Chariho School Parents’ Forum

September 21, 2007

“Sealed” versus “Closed”

Filed under: executive sessions,Sept 11 meeting — Editor @ 11:42 pm

The Chariho Times ran a very nice article and editorial.  Unfortunately, they reported that Mr. Ricci accused me of violating the Open Meeting Act.  He has done this when I disclosed the agenda for the March 27 executive session and he has done this by saying the minutes are “sealed.”   And it was also said here.

I have spoken with the AG’s Office and the OMA does not address the issue of internal agenda items.  There is no violation

And, I have already said that the meeting involved a few board members trying to stop me from writing in the paper.  I don’t care if the minutes were sealed or not – you can’t protect that information because it is not protected under OMA. 

That being said, the minutes are not “sealed.”  Below are the minutes that clearly show we “closed” the minutes.  That means they have been public information for nearly 5 months.

Don’t believe everything people tell you – no matter how many times they say it.  Ask yourself this – why would the the board and the Superintendent make false statements like this?  I don’t blame the press – they trust the Superintendent to tell them the truth.



  1. PS. I have verified that Superintendent Ricci received legal advice from the Chariho solicitor before requesting the exec session on March 27. Think about that – the solicitor works for the board. But the Superintendent used the solicitor for advice on how to deal the board – the solicitor’s client. Any conflict there?

    Comment by Bill Felkner — September 21, 2007 @ 11:54 pm | Reply

  2. PSS. Notice this on the minutes – it says, “it was noted that any employee has a right to request an executive session.” This is absolutely not true. This is exactly the point Giancarlo made – an employee is not allowed to call for an executive session. IF the school board wishes to speak to an employee, the employee may request an exec session (or not) but the employee has no authority to request the meeting. This is a perfect example of the administration ramming something down your throat when they know it’s not true. I have asked for clarification on these minutes as to who is the one that “noted” this “fact.” Mr. Ricci doesn’t know. The phantom lawyer I suppose.

    Comment by Bill Felkner — September 22, 2007 @ 12:08 am | Reply

  3. I blame the press because it is their obligation to get all sides of a controversial story.

    Comment by Curious Resident — September 22, 2007 @ 12:08 pm | Reply

  4. This one I find problematic in particular. I was there, Mr. Cicchetti read the pertinent passage in full, it was black and white – not at all confusing, and the school board ignored it in it’s entirety and voted against Bill and Giancarlo. I was amazed that they did not pay any attention at all to Mr. Cicchetti’s point of view, especially since he had obviously researched the issue before speaking — not even pausing or postponing till they had further and more correct information from their solicitor.

    Comment by Barbara Capalbo — September 23, 2007 @ 12:19 pm | Reply

  5. Yes, it was clearly against the OMA. But they did it anyway. Not unlike trying to say I can’t ask questions without board approval. The very next morning Spt Ricci acknowledged that he couldn’t deny my requests.

    I would love to see what would happen if someone requested the March 27 minutes. They have been public since the April meeting.

    Comment by Bill Felkner — September 23, 2007 @ 12:41 pm | Reply

  6. How do they get away with this nonsense? Are local reporters so uninformed that even when Mr. Giancarlo reads directly from the law, the media still doesn’t question why the closed meeting was allowed to occur? Was there any reporting of the violation?

    The odd part is you would think that The Rag and The Chariho Times would be the most interested in anything the government is trying to hide. Pursuing stories involving government malfeasance should be Journalism 101.

    I guess if the school committee has been going into illegal closed meetings for years and no one ever questions the legality, they feel they can’t be touched and keep doing it.

    I think I read that the state levies a $1000 fine on anyone willfully violating open meeting laws. With Mr. Giancarlo having informed them in public, the state should be collecting $10,000 from each member who still voted in favor of a closed meeting. They can’t claim ignorance when they were informed minutes prior to the vote.

    Comment by Curious Resident — September 23, 2007 @ 6:53 pm | Reply

  7. Sorry, should have wrote $1,000 per member. Although $10,000 per member would ensure they never do it again.

    Comment by Curious Resident — September 23, 2007 @ 6:59 pm | Reply

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