More on Government Law

The attorneys at Montroll, Backus & Oettinger, P.C. are experienced in representing municipalities and individual citizens on regulatory and municipal issues.

Municipal Law from the Perspective of the City, Town or School District

Municipal law is the exercise of open government. It requires notice, due process, and susceptibility to the public records law. It regulates city, town and school district meetings. Elections (both by floor vote and by Australian Ballot) must be conducted strictly according to law. The entire process needs to be clear, including the wording of “warnings,” and the running of the meetings themselves. Cities, towns and school districts regularly have to deal with delicate and high-stakes privacy issues, in contexts like FERPA-protected education records, HIPAA-protected medical records, employee files, disciplinary proceedings, and the like. Rules regarding executive session are complex, and recent legislation has mandated the award of attorney's fees to successful plaintiffs actions against municipalities for violations of these laws. Municipalities have to respond, both correctly and promptly, to public record requests. They have to preserve records (and in some cases destroy them) for (or after) a certain period of time. The rapid turnover in select board and school board compositions is another reason that municipalities need to be committed to continuing education of board members. We have extensive first-hand experience with municipal law. Andy Montroll served on the Burlington City Council for fifteen years, serving as chair for four of those years. Rob Backus also served on the Burlington City Council for four years. Mark Oettinger served as General Counsel to the Vermont Agency of Education for eight years, where he regularly advised school districts on municipal law, elections and public warnings. We have extensive experience as a teachers, trainers and facilitators, and we encourage municipalities to consider locally-customized training sessions as a means of achieving both governmental efficiency, transparency and effectiveness.

Municipal Law from the Citizen’s Perspective

Municipal regulations cover a vast number of areas. State statutes, state regulations and local ordinances proliferate. They cover everything from animals to zoning. They regulate business, recreation and everything in between. We can assist you in any aspect of your life that is subject to government oversight, so that you can be sure that the paperwork is in order and that the necessary permits have been properly obtained. Whether you are a homeowner or business owner, being aware of the applicable municipal regulations, and following them, is critical. Failure to do so can cost you time and money.

Regulatory Law

Regulatory laws control the actions of a business or individual. The goal of regulatory law is to protect and advance the health, safety and welfare make sure that the behavior entities and individuals are within the bounds of federal and state government laws, trade/association rules and social behaviors.

Many aspects of day to day dealings require you to follow the appropriate rules and regulations. Regulatory laws that are ignored can lead to hefty fines, such as failing to follow the rules on car emissions or a restaurant producing an entree while ignoring proper food control measures. Companies who ignore these rules will be fined and even potentially closed down until they do meet those requirements.

We handle all types of regulatory cases. Whether your matter is personal or business-related, we can help you understand the laws so that you never face fines or lawsuits relating to non-compliance with federal, state or local regulations.