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Massachusetts State Law (The Open Meeting Law) requires public government bodies to have meetings which are open to all and which are announced or "noticed" at least 48 hours in advance (excluding Saturday, Sunday, and Holidays). There are several specific exemptions to this open meeting requirement which allows the Council to hold closed or "executive" sessions.
Yes. The City Charter (Article 9) provides several methods for residents/voters to petition the City Council.
The School Committee is an independently elected body (six (6) members plus the Mayor) and the only formal role of the Council in the School Committee is the "bottom line" approval of the School Committee budget as part of the City budget, although the Committee and the Council do on occasion meet jointly.
City Council meets on alternate Tuesdays at 7:00 pm in the Gloucester City Hall Kyrouz Auditorium. A schedule of meetings and events can be viewed on Public Meeting Notices.