Chariho School Parents’ Forum

May 8, 2007

Charges filed against EOC

Filed under: Chariho,Hopkinton,Maintenance — Editor @ 1:20 pm

As reported in the Sun –

Hopkinton School Panel draws challenge over Open Meeting Law

 By Chris Keegan
The Sun Staff

HOPKINTON – A member of the Chariho Regional School Committee is charging that the town’s Educational Options Study Committee has violated the Rhode Island’s Open Meetings Act.

In a complaint mailed to the Rhode Island Attorney General Patrick C. Lynch on Tuesday, School Committee member Andrew J. McQuaide of Charlestown asked the state agency to review whether the advisory committee has failed to advertise its meetings and file recorded minutes in accor­dance with state law.

 The committee, which was formed last April, is currently comprised of two members — former Town Councilor Georgia Ure and Dorothy Gardiner. Intended as a five­member board, the group does not have an official charge — though it was created to explore whether Hopkinton should stay in the school dis­trict, or partially withdraw partially its students and return them to the local level.


“The Educational Options Study Committee provides the Hopkinton Town Council with reports and recommendations at every town council meet­ing,” wrote McQuaide, who is a freshman at the University of Rhode Island. “Minutes of the Hopkinton Town Council meeting clearly suggest that the (committee) meets regular­ly. However, these meetings have not been posted and advertised in accordance with the Rhode Island Open Meetings Act…” “Currently, the Hopkinton Educational Options Study Committee is comprised of only two members,” he added. “The minutes of the Hopkinton Town Council meeting(s) indi­cate that their primary con­cern and focus surrounds the physical condition of the 1904 elementary school building that is currently not utilized as a school. The minutes that I have obtained indicate that the sole two members have met with professional guests just to discuss the condition of the vacant elementary school.” McQuaide pointed to the committee’s tour of the origi­nal Ashaway Schoolhouse with Hopkinton Town Manager William DiLibero, builder Ronald Kennedy, Chariho Assistant Superintendent Philip Thornton and others on Oct. 20. Recorded minutes of the meeting were later submit­ted to the town as evidence that the district had allegedly neglected the town-owned building — which was unheat­ed at the time due to a gas leak.

 School and town officials are currently involved in closed­door talks to determine whether the school district should continue maintaining the 1904 building — which it stopped using last June due to costly state and federal build­ing requirements. The cam­pus’ 1967 addition currently houses kindergarten through grade four students.

Hopkinton Town Council President Vincenzo Cordone said McQuaide’s complaint broaches a “gray area” because the study committee does not have enough members to con­duct a meeting. A quorum of three is needed to discuss any official business.

 “Technically, it (the commit­tee) is inactive because they don’t have a quorum,” Cordone said. “But if you don’t have a quorum, does it violate the Open Meetings Act? It’s up to the attorney general’s office to determine whether the com­plaint is valid or not.”

Neither Ure nor Gardiner could not be reached for com­ment this morning.

 In related news, McQuaide has asked Hopkinton’s Town Council to look into whether Roofing Unlimited Inc. violat­ed federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) regulations last week, when a foreman granted Gardiner and a representative of The Sun access to the 1967 school roof via an aerial lift. The company was recently hired to repair gutters on the 1904 building.

Federal regulations require construction site employees in a lift basket to wear a harness while working.


Roofing Unlimited Inc. owner Richard A. Doyon – who deemed the 1967 school roof’s condition to be in need of emer­gency repairs – did not return a phone message left at his Hope Valley business.



  1. […] issue – A few weeks ago, we had a bad leak at the 1967 Ashaway school (see posts here, here and here).  The EOC has always been a citizen voice regarding the schools and took pictures of the leak and […]

    Pingback by A response to McQuade and Petit « Chariho School Parents’ Forum — May 8, 2007 @ 2:13 pm | Reply

  2. On the face of it, Mr. McQuaide’s request that minutes be kept is reasonable and I wouldn’t disagree. That said, as Mr. Cordone notes, they can’t have a quorum since only two members exist and three are needed for a quorum. I’m not verse in procedural rules, but as long as Mr. McQuaide is not trying to use tricks to silence Ms. Ure and Ms. Gardiner, I guess I’m okay with the AG office providing guidance on the issue.

    Unfortunately, I suspect that Mr. McQuaide is not simply trying to gain access to as much information as possible. His quest to punish someone for allowing the Ashaway school roof to be viewed is indicative of a hissy fit on his part.

    I’m no big fan of government control over individual actions, so I’m biased, but if the Westerly Sun staff took it upon themselves to use the aerial lift without government mandated protection, I could give a rat’s behind. More important than the bogus safety issue is what is happening at our schools? How is our money being spent? What are our children being taught? Mr. McQuaide should spend more time looking into ways of increasing acadmemic performance and lessening taxpayer burdens. Perhaps then Chariho would be on the right path.

    Comment by Curious Resident — May 8, 2007 @ 4:28 pm | Reply

  3. As citizens, Dot Gardiner and Georgia Ure and Ron Kennedy were interested and vocal about the 1904 building before the addition of the Educational Options Committee. When the Committee was formed, it was because of their intense and very useful interest for the town. I do not believe that anyone can silence citizens saying that they cannot complain, research or talk publicly because now they haven’t a quorum — when they could do all of the above perfectly well without being a committee.

    Bob Petit and Andy McQuaide were indeed having a hissy fit. Shoot the messenger! Silence the citizens! It’s so like the Chariho District to approve of such shenanigans. Mr. Ricci should have been thoroughly embarrassed by the situation and the response.

    Comment by BarbaraC — May 12, 2007 @ 6:53 am | Reply

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  5. […] When Dorothy Gardiner of the Hopkinton Education Option Committee (EOC) photographed the leaks at th… […]

    Pingback by "No Bid" contract awarded for RYSE « Chariho School Parents’ Forum — May 23, 2007 @ 1:30 am | Reply

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