Chariho School Parents’ Forum

April 12, 2007

“Sunshine is the best disinfectant” – Justice Lewis Brandeis

Filed under: Chariho — Editor @ 10:04 pm

We had a victory for transparency Tuesday night at the School Board meeting.  Actually, two victories and one defeat.

In the past, when the Board voted to go into Executive Session, part of the declaration of that vote included the requirement of keeping the minutes sealed.  Essentially, every time we went into Exec Session, the minutes were withheld from the public, forever.

Normally, a Board will vote to enter a closed session, then after the meeting, they go back into the open meeting and vote to seal the minutes, if it is so desired.  This gives the public the opportunity to see who wants the minutes sealed and the information necessary to ask their representative why they did what they did.  Last night, we voted to change this long-held practice. 

As I have written before, just because something is done in Exec Session that doesn’t mean that the public can’t know what happened.  After all, we are doing the peoples business you know.  Once an issue is resolved, and at least 30 days after the meeting, the information becomes public. 

The Board also voted to keep a video archive of the open meetings.  We can simply purchase a tape from Cox Cable.  This also takes the pressure off whoever is transcribing the meeting.

But we did have one defeat.  I made a motion to audio record the Exec Sessions and keep that as a record of what transpired.  This motion was defeated. 

In defense of those voting against this, it could be said that if we recorded the meeting, it may keep people from being completely honest and candid.  I personally don’t agree with that idea, and by virtue of this website, I clearly don’t have a problem broadcasting my views to the world. 

The down side is if you have a majority on a Board that has an agenda different than what is best for the people.  Let’s say a discussion was had where the people’s business wasn’t served.  And let’s say that the minutes did not accurately reflect what happened.  If a majority of people voted to approve the minutes, those inaccurate minutes would stand as the sole record of what transpired.  In my opinion, a possible restriction of candor is worth eliminating any possibility of corruption.  But that’s just my opinion.

 

Of course, even with an audio recording, it doesn’t mean that foul play could not be present.  Take, as an example, the NJ case where the tape came up blank.  Then again, a blank tape can be more damaging than the actual record (Re: Nixon).

    

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1 Comment »

  1. I read your blog for a long time and should tell that your posts are always valuable to readers.

    Comment by Heartburn Home Remedy — April 15, 2009 @ 8:38 am | Reply


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