over and reminds us that the importance of things like the Open Meeting Law (see below), regular audits and transparency can't be overemphasized.
Read the Globe artilce here.
6.23.2011 ~ We're in The Globe
In addition to the exposure referenced below (6.21.2011 and 6.20.2011) Wayland's BOS Open Meeting Law violation has reached the Boston Globe, which points out:
"In the first year since taking over enforcement of the law, Coakley's office has reviewed more than 170 complaints, issuing a variety of determinations and advisory opinions.
Only the Wayland and Otis complaints were considered to be intentional and referred for a hearing, Puffer said."
Read the whole story here.
6.21.2011 ~ A Dubious Distinction
Wayland had already been dubbed the "Open Meeting Law Capital of the Bay State" because of a whopping 25 violations last year by our School Committee (see 4.29.2011 below), and has already been showing up on websites such as Northeastern University's School of Journalism's New England First Amendment Center site. Now, after the AG's office has found our Board of Selectmen guilty of another violation, we are showing up in newspapers and on radio spots throughout the Boston area. See yesterday's post below (6.20.2011) for details and links to the AG's finding.
6.20.2011 ~ Board of Selctmen found again to have broken the Open Meeting Law
The Attorney General's office has just ruled against Wayland's Board of Selectmen for an OML violation last July. According to the document, "We find that the Board violated the Open Meeting Law by engaging in deliberation prior to the commencement of its July 8, 2010 meeting. We believe this to be an intentional violation of the Open Meeting Law, and will refer this matter to a hearing pursuant to 940 CMR 29.07(3) to determine whether the violation was intentional and if the Board should be assessed a fine."
To download the document, Click Here.
To see the 2-minute video of the violation, Click Here.
5.13.2011 ~ Watertown school employee admits to stealing money from school system
"The sad thing is that we put our trust in a long-time employee and long-time resident from a well-known family in Watertown to do the right things for the faculty and students of the middle school," said Watertown School Committee Chairman Tony Paolillo.
4.29.2011 ~ "Wayland is shaping up to be the Open Meeting Law capital of the Bay State..."
In an article entitled Wayland, Mass. and the Open Meeting Law, Laura Crimaldi highlights some of the high points on the New England First Amendment Center website.
4.19.2011 ~ Dr. Kinney clarifies...
On April 4, the day before the election, Patch.com published something School Committee member Shawn Kinney said which, without the benefit of the context in which he said it, left the impression that no evidence of fraud was found in the 6 illegal school bank accounts discovered by the auditor. In fact, that's exactly what he said. However, this message was quickly pinged all over town as an indication that everything was hunky-dory with these accounts. In fact, that is not at all the case, so Dr. Kinney wrote a letter to the Wayland Town Crier to clarify his point. While he had found no evidence of fraud, he wasn't actually looking for it, and the fact that he didn't find it, should not be misconstrued to mean that therefore, there is none. As he wrote in his article, the only way to know for sure is to investigate further. Read his article here.
4.14.2011 ~ No Good Deed Goes Unpunished
According to WVN, Town Meeting Procedures Subcommittee member, Donna Bouchard was asked to step down by BOS Chair Steve Correia after she pointed out a legal problem with the town's budget proposal. "Correia called Donna Bouchard on Saturday, two days after she spoke at Town Meeting, and demanded that she resign from the committee, Bouchard said, for "conduct unbecoming a member of the committee."
This is an interesting choice of words from Corriea, as he was caught on tape last summer in a situation where he and 3 other board members appear to be breaking the Open Meeting Law in a pre-meeting, as they huddle together and whisper about which candidates they should appoint to town positions. Click here for WayCam clip. Correia later sent Bouchard an email apologizing.
Here is a video of Mr. Correia at Ask The Candidates on March 29, explaining that the Selectmen have never once broken the Open Meeting Law.
4.7.2011 ~ ANNUAL TOWN MEETING GUIDE TO TERMINOLOGY
Tired of trying figure out what a "debt exclusion" is or how anything that has the word "tax" in it could possibly be neutral? We present "Wayland Transparecny Glossary of Terms for Annual Town Meeting".
Finally, an easy-to-read document with deflinitons to all those confusing terms!
Please print it out and bring it to tonght's Town Meeting. Why not bring copies for others, as well?
4.5.2011 ~ VOTE TODAY!
Polls are open from 7am - 8pm at the Middle School and Town Building.
Vote for whomever YOU think will provide the most transparency!
4.4.2011 ~ New Link!
New link from our homepage for town employees to the MA State website on the MA Whistleblower Protection Act
Also, here's a little something for the It Can't Happen Here category.
3.31.2011 ~ BREAKING NEWS!
From the Operational Review Committee
3.23.2011 ~ ORC Meeting Thursday night @ 9:15pm
The Operational Review Committee has called an unschedeled meeting at an unusual time - 9:15pm Thursday - with an agenda that says only Discussion of communication by and on behalf of the committee.
