An event that left liquor bottles, furniture and litter strewn across Heritage Park in Mashpee “never should have happened,” Town Manager Rodney C. Collins told the Mashpee Board of Selectmen at its meeting at Town Hall on Monday, September 13.

Describing the condition of the park after the morning after the September 4 event as an “unacceptable” and “an embarrassment to the town,” Mr. Collins apologized to residents living in the area and pledged that the oversights leading to the event would not happen again.

“Looking at the pictures, looking at the reports, looking at the applications, looking at the policies, it is fair to say that this never should have happened, and I am going to see to it that it never happens again,” Mr. Collins said. “As the chief administrative officer of the town, [who] tries to say the buck stops with me, any person that lives in that area, I publicly apologize to.”

A section of a police report read aloud by Mr. Collins described an “extremely unreasonable amount of trash on the ground in the parking lot area” the morning after the event.

“It appeared that the patrons from the event the prior night had just thrown their trash all over the place and made no attempt to locate a trash receptacle,” Mr. Collins said, reading the police report. “The fields were strewn with trash, food, cups, bottles and everything that appeared to have been used to run the event.”

The report also noted “numerous scattered, empty and partially consumed alcoholic beverages around the field” and a sign displayed on the fence near the baseball diamond that appeared to indicate that the event organizers were selling alcohol.

“Obviously you all know this is a clear violation of the use of any town facility or property,” Mr. Collins said. Town policy does not allow alcoholic beverages at Heritage Park.

The town has two permit applications for use of town facilities such as Heritage Park: a facilities use application, which is processed through the Mashpee Department of Public Works, and a special event application, which requires approval from the board of selectmen.

The event at Heritage Park had only a facilities use permit, which Mr. Collins said is intended for softball games or similar events that can be approved at the staff level.

“This was anything but a softball game,” Mr. Collins said. “On the application they had indicated that there was going to be a DJ. If there is going to be a DJ, that is a special permit, or a special event permit; it’s not a field use permit.”

Described as a “family fun day” on the facilities use permit, Mr. Collins said it was a “violation of policy” for the event not to go before the board of selectmen. The application was processed at the staff level without the knowledge of department heads or the town manager’s office, he said.

“I was not aware of it, the assistant manager was not aware of it, the director of DPW was not aware of it, initially; this was handled at the staff level of DPW,” Mr. Collins said. “Obviously I’m not going to discuss personnel issues publicly, but it is fair to say that the appropriate action has been taken to make sure that this never happens again.”

The Hyannis resident who filled out the application for the event told the assistant town manager that he was not aware of anyone authorized to bring alcoholic beverages to the event, Mr. Collins said.

“That does not pass the credibility test—there was a sign, which I have a picture of right here—saying how much the alcoholic beverages cost,” he said.

Selectman John J. Cotton asked whether the town has any ability to fine the organizers listed on the event permit.

Mr. Collins said that protocol calls for an insurance certificate with facilities use permits but that “under these circumstances it was waived.”

Selectman Andrew R. Gottlieb suggested that the event organizers be cited for littering.

Selectman David W. Weeden asked whether police were called for noise complaints of the event and whether a citation for a noise violation may also be warranted.

Mr. Collins said that police did respond to several noise complaints the night of the event and contacted the director of public works.

“[The DPW director] was aware that a permit had been issued, and, based on that information, the police didn’t feel comfortable taking any action because they didn’t have a copy of the permit,” he said.

The organizer of the event was called the morning after and organized a cleanup that removed the trash to the satisfaction of the town, Mr. Collins said. There was no damage to the field, he said.

The event remains under investigation.

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(1) comment


Could someone please explain in what world this makes sense: "“[The DPW director] was aware that a permit had been issued, and, based on that information, the police didn’t feel comfortable taking any action because they didn’t have a copy of the permit,” he said." In other words, if there is excessive noise at an event, the police won't "feel comfortable taking action" because they don't have a copy of the permit. Does that work for the Fire Department, too, if for example a structure is ignited or there's a brush fire, they "won't feel comfortable" putting the fire out?

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