Chariho School Parents’ Forum

December 1, 2007

So many issues – too little time

Filed under: bond — Editor @ 11:08 pm

A lot has happened just in the last few weeks – I thought I should recap it here so things don’t get lost in the pile.

 First the bond was vetoed by Hopkinton

Then Superintendent Ricci sent out an email to the town council presidents asking for a meeting 

 During the next school board meeting, I tried to discuss the Ricci email but discussion was shut down  (and a follow up reported here)

Of course they may have been upset because I published the data showing that Chariho pays high salary raises in our teacher contracts (based on seniority, not job performance) and also outlined the NECAP scores showing that Chariho’s ranks last in the area

Then the Westerly Sun ran an editorial slamming Chariho for not releasing the contract to the public.  Worse yet, at the school meeting, we took a vote to release the contract and it was rejected.  Even worse yet again, we didn’t announce who voted yes or no, nor did we announce what the vote was about

Then a Charlestown resident realized that the “updated” Chariho Act was not accurate and didn’t include a section on union protection or town withdrawal

And then the notice for the meeting came out and we see that reintroduction of the bond (or version of it) is on the agenda

I can’t help but think of the comic line – “nothing to see here, please move along”

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8 Comments »

  1. Hey Bill I think you missed the fact that Chariho also receceived a grant in the tune of $100,000 for a financial classroom for our children. Oh yea that is good news about Chariho,lets not put that on here.

    Also as I recall the email business was about every email that was sent to Barry Ricci not anyone email specific.And I may be wrong on this, but I think the votes taken for negotiations aren’t specific until the contract is radified? After the union votes all mintues will become public information; that includes how people voted and what the vote was actually for.

    Comment by Bob Petit — December 3, 2007 @ 2:03 pm | Reply

  2. The law is right there (or available to anyone who bothers to look it up) – please point out where I am wrong.

    Comment by Bill Felkner — December 3, 2007 @ 2:10 pm | Reply

  3. *(and a statement specifying the nature of the business to be discussed, shall be recorded and entered into the minutes of the meeting.)*

    It is recorded and will be revealed in the mintues after it is ratified.

    (A record of all votes taken at all meetings of public bodies, listing how each member voted on each issue, shall be a public record)

    same here, doesn’t say it has to be public knowledge the night of the vote, we haven’t finished negotiations yet. if the contract is voted down by the support staff than we go backto the table.

    I just don’t see it the same as you, we have the minutes of the meetings and at that point and time if all of this information isn’t in there than I could see where there is a violation but not until.

    Comment by Bob Petit — December 3, 2007 @ 4:38 pm | Reply

  4. Bob,

    We could ask our attorney but he works for the administration, not the board. Besides, after the Chariho Act fiasco, do you have confidence in him?

    (I know, he doesn’t technically work for the admim, but I can cite an example to make my point and if you want to hear it, ask me in OPEN session – I’ll be happy to share).

    Comment by Bill Felkner — December 3, 2007 @ 5:43 pm | Reply

  5. The argument is moot since negotiating can legally be public. Chariho School Committe, and Mr. Petit, have the option of taxpayer input or secrecy…public or private. They regularly choose secrecy. That sums it up.

    Comment by Curious Resident — December 3, 2007 @ 5:52 pm | Reply

  6. § 42-46-4 Closed meetings. – (a) By open call, a public body may hold a meeting closed to the public upon an affirmative vote of the majority of its members. A meeting closed to the public shall be limited to matters allowed to be exempted from discussion at open meetings by § 42-46-5. The vote of each member on the question of holding a meeting closed to the public and the reason for holding a closed meeting, by a citation to a subdivision of § 42-46-5(a), and a statement specifying the nature of the business to be discussed, shall be recorded and entered into the minutes of the meeting. No public body shall discuss in closed session any public matter which does not fall within the citations to § 42-46-5(a) referred to by the public body in voting to close the meeting, even if these discussions could otherwise be closed to the public under this chapter.

    (b) All votes taken in closed sessions shall be disclosed once the session is reopened; provided, however, a vote taken in a closed session need not be disclosed for the period of time during which its disclosure would jeopardize any strategy, negotiation or investigation undertaken pursuant to discussions conducted under § 42-46-5(a).

    b) A record of all votes taken at all meetings of public bodies, listing how each member voted on each issue, shall be a public record and shall be available, to the public at the office of the public body, within two (2) weeks of the date of the vote. The minutes shall be public records and unofficial minutes shall be available, to the public at the office of the public body, within thirty-five (35) days of the meeting or at the next regularly scheduled meeting, whichever is earlier, except where the disclosure would be inconsistent with §§ 42-46-4 and 42-46-5 or where the public body by majority vote extends the time period for the filing of the minutes and publicly states the reason.

    Comment by Lois Buck — December 3, 2007 @ 9:21 pm | Reply

  7. The above reference, which I pasted again here points out that it needs to be made public how each member voted on each issue. As you see below, there are time constraints. Personally, why wait 2 weeks, or until the next meeting which isn’t always possible, to post the vote. Just do it the night of the vote taken.

    Residents have a right to know how their constituents voted on each issue. Not making this public is kind of suspicious.

    b) A record of all votes taken at all meetings of public bodies, listing how each member voted on each issue, shall be a public record and shall be available, to the public at the office of the public body, within two (2) weeks of the date of the vote.

    Comment by Lois Buck — December 7, 2007 @ 7:07 am | Reply

  8. There is no legitimate reason to keep information from the public. Tiverton led the way sharing contract information with citizens while negotiations were still ongoing. Why not? Why shouldn’t we know what are employees are demanding in real time? Why shouldn’t we know how much of OUR money elected officials are offering to our employees?

    The Chariho School Committee, and most government negotiating bodies, do not want to be bothered with the input of those of us whose money they are spending. We are an inconvenience and might intefere with their ability to cede above inflation salary increases and benefit packages.

    Comment by Curious Resident — December 8, 2007 @ 2:13 pm | Reply


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