3.15.2011 ~ BREAKING NEWS! - New Report Just Released
The ORC, aka, the Audit Committee will be meeting on Wednesday night at 7:45. They will be discussing the just-released Draft version of Part Two of the Abrahams Report, which can be found here. It is a large PDF and may be slow to download, but it's worth it. We have devoted a new page to the report, with short excerpts, as well as a link to the entire 115 page report.
2.19.2011 ~ School Committee breaks the Open Meeting Law.....again.
What this case lacks in severity, it makes up for in quantity - The State Attorney General has ruled against the School Committee in 25 counts of violations of the law. We will devote a new page entirely to OML violations of the SC in the near future. In the meantime, you can read about it on the Town Crier website, however, as an isolated case, this does not do justice to the ongoing culture on our SC of a blatant disregard for the law. For a hint of that, read our Offensive and Revealing Email from SC Chairman in its entirety, where only 12 days after being found guilty of a previous violation, the Chair sent out an email containing multiple violations.
It is impossible to miss the contrast between the Chariman's words and tone in that email which was never intended for public consumption, as compared to what he said in the Town Crier article.
It is important to note that current SC members Shawn Kinney and Beth Butler were not on the committee at the time of these violations.
2.10.2011 ~ Abrahams Report.....YIKES!
The Final Draft of the Abrahams Report is out, and it ain't pretty. Click here.
2.6.2011 ~ Seven things you should know about our school budget
#6. The controls on the MUNIS software set up by former Business Administrator Joy Buhler were turned off. This allows for a free movement of funds from one part of the budget to another. Not surprisingly, this is not considered Best Practices according to the Abrahams Group and will need to be corrected. Read More.
1.19.2011 ~ The Reconfiguration
Three years have passed since the SC voted to "reconfigure" the schools, but the overcrowding and other fallout from it have continued to worsen. There are two groups of people who are making efforts to come up to speed on what happened and why - Claypit Hill parents, who didn't realize at the time how much this would impact their school, and new parents moving to town who are asking why CH and HH are so crowded when there's all this empty space available at Loker. Even one of the recent superintendent candidates made the comment "I certainly like the amount of room you have in that building in a district that's overcrowded."
Our new Reconfiguration link in the Main Menu on the left, provides 3 ways to look at what happened:
"The 5-Minute Elevator" version for a quick overview
"The Big Deal", which answers questions about why this event tore the community apart.
In addition, the Reconfiguration Archive, which was the original WaylandTransparency site, is still available under the heading, "The Gory Details"
1.18.2011 ~ Tonight's Meeting Rescheduled
Tonight's SC meeting has been rescheduled to this Thursday, the 20th, due to inclement weather.
There will still be a meeting on Wednesday night, as well, as the final Superintendent candidate is intverviewed. The meeing is open to the public. You can read a bit about each of the candidates here. Where available, there are links to the WayCam video of each candidate's interview.
1.4.2011 ~ Audit site updated
Updates and a new page have been added to WaylandAudit.org, including a new page called Findings & Reports, which has a link to the Abraham's Group interim report.
December 22, 2010 ~ The Top Three
The Superintendent Search Committee has completed its task and narrowed down their top 3 choices of the 34 canddiates who applied and passed their recommendations on to the School Committtee.
More details here.
December 11, 2010 ~ A great quote
"The concept of 'publicly available' means that it's hidden in the sixth building, on the fourth floor, down the long third corridor that is protected by leopards, then you go to room 117a (protected by snakes) and examine file cabinet 4 (protected by scorpions) and find your information in drawer 2 (full of bedbugs)."
Apparently, we're not alone. This quote is from a poster by the name of hjwolfe on a MWDN article online about frustration in Framingham from residents wanting to see their budeget online. Their SC Chairman says that it could be difficult to post the whole document because of its large size. This is curious, as there is virtually no limit to what can be posted, and it can all be done with one keystroke in about one millesecond.
December 5, 2010 ~ "The system is lacking a vision. We need to be able to identify where we are going and how we intend to get there. We need visionary leadership that we haven't had recently."
The results are in from the Superintendent Search Survey and the Focus Groups that provided input and ideas regarding what we need in our next Superintendent. You can find the completed documents here.
November 30, 2010 ~ "there was an inadequate segregation of duties over cash disbursements"
That is a quote from a report by a NY state auditor talking about Albany's school district. However, it turns out the same is true in Wayland. Wayland has not been employing Best Practices when it comes to our schools finances, as came up at last night's Operational Review Committee meeting. According to our new Business Manager, Geoff MacDonald, who replaced Joy Buhler at the end of August, "I think a lot of efficiencies and cost savings can be gained by more control and more oversight." He said that internal control is missing, that there is usually a clear line between who enters the Purchase Orders and who pays the bills and that has not been the case in Wayland.
November 29, 2010 ~ Audit Committee meeting tonight
The Operational Review Committee will be meeting tonight at 5:30 at the Town Building. The agenda can be found here.
