Monday, June 4, 2012
AG Rebukes Regional School Committee
Regional School Committee did indeed violate the Open Meeting Law at its November 22, 2011 public meeting--but not for the technicalities I cited in my complaint.
At the very end of a three hour Regional School Committee meeting Amherst School Committee (who make up the lions share of the Region) Chair Irv Rhodes moved to go into executive session, "never to return." The motion is never properly seconded and no mention is made of why they are going into executive session other than the brief announcement three hours earlier at the start of the meeting by Regional Chair Rick Hood.
The Attorney General found, "While the Committee announced a valid reason for entering into executive session, the Committee violated the Open Meeting Law by discussing matters in executive session that were not appropriate given the stated purpose." And the AG points out sternly, "This is not a mere technical violation."
Interestingly the casual indifference to protocol displayed by this nonchalant executive session is consistent with the infraction that got them in trouble with the Attorney General. In fact, even after I filed my official complaint the arrogant attitude continued as they failed to properly respond to the Attorney General, which is duly noted in this official four page finding.
The Amherst School Committee now has two new members--Amilcar Shabazz and Lawrence O'Brien--and Rick Hood will be stepping down as committee chair later this month, so perhaps things will change.
Adhering to the principles of honest open government helps to build trust. And trust in your local government is like money, education or good health--you can never have too much of it.
AG Amherst Region Violation
Already having an impact. Most recent agenda posted to town website: