Sunday, January 25, 2009

Mr. Orr of Framingham, Mass, runs up against the man, in an NPO suit

This was shared on E-Democracy.Org public list. Interesting. (Tiny edits by blog editor)
In the sleepy little town of Framingham, Massachusetts, the biggest social service agency (SSA) in the town, sued the town and 13 of its town officials. I'm one of them. This all started in Nov '07. The officials were sued both in their official and in their individual capacities. The suit is available at

This town is massively overrun with SSAs and their associated programs. A few raw numbers: Based on population size, by proportion, we should expect to see about 45 programs, 7 agencies and 3 Level 3 sex offenders. Instead we have ~250, 48, and 28, respectively. SMOC is the biggest of the big three in this town and they are a $60M/year operation. They are the ones suing us in Federal Court. (Have you ever heard that old expression, "Don't make a Federal case out of it."?) The suit is totally ridiculous.

Also, a big part of the problem is that SMOC is structured in such a way that they bring people into the town from outside the region. Their clientele is largely based on violent criminals and drug addicts. And, their system is designed with what they call the "Continuum of Care", which keeps their clientele in their programs (and by implication in Framingham) till they die (or until they get better?).

The charges include:
* Conspiracy to create an atmosphere of discrimination against the
* Libel.
* Violation of the Fair Housing laws.


All news articles since it started are available at

So why am I bothering you poor people with this nonsense? I'm one of the people being sued and part of the reason they're going after me is because of the mailing list I run in this town. The list is open to the public, but there is a strong sentiment against the agencies that has been expressed by people, and this includes myself. SMOC would love to shut this list down, the same way that they are demanding that the whole town be placed into receivership.

There's a lot here and I could go on for many hours, but the gist of things as I suspect is relevant to this group is here. And BTW, they're not doing very well. They never expected that we'd actually try to defend ourselves, and because the town's liability policy kicked in, they're being forced to spend about $1 for every $.15 that we spend.

Let me know if you have any questions.

Steven Orr, Framingham

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