Brattleboro Design Review Committee Special Meeting: August 3, 2023

Brattleboro Design Review Committee
Special Meeting
Thursday, August 3, 2023
2:30 P.M.
Hanna Cosman Room

The public is invited to attend in person or by joining virtually on Zoom at the following link:
Meeting ID: 885 7839 8994
Passcode: 125000

You can also call in using your telephone:

877 853 5247 US Toll-free
888 788 0099 US Toll-free
833 548 0276 US Toll-free
833 548 0282 US Toll-free

1. Call to Order
2. Review and Approve Minutes of May 10, 2023 and May 24, 2023
3. Public Comment
4. Executive Session
5. Adjourn

Comments | 3

  • Questing the agenda

    I wrote to the town, including the town manager and several officials, with the following question:

    “Shouldn’t the agenda include the reason for executive session?


    After a few days and a reminder email from me, the first response I received was from Jessica Sticklor, who wrote the following:

    “Good Morning,

    “The reason for the Executive Session does not need to appear in the agenda, however, it should have been stated in the text of the warning. If you would like to discuss this further, please contact Sue Fillion, the Planning Director at

    “Jessica Sticklor (she/her/hers)
    Executive Assistant
    Town of Brattleboro
    230 Main Street, Suite 208
    Brattleboro, VT 05301
    (802) 251 – 8115”

  • Next I received a reply for Sue Fillion

    Sue Fillion
    9:20 AM (6 hours ago)
    to Town, John, Patrick, me, Jessica

    Dear Mr. K-Brooks,

    I warned the meeting for the Design Review Committee and consulted with attorneys at the VT League of Cities of Towns after receiving notice of your inquiry to make sure that I was not in violation of Open Meeting Law. They advised that the law doesn’t say that a public body (e.g., Selectboard, Planning Commission, etc.) has to explicitly state in its agenda the purpose of the executive session. Agenda isn’t defined in Vermont state law but standard definition under, e.g., Webster’s Dictionary defines it as “a list or outline of things to be considered or done agendas of faculty meetings.” Their take was that given that the point of executive session is to discuss something privately, it’s reasonable to conclude that a public body should exclude detail that would give away the purpose of the executive session.

    That said, I do understand that the point of the Open Meeting Law is to give people notice, transparency, and awareness of the public body’s business and actions. When entering the executive session, the motion did include the reason invoked. This is reflected in the minutes.

    Best regards,

    Sue Fillion
    Planning Director

  • Feeling that there is potential value in dialogue, I responded as follows:

    Steven K-Brooks
    3:11 PM (28 minutes ago)
    to Sue, Jessica, Town, John, Patrick

    Attorneys typically will advise you as to the minimum requirement. I am suggesting that town officials consider exceeding minimum requirements in a manner designed to welcome greater interest and participation.

    It is the attorney’s job to make sure that town officials cover their anatomy. Have you and the attorney ever discussed whether you can exceed minimum requirements? Can you think of ways that “routine” warnings and agendas could be used to attract greater participation?


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