November 23, 2010
The town website now has some information posted on the Operational Review Committee. While the committee itself is still not listed under Boards & Committees and instead, the information is under a heading at the bottom of the home page titled Timely Information, at least it's a start. If you click on the Operational Review Committee link, you come to a page with links to Charge of the Committee, Request for Proposals, Engagement Letter with the Abrahams Group and the Interim Report (of the Abrahams Group). The meetting Minutes are not posted.
We will be posting additional information on the work of the Operational Review Committee soon.
November 11, 2010 (Happy Veteran's Day!) ~ New Info on the Wayland Audit
October 20, 2010 ~ Superintendent Search has begun
With Gary Burton's June retirement coming up, the search for a new Superintendent is underway. Read all about it here.
September 28, 2010 ~ Finally! The Wayland Audit (review) site gets updated.
Get the latest information on what's happening with Article 6 - the Independent Review that most people just call the audit and the reasons for it, here.
September 22, 2010 ~ 2010 MCAS Scores now posted by the state
You can check all of Wayland's schools at these links using the grey pulldown menu on the right, near the top and clicking the orange button. Once you get to the page, you'l l need to select the blue Assessments tab. If you have any trouble finding what you're looking for, let us know. We'll be glad to help you navigate the site. It has got some very useful information.______________________________
September 7, 2010 ~ Busing Woes
Happy first day of school! The busing this year was going to be challenging anyway because of the HS construction, but it seems to have been made worse by lots of bad and continually changing information. So, we've added a page on busing which you can find HERE.
June 30, 2010 ~ New Principal at Loker School
We knew it was only a matter of time. Get the details here.
June 21, 2010 ~ New SC member:
At a joint meeting of the Board of Selectmen, and the 3 out of 4 SC members present, Beth Butler was appointed the latest member of the School Committee tonight.
June 18, 2010 ~ Accounts Payable:
On Friday afternoon, John Flaherty stopped in on Joy Buhler and asked to have a look at the stack of invoices that she would be presenting to to School Committee on Monday night. Ms. Buhler told him that they were in process at the moment, and then would go downstairs to accounting before making their way back to her. He asked when he might best catch up with them, and she said he could come back once she had them back in her hands and to come back on Monday afternoon.
Follow-up to my visit to accounts payable:
Upon my return to the accounting office, Joy produced a stack of invoices, as promised, and told me she had to get them back from me and leave by 4pm.
As I plowed through the stack, I had a few specific questions, which Joy answered for me. However, after an hour or so, I realized the futility of this exercise, as the only way to really understand what was happening would be to see a spreadsheet, something Joy had already told School Committee member Shawn Kinney she was not able to produce - some sort of a limitation to the software.
To see only one part of the equation - the bills that were being paid - told me nothing of the relative priority or need for any given purchase, nor did it tell me whether any purchase was budgeted for in the previous year's budget, because there was no "budget to actual".
It is a good thing that Shawn Kinney has broken the ongoing tradition of SC members simply approving the Accounts Payable every week without ever asking for any backing documents.
At the School Committee meeting of June 7th, Shawn Kinney's questions about the stack of invoices on which he was asked to sign off, led SC Chair Louis Jurist to ask what it was he was looking for and if he suspected fraud.
Fraud, of course, would be the worst case scenario and the last thing one would like to think is going on in our schools. Therefore, it is puzzling that Dr. Jurist would jump right to the worst case scenario when there is a whole range of questions one might consider first:
1. Could this stack of over $1,000,000 worth of invoices contain honest mistakes?
2. What exactly does this large dollar amount of expenditures contain?
3. Are the items we're about to pay for things that were planned and budgeted in advance?
4. If not the SC, then who is going to oversee and double-check that our expenditures are both appropriate and necessary?
5. Since the SC is the board that approves the school budget, wouldn't it behoove them to understand how the money is being spent and if there is any correlation between what is budgeted and what is spent?
It seems to me that rather than Dr. Jurist asking if Mr. Kinney was concerned about fraud, the real question should have been addressed to himself and the rest of the board – "Why haven't we been doing this all along?"
May 26, 2010 ~ Additional page just added to Wayland Transparency:
Priorities (in Main Menu) - Many things have come up in the last few years that make us wonder about the priorities and decision-making process of our administration and School Committee. Here is just one thought-provoking example that provides some perspective.
May 20, 2010 Three new pages have just been added to Wayland Transparency:
Frequently Asked Questions - FAQ (in Main Menu) - It's a humble beginning with just a few questions so far, however as it grows, we will categorize them under appropriate headings. We welcome your input here and would appreciate any suggestions as to what belongs on this list.
Comments & Suggestions (in footer) - please send us any ideas for how to improve and expand the site to make it more useful for all. If you know of any specific instances of transparency in town, or a lack of it, please pass it along for inclusion on the site.
BOS Policies (in Town-side Menu) - also a humble beginning, this is the first and only page on the site that is not specific to the schools. Since this site is about transparency in Wayland, when approached about posting this after Article 20's failure to pass at TM, this seemed like the perfect place for it. Time permitting, we will eventually look to post the policies of all town boards on Wayland Transparency. If you have have any such files electronically, please pass them along.