At the request of the board of selectmen, a meeting was held with Assistant Attorney General Johanna Soris in Town Counsel Roger Ferris' Office, with School Committee Counsel Charles Maguire, and school subcommittee and selectmen subcommittee members to seek the attorney general's office's counsel on the situation.
...We were informed by Assistant Attorney General Soris that there are two types of gifts to a community: a "public trust" or a "gold brick."Assistant Attorney General Soris felt the "Afghans" painting came under the "public trust," which the attorney general's office would have some oversight on.
The question to be answered is: What was the donor's intent when the painting was hung on a wall over 50 years ago at what was then the high school and used as a kind of town hall and meeting room for school committee, board of selectmen, town meeting, and various other important community activities?The paperwork for that time is scarce, and the family and the school department hold different interpretations of the intent of the gift and its usage for our community.After hearing the input from Assistant Attorney General Soris, selectmen voted unanimously not to sell the "Afghans" painting. (Town bylaws require that the board of selectmen vote in the affirmative before any such town property be sold or dispensed with.)
To me, this is where the process got bogged down.The school committee had voted previously to sell the painting; after meeting with the attorney general's office, the board of selectmen voted not to sell the painting.I have asked and asked that the Attorney General's Office send a representative down again to explain openly to you, the residents, what was said to us at that meeting in which she
differentiated between the painting being a "public trust," not a "gold brick."I really believe that the clouded perception with the dealings with the "Afghans" painting could be so easily cleared up if you could hear directly from the Attorney General's Office via a live televised board of selectmen meeting to which the school committee and public are invited. I have asked to arrange for Attorney Soris to meet with us as soon as possible.