Chariho School Parents’ Forum

November 18, 2008

SC meeting Nov 18

Filed under: 1 — Editor @ 12:20 am

There is a School Committee meeting tomorrow night.  I am still an elected member of that Committee and will attend. 

Apparently, Barry Ricci does not believe I should attend as he has refused to send me the packet.  I emailed him on Saturday when I realized that I did not have it, and others did.  He did not respond nor did the information arrive today.  So, I am afraid I will be unable to represent my constituency as is my duty. 

I have learned one thing.  Last meeting I showed an email from Ricci that said parents WERE given “age equivalencies” when they asked for a ‘second opinion’ for their child’s evaluation.  At that meeting I also showed a letter from Kathy Perry that said Chariho did NOT allow age equivalencies and there was a parent in attendance that said he had been “battling” with Ricci for 16 months to get these age equivalencies.  Mr. Ricci said he, “made a mistake” in his email.

The RI Dept of Ed sided with the parent and told Chariho to provide the information. What did Chariho do?  Used your tax dollars to pay the attorney to appeal the decision. 

But, again, Mr. Ricci said he had forgotten about that because he “made a mistake” when he said they do provide the information. 

So, the School Committee moved to table until they had the same information I did.  However, I am told that this meeting’s packet did not include all the information that I presented at the last meeting.  ?????

But like I said, I can only go by what others tell me because Mr. Ricci doesn’t feel this Hopkinton elected representative should receive the information.



  1. When and where?

    Comment by Gene Daniell — November 18, 2008 @ 2:38 am | Reply

  2. Found it 7:00pm, Middle School Library. I never been to the campus, is this library easy to find?

    Comment by Gene Daniell — November 18, 2008 @ 3:16 am | Reply

  3. Gene,
    The middle school is the building in the rear, us the first entrance way (the side closest to the football field and RYSE building) that is at the auditorium. Go up to the first hallway on your left and then keep walking until you get to the library that is also on your left.

    Comment by CharihoParent — November 18, 2008 @ 5:58 am | Reply

  4. I voted for you for Town Council knowing you were on the School Committee. I may not have voted for you for Town Council if I thought you’d have to leave the School Committee. What right does Mr. Ricci have to try and disenfranchise my vote? Yeah, he gets away with it by having us vote on the same bonds over and over again, but this time he’s messing with a representative not a bond.

    We voted for you to represent us, and Mr. Ricci needs honor our wished for once in his life. We should make a deal with Mr. Ricci. If he lets us vote on the bond one more time, we can put Mr. Felkner on the ballot again too? Don’t worry Mr. Felkner, Mr. Ricci finally got his hands on millions more. He would never take the deal.

    Comment by Curious Resident — November 18, 2008 @ 10:55 am | Reply

  5. One question for Mr. Felkner, is there any provision in either Hopkinton’s Town Charter, Chariho’s Charter or state law that prohibits someone from holding two elected offices?

    Comment by CharihoParent — November 18, 2008 @ 11:49 am | Reply

  6. If there’s a law there’s a law, but is Mr. Ricci in law enforcement now? Does he decide what the law says?

    He has not responded to Mr. Felkner’s request to receive the information packet so I guess he thinks he is in charge of who and who is not on the School Committee? I have an idea…Richmond’s Town Council can issue a vote of confidence in Mr. Ricci…that will solve the issue.

    Comment by Curious Resident — November 18, 2008 @ 12:01 pm | Reply

  7. From the charter:

    Membership on boards or commissions that act as representation of the Town of
    Hopkinton in regards to the School District shall not disallow that elector from serving on another
    board, committee or d i o n in Town government

    Comment by RS — November 18, 2008 @ 12:38 pm | Reply

  8. The jumbled word “d i o n” should have read commission, the cut and paste went awry.

    Comment by RS — November 18, 2008 @ 12:46 pm | Reply

  9. That makes sense as before we foolishly gave Chariho full control over K – 12, we had both a Hopkinton School Committee and a Chariho School Committee. Members from the Hopkinton School Committee were appointed to serve on the Chariho School Committee…thus they served on two governing boards.

    Mr. Felkner is the perfect person to hold two positions. He’s open, honest, and an advocate for the community. While I am generally pleased with the performance of the Town Council, Ms. Kenney not withstanding, Mr. Felkner is a welcome addition and may be just what we need as Hopkinton leaders look to get us out from under the Chariho beast.

    Comment by Curious Resident — November 18, 2008 @ 12:51 pm | Reply

  10. It’s my understanding his SC term is up. I am not sure when the new TC members are sworn in.

    Comment by RS — November 18, 2008 @ 1:30 pm | Reply

  11. Whose School Committee term is up? Mr. Felkner ran at the same time as Mr. Petit. Mr. Petit is still screwing us over at every turn so why would Mr. Felker’s term be done? Or did you find information which requires Mr. Felkners to only hold one position?

    Comment by Curious Resident — November 18, 2008 @ 1:43 pm | Reply

  12. Mr. Felkner’s school board term is not up – they are 5 year terms, not two years as the town council. Hopkinton’s Charter allows Mr. Felkner both seats, the RI Ethics Commission allows him the two seats, unless there is a rule in the Chariho by-laws, he is serving the citizens and the town by remaining until and unless he chooses to resign the position on the Chariho School Committee.

    The School Board meeting is tonight at 7:00pm at the Chariho Middle School Library.

    Comment by Barbara Capalbo — November 18, 2008 @ 1:45 pm | Reply

  13. Ok, I was under the impression the term was 2 years, thanks for the correction. When do the TC terms swear in?? Until this happens, BF isn’t holding 2 offices.

    Comment by RS — November 18, 2008 @ 2:33 pm | Reply

  14. Barbara, since when 5 year terms? I do believe they are 4 year terms otherwise you would be having school committee elections in off years from the general election.

    By the way, I was only asking a simple question as I was unsure if there were anything that would have prohibited a person from holding two elective offfice, it was pure curiousty, nothing more, nothing less.

    Comment by CharihoParent — November 18, 2008 @ 2:38 pm | Reply

  15. Thank you for the information Mrs. Capalbo. The slim majority of Hopkinton voters may have failed their less wealthy neighbors with the approval of the bond, but if Mr. Felkner chooses to remain on the School Committee I think it would be tremendously helpful to Hopkinton’s interests to have an unfiltered connection to the happenings at Chariho.

    Has the new Town Council met yet? Has there been any discussions on what to do to reduce our tax burden?

    Bringing in new businesses is great, but will only take us so far. Chariho is still the elephant in the room and unless the Hopkinton Town Council figures out a way to reduce Chariho’s impact on our taxes many families in Hopkinton will continue to struggle to survive this economy. Help.

    Comment by Curious Resident — November 18, 2008 @ 2:39 pm | Reply

  16. Charlestown’s new council was sworn in last night. Richmond’s new council will be sworn in tonight. I have no clue when Hopkinton’s council will be sworn in.

    Comment by CharihoParent — November 18, 2008 @ 2:39 pm | Reply

  17. I see nothing in the Chariho Act preventing the serving on SC and another elected office. The terms mentioned in the Act are for 4 or 2 years, although there is mention of census data on a 5 year schedule if desired by all towns.

    That being said, this disclaimer pops up at the beginning of the act, so who really knows what is and isn’t correct in the document. Another reflection on the professionalism of the keepers. I sure wish I could be so callous in my job. I guess it’s befitting of the trainwreck.

    “DISCLAIMER: The version of the Chariho Act currently contained on the web site is not the complete Act. Due to the multiple revisions that have occurred over the years, the Regional School Committee is in the process of updating the Act so that it will accurately reflect all amendments. We will issue a statement on the web site once this process has been completed. Until then, please refer to the Act as posted with caution and recognize that it is not updated and may not accurately reflect the current status of the law.”

    Comment by RS — November 18, 2008 @ 2:46 pm | Reply

  18. Sure, just an innocent question. Asking the guy who may choose to serve on both the School Committee and Town Council if there are any laws against it.

    So we are to believe that Mr. Felkner knows of a law probiting him from holding two seats yet he plans on doing just that? If the answer is no, then why would anyone even ask the question unless they were trying to make a point?

    “Judge a man by his questions rather than by his answers” – Santayana

    Comment by Curious Resident — November 18, 2008 @ 2:47 pm | Reply

  19. As I noted, for years we had people sitting on both the Hopkinton School Committee and the Chariho School Committee. This probably was true of Charlestown and Richmond (although I can’t say for sure). Unless the Chariho Act was modified since those days, Mr. Felkner is setting no precedent by holding two seats.

    Comment by Curious Resident — November 18, 2008 @ 2:50 pm | Reply

  20. Perusing the charters for various town and cities in the state, it appears that the question of dual-office holding is answered at the town level when it comes to town councils and school committees. If Mr. Felkner had ran for the legislature, then that is answered at the state level.

    Comment by CharihoParent — November 18, 2008 @ 3:13 pm | Reply

  21. The Hopkinton Town Council was sworn into office last night. After a brief get together, they had their first meeting. Tom was elected council president, while Sylvia Thompson was elected council vice president.

    I had a brief opportunity to talk to Mr. Felkner. He reached out to the ethics commission to get an opinion, and they see no conflict of interest.

    I am somewhat concerned that an elected official, voted on by the people of Hopkinton, is seemingly being sequestered.

    Finally, SC members serve 4 year terms. Mr. Felkner still has 2 years on his term.

    Comment by Lois Buck — November 18, 2008 @ 3:29 pm | Reply

  22. I agree with CharihoParent,the matter needs to be addressed at the Hopkinton Town Council.Bill and the Town Council need to seek immediate injunctive relief in the courts before one persons opinion becomes a fait accompli.

    Comment by george abbott — November 18, 2008 @ 3:34 pm | Reply

  23. Lois,
    If it’s all legal for Mr. Felkner to hold both offices, then he’s well within his rights to do it. I didn’t know if Mr. Felkne had posed the question to the Ethics Commission already. I’m glad he did since this should prevent any monies being spent on lawyers by anyone. You’re also correct, he shouldn’t be sequestered by anyone on the school committee or by the school administration since it is all legal. I thought it was 4 year terms for school committee, thanks for confirming that.

    Comment by CharihoParent — November 18, 2008 @ 3:36 pm | Reply

  24. Guess I’ll post this again(#7). Seems cut and dry, why would we need a lawyer for such a simple question?? It’s in the charter….

    From the Hopkinton Twon Charter page 10.

    No elected member of the Town government shall hold more than one (1) elective or position in the
    Town Government at the same time. No elected member of the Town gov- shall, at the
    same time, hold any position by virtue of an appointment by the Town Council or the Town
    Manager. Appointed members of the Town Govermnent may hold more than one (1) appointed
    position if the Town Council fails to find and appoint any other Town elector to the vacant
    position. Membership on boards or commissions that act as representation of the Town of
    Hopkinton in regards to the School District shall not disallow that elector from serving on another
    board, committee or commission in Town government.

    Comment by RS — November 18, 2008 @ 4:33 pm | Reply

  25. The only reason I could see for BF to ask for clarification is because he figures “someone” would bring up the subject….”someone who can’t read…the charter”. Maybe as much concern should be put forward in producing a Chariho Act document we could read, without a disclaimer about how worthless the document is in its current state.

    Comment by RS — November 18, 2008 @ 4:37 pm | Reply

  26. RS, that speaks to appointed positions, not elected positions. Also, I wasn’t sure if there was anything in the Chariho Act or RIGL, hence I asked the question. I do believe that if a home rule charter provision acts in opposition to state general law, state general law takes precedence. So if Mr. Felkner hadn’t already cleared the matter with the RI Ethics Commission there could potentially have been some litigation.

    Signing up RS and CR for reading comprehension classes with Chariho Adult Education.

    Comment by CharihoParent — November 18, 2008 @ 4:50 pm | Reply

  27. RS.Do you assume that Bill will be allowed to take his seat at tonight’s meeting?

    Comment by george abbott — November 18, 2008 @ 5:10 pm | Reply

  28. I think you missed the period (.) it means one sentence stops, and the next begins.
    Here is the part after the period.

    “Membership on boards or commissions that act as representation of the Town of
    Hopkinton in regards to the School District shall not disallow that elector from serving on another
    board, committee or commission in Town government.”

    It specifically says “elector from serving”, do you know what an elector is….not some one appointed.



    Comment by RS — November 18, 2008 @ 5:18 pm | Reply

  29. Wouldn’t the first line say anything to what you are talking about with Mr. Felkner?

    No elected member of the Town government shall hold more than one (1) elective or position in the
    Town Government at the same time.

    The Town Council and the School Committee are both elected offices aren’t they? Didn’t we just vote on both of them?

    Comment by js — November 18, 2008 @ 5:19 pm | Reply

  30. If not GA, I think the voters of Hopkinton would have a solid case for their rights violated.

    Comment by RS — November 18, 2008 @ 5:19 pm | Reply

  31. Sure it would js if that were the only part of the paragraph. you can’t just read part of the paragraph and stop. If you continue reading, it specifically says a School District position does not disallow serving on another board, committee or commission in Town government. If the last sentence was not in the paragraph, then you would be correct in saying it is not allowed.

    This isn’t that hard, its written in plain english, not legalese.

    I guess I should have put the title of the paragraph in there, it is “1240 Multiple Office Holding”

    Comment by RS — November 18, 2008 @ 5:25 pm | Reply

  32. You are right CP, state law could take precedence, go find the section for us I’m too busy to “teach” reading tonight.

    Comment by RS — November 18, 2008 @ 5:28 pm | Reply

  33. Lets go to the SC meeting tonight to support Mr. Felkner, and protect OUR rights. We elected him for both positions, we have the RIGHT to see him serve in both positions.

    Since when does Mr. Ricci have the RIGHT to prevent Mr. Felkner from obtaing the documents needed for this meeting? He sure does not have the right to overturn or ignore a ruling on the legality of his TWO positions. He has the right, and the voters have the right to have Mr. Felkner serve on the Town council AND the SC.


    It does not matter if you agree or disagree with Mr. Felkner, this issue (The right to serve as per the ruling) concerns all of us !

    Comment by Dorothy Gardiner — November 18, 2008 @ 5:33 pm | Reply

  34. Well I agree with RS and CP he is right if there is not a state law that supersedes the Town Charter. But another question and maybe Mr. Felkner has looked in to this. If he sits on both and something comes up about Hopkinton on the School Committee Agenda wouldn’t he have to recuse from any votes? And since the School budget takes up most of the Town Budget wouldn’t he have to recuse himself from any votes on the Town Council that would have to do with the School Committee? This would have nothing to do with the Town Charter this would have to do with ethics? what is the though of that?

    Comment by js — November 18, 2008 @ 5:45 pm | Reply

  35. Even the first sentence may be okay because Chariho School Committee may not be considered “Town Government”. I believe it was Mr. Petit who claimed he wasn’t on the committee to represent the town. He has sure behaved as if the town of Hopkinton is the least of his concerns.

    In any case, it is not up to Mr. Ricci or the School Committee to decide if Mr. Felkner’s position on the School Committee is acceptable. We elected the guy knowing he’s on the School Committee and for once in their lives it would be nice for the Chariho stooges to accept the will of the people. If they spent as much time trying to improve educational outcomes as they do trying to hide, they might actually rise to the level of incompetence.

    Again, Chariho School Committee has a long history of members serving in dual positions. This fact must be known by at least the old timers such as Mr. Day and Mr. Polouski.

    Comment by Curious Resident — November 18, 2008 @ 5:53 pm | Reply

  36. JS can you make up an example to demonstrate your point? Not sure why he can’t vote no or yes to spending in both positions? But maybe I’m missing the point? To my knowledge, the Hopkinton Town Council has no power over the School Committee and the School Committee has no power over the Town Council (other than to shove ridiculous budgets down their throats).

    Comment by Curious Resident — November 18, 2008 @ 5:57 pm | Reply

  37. CR I have read through some of the post on here and I will not get in your battles with name calling and accusing people of how they behave. I am new here and just wanted to ask a question. I think RS answered it and was correct in saying if there is a state law then that would over ride all else. If you have a problem with Mr. Petit or anyone else on the committees then confront them but it doesn’t help on these blogs to act as you have.

    Comment by js — November 18, 2008 @ 5:59 pm | Reply

  38. Hello Chariho Parent,

    The term for the School Board is four years not five. Thanks Lois, I stand corrected.
    And I did not assume you asked more than a simple question – we had to look into this as well. The problem, when dealing with the school committee, is that simple questions are never simple and seem to quickly dissipate into paying lawyers or, as the charter was compiled, into re-voting. RS gave chapter and verse for our charter – he is correct as far as Hopkinton is concerned. The RI Ethics Commission sides with Bill as far as state laws are concerned. Chariho may have by-laws that we are not aware of and will probably hear about tonight at the School Board meeting.

    Comment by Barbara Capalbo — November 18, 2008 @ 6:00 pm | Reply

  39. I would think CR that like the 1904 building, how could he have voted either way without crossing the line? just a question you might know better the answer.

    Comment by js — November 18, 2008 @ 6:00 pm | Reply

  40. RS, it also says, BOARD, COMMITTEE or COMMISSION. Those are APPOINTED postions, not ELECTED positions. Talk about being dense!

    js, here’s here’s the catch, the school committee is not town government, it’s actually considered an extension of state government. So what that addresses is that the same person couldn’t serve as the elected Town Clerk and elected Town Councilor at the same time.

    Comment by CharihoParent — November 18, 2008 @ 6:13 pm | Reply

  41. Don’t worry JS, I only call idiots idiots. 😉

    I have confronted Mr. Petit here. He ran away. I’m not prepared to confront him in person as he has a history of violence which I want no part of. He’s short on intellect but long on brawn.

    Mrs. Capalbo may not see CP’s attempts to use questions as commentary, but after Mr. Felkner has said he would servce (at least for now) in both positions, asking him if it is illegal is not a well intended question. If Mr. Felkner thought it was illegal he wouldn’t be doing it. Therefore, CP is either a complete fool (a real possibility) or he didn’t ask expecting an answer…he asked in an attempt to smear Mr. Felkner. He’s does this quite frequently.

    I still don’t understand JS’ question about ethical concerns? What would be unethical about voting to make Chariho responible for their neglect from positions on both the School Committee and the Town Council? I think it was unethical to let the 1904 fall into disrepair and then turn it back over to Hopkinton…this unethical behavior didn’t bother Mr. Ricci or the majority on the School Committee at all. I guess ethics is in the eyes of the beholder.

    Comment by Curious Resident — November 18, 2008 @ 6:22 pm | Reply

  42. Sigh……..

    Comment by RS — November 18, 2008 @ 6:23 pm | Reply

  43. So the School “Committee” is appointed? News to me.

    Comment by Curious Resident — November 18, 2008 @ 6:24 pm | Reply

  44. OK, the school COMMITTEE is an appointed position……

    Do you know how silly you are??????

    Comment by RS — November 18, 2008 @ 6:25 pm | Reply

  45. Is that a trick question?

    Comment by Curious Resident — November 18, 2008 @ 6:28 pm | Reply

  46. Beat me to it, I was busy sighing again.

    I do not understand how some people refuse to read the paragraph in its entirety, but want to stop reading and take the portion they deem fit. The paragraph in the town charter was written specifically for this type of scenario. I guess we will argue for days over the meaning of a period or comma.

    GO figure.

    PS..which time slot are you going to sign up for in remedial reading, we can go together and antagonize the staff.

    Comment by RS — November 18, 2008 @ 6:38 pm | Reply

  47. js…..I would be equally concerned about school committee members negotiating, voting, and supporting contracts for Chariho when they have family, and business ties to Chariho. So lets be concerned about all the ways our elected reps can be benefiting from the Chariho trainwreck.

    Comment by RS — November 18, 2008 @ 6:43 pm | Reply

  48. OK, advice needed. I’m currently working on a letter to request an investigation into why my representative on the Chariho School Committee was denied the documentation concerning the meeting of November 18, 2008. So to whom should I send this letter to???

    State Ethics Commission, Board of Reagents, State Reps…..

    Its tough to tell who the super reports to without an organizational chart.

    Comment by RS — November 18, 2008 @ 6:52 pm | Reply

  49. They read the words, but we know the objective isn’t truth with some of these people.

    We are bound to follow the law, but frankly, the law is secondary to me. We knew Mr. Felkner held a seat on the School Committee. I’m not aware of any public pronouncement he would give up his position on the School Commmittee…and in fact, it might have influenced my vote because without him keeping us informed, we’d have little chance of knowing what games Chariho is playing with our money. I don’t want him leaving the School Committee.

    I’m going to take a pass on the remedial reading. If it gets too bad and I completely lose my ability to comprehend, I’ll do what CP does and make it up as I go along.

    Comment by Curious Resident — November 18, 2008 @ 7:06 pm | Reply

  50. Hey, what if Mr. Felkner makes a motion to table every item on tonight’s agenda? That’s what the School Committee did when they said Mr. Felkner had information they hadn’t had a chance to review. Well this time they prevented Mr. Felkner from reviewing documents. Of course, being the hypocrites they are, they’ll plow forward not giving one thought to their lack of consistency and integrity.

    Comment by Curious Resident — November 18, 2008 @ 7:09 pm | Reply

  51. If anyone attends tonight’s meeting and can give a timely summary it would be appreciated (I might not call you a name for a day or two).

    Mr. Ricci has every reason to keep Mr. Felkner from his seat on the School Committee. Don’t forget they tabled an agenda item from the last meeting where Mr. Felkner had concrete proof from multiple sources (email and a first hand account by a parent) that Mr. Ricci lied to the parent. Mr. Ricci has cost us legal fees fighting to withhold information from a parent that even the Rhode Island Board of Education says the parent is entitled to have. We also know we’ve spent tens of thousands in legal fees over the last few years and Mr. Felkner has indicated much of this expense has occurred as Mr. Ricci battles with parents over RYSE.

    If Mr. Felkner is kept from overseeing the School Committee, they will sweep Mr. Ricci’s latest escapades under the rug. This is their pattern with Mr. Felkner present…it will only get worse if they are able to deny him from representing us.

    Comment by Curious Resident — November 18, 2008 @ 7:18 pm | Reply

  52. Dense.. Dense.. Dense… it also says “in town government”! Is the word council and committee the same?

    Comment by CharihoParent — November 18, 2008 @ 7:19 pm | Reply

  53. By the way, town government does NOT include the school committee.

    Also, I stated above that when I found out that Mr. Felkner checked with the Ethics Commission, I stated then that he’s well within his rights to serve on both. If it’s legal, I’ve got no ax to grind and I was not trying to smear Mr. Felkner at all. Excuse me for asking a question, legitimate as it was. I’m sorry that I don’t kiss the ground the Mr. Felkner walks on and blindly adhere to his every word and breath as CR and RS do.

    Comment by CharihoParent — November 18, 2008 @ 7:24 pm | Reply

  54. To be clear…CP asked Mr. Felkner to answer whether he was breaking the law.

    Now c’mon, does anyone really think this is a legitimate or reasonable question asked merely out of curiousity? How could Mr. Felkner possibly answer anything but no? Since Mr. Felkner’s answer was already known, why ask if not to smear?

    The question is akin to asking someone if they beat their wife often. The question is an attempt to convey a negative impression of the person being asked the question. CP does this all the times, although it is usually a more nuanced word game.

    Comment by Curious Resident — November 18, 2008 @ 7:51 pm | Reply

  55. Prove me wrong(on the town charter issue) and I’ll be more than happy to eat my crow and humble pie, I’ll even give you a week to draw a crowd at the Chariho campus to watch.


    Comment by RS — November 18, 2008 @ 7:56 pm | Reply

  56. Well, they voted Bill off and called the police to remove him.

    Comment by Gene Daniell — November 18, 2008 @ 8:40 pm | Reply

  57. It is CP’s right to ask the question, it is a good question to have answered in my opinion. We do not want to find out later BF was serving in any capacity in which a person is not entitled. It is our duty as citizens to always question our elected officials and keep them honest.

    Comment by RS — November 18, 2008 @ 8:42 pm | Reply

  58. Let’s hope he sue’s them for all their worth.

    Comment by Richard — November 18, 2008 @ 8:47 pm | Reply

  59. CP didn’t ask you or me. He asked Mr. Felkner. If he had generally asked the question, then yes, it would be reasonable. To address his question to Mr. Felkner is what makes the question less than innocent.

    Comment by Curious Resident — November 18, 2008 @ 8:49 pm | Reply

  60. Did they give a reason for removing Mr. Felkner? Did the cite a law? Unless there is something we’re missing, this could be yet another costly mistake by Chariho.

    Comment by Curious Resident — November 18, 2008 @ 8:50 pm | Reply

  61. Isn’t this a matter for the State Attorney General, Secretary of State and the Ethics Commission?

    I am sure that Mr. Felkner will file his complaints.

    Gene, did the school committee quote anything to give them justification for doing this?

    Comment by Lois Buck — November 18, 2008 @ 8:53 pm | Reply

  62. So a SC can vote off who it wants. What about the rights of the voters who elected the person??? I find it very disturbing a committee can decide who they want to keep on the committee. There must be some basis in the Chariho act to allow this, but without an up to date document, the citizens are at a disadvantage. I guess the TC will fill the seat, correct??

    Comment by RS — November 18, 2008 @ 8:56 pm | Reply

  63. RS are you confirming the School Committee can vote off a member or are you assuming this is what happened? If they do have the authority to vote off an elected member, that is a stunning revelation. I know they have acted tyrannical in the past, but I always figured they acted this way on their own and not because it was authorized by law.

    If there move was legal, what’s the point of having a School Committee member looking to protect our interests? They can simply vote him/her off at their whim.

    Comment by Curious Resident — November 18, 2008 @ 9:03 pm | Reply

  64. By the way, this is another shot across Hopkinton’s bow. If the Town Council doesn’t take quick steps to counter Chariho’s tyranical behavior through legal action and/or school choice, it will be a huge disappointment. Are we fed up yet?

    Comment by Curious Resident — November 18, 2008 @ 9:08 pm | Reply

  65. It was a question, a thought….

    Here is a link of the state laws regarding SC & Superintendent’s:

    Comment by RS — November 18, 2008 @ 9:10 pm | Reply

  66. This is the only statement I could see which might apply……

    (19) To publish policy manuals which shall include all school committee policies.

    Do we as citizens have access to any policy manuals this law refers to????

    Comment by RS — November 18, 2008 @ 9:13 pm | Reply

  67. It would seem that Mr. Felkner is entitled to both Town and School District legal fees (representation as elected official).

    I’m not happy with our towns vote to stay in. At least he/this man has the integrity and honor to be what all the tri towns need. At least the windows were opened last night in Charlestown (partially). I’ve lived in town long enough to know what Polouski is really about.

    Comment by charlestowncharlie — November 18, 2008 @ 9:18 pm | Reply

  68. Mr. Felkner is known and continuing to be known as a voice of reason, educated and well grasp throughout the state. He has been on many news shows through out this past year and is exposing much and speaking to what is wrong with the RI Education system as well as other issues. He is an asset to the the Tri Towns. Educated yes and that threatens many when he knows more than them. Fighting the right fight.

    I’m proud to have him both as a councilor AND SCHOOL COMMITTEE REPRESENTATIVE. (I don’t drink ALL the Koolaid but a good part of it, part of being engaged I guess). School Choice, Bring it on.

    Comment by James Hirst — November 18, 2008 @ 9:55 pm | Reply

  69. There was quite a debate, the SC soliciter, Anderson, gave his opinion that BF could not sit without making all votes subject to litigation. McQuaid positioned it as better to deal with one suit from BF than many suits from others. Then SC “disqualified” him until such time as the matter is adjudicated. George fought hard for BF.

    Once BF was disqualified, Day asked him to leave the table, BF refused. McQuaid led the charge to have the police remove a “member of the public” from the table.

    BF was not allowed to speak, the supporters of BF spoke strongly to the issue of Hopkinton’s voters being disenfranchised.

    Comment by Gene Daniell — November 18, 2008 @ 9:57 pm | Reply

  70. I don’t think the town of Hopkinton should pick up the legal fees. This was brought on by the members of the school committee which are represented by all 3 towns. I think the district should pick up the legal fees.

    The policies set by the school committee are put in place by 11 officials. They were not enacted by the electorate. The Chariho Act and the town charter are the will of the people, and to my knowledge there is nothing in those “laws” to prevent Mr. Felkner from serving his constituency in both capacities.

    I guess we shall wait and see what they claim as evidence to his removal.

    Comment by Lois Buck — November 18, 2008 @ 10:00 pm | Reply

  71. REF#66

    § 16-2-32 Policy manual for school committee. – (a) All school committees in the state will have a policy manual. The policy manual will have all school committee policies in writing, properly indexed, and kept up to date. The policy manuals will be a source used to govern each school system. At least one policy manual will be available to the faculty and staff in each school library. At least one policy manual will be available for public reference at each administrative building and public library.

    (b) There is appropriated the sum of one hundred thousand dollars ($100,000), from money not otherwise appropriated, to the department of elementary and secondary education to implement a school committee/administrator training program.

    Comment by RS — November 18, 2008 @ 10:03 pm | Reply

  72. Thank you Gene.

    Did the school solicitor give examples to where litigation would be possible?

    Personally, the only place where he could be in trouble is with executive sessions. And we know what a hot topic this is. But, since the executive sessions are suppose to be limited in regards to there discussions, in what capacity could an executive session with the school committee conflict with his duties as councilor? Additionally, he would have to remain silent regarding executive sessions until they are made public anyways, right? Any mistake on his part here could result in litigation.

    Otherwise, every other duty is open and public and agendas are posted in public. I just don’t see the solicitors reasoning here.

    In the meanwhile, I support Mr. Felkner remaining in his seat, fulfilling his duties as elected school committee member, until such time as the ethics commission, attorney general or any other judicial body decides otherwise. He is our elected official, and the school committee has no right to circumvent the will of the people.

    Comment by Lois Buck — November 18, 2008 @ 10:13 pm | Reply

  73. I have read Title 16 of RIGL, the Guide to School Committee Meeting Procedures, Policies and Procedures, and Management Principles and Ethical Standards. The latter 3 are from the Chariho website, and I could not find any basis for not allowing a school committee member to maintain the position and a Town position. I think the Hopkinton citizens are once again being strangled by the SC. I am thinking of filing a lawsuit for the violation of my civil rights specifically with regards to voter representation on the SC.
    Any takers??? I also think I might find time to pursue a seat on the committee.

    Comment by RS — November 18, 2008 @ 10:17 pm | Reply

  74. One more thing, if there was even one chance in a million that something said in executive session during a school committee meeting was brought to the council with regards to any decision made there, Mr Felkner would have to recuse himself.

    The same would be said if it originated from the council. He would have to recuse himself on the school committee.

    Ethically speaking, he has always seemed like a straight and narrow kind of person. I don’t see him abusing this knowledge.

    Comment by Lois Buck — November 18, 2008 @ 10:18 pm | Reply

  75. The only items applicable to executive session are listed as follows:


    The Committee can choose to go into Executive Session (closed to the public) only for a few very specific reasons and must cite the authority under which it is going into Executive Session. These reasons include student disciplinary matters; job performance, character, or physical or mental health issues; litigation; collective bargaining; security; investigative proceedings regarding allegations of misconduct; and disposition/lease of public property.

    It hard to imagine which of these topics could possibly be in conflict with a town council position. The last item disposition/lease of public property might have some conflict. I do not see this being a major executive session issue at Chariho.

    Comment by RS — November 18, 2008 @ 10:24 pm | Reply

  76. “litigation; collective bargaining”

    These are the only 2 which could be an issue and again he would have to recuse himself. Any public official with a conflict would have to recuse themself. If he didn’t, then you can bet your bottom dollar that the ethics commission will jump hurdles to fine him and place him in violation.

    Comment by Lois Buck — November 18, 2008 @ 10:28 pm | Reply

  77. Would that also apply to SC members with family working under those contracts?? I fail to see where a Town council member can influence the contract negotiations. Please enlighten me.

    Comment by RS — November 18, 2008 @ 10:35 pm | Reply

  78. Even if the School Committee has a “policy” how can it possibly supercede an election?

    Every subsequent vote from which Mr. Felkner is willfully excluded in his capacity as an elected School Committee member is subject to litigation. Even if they vote 10 to 0, it could have been a different result if Mr. Felkner was there to speak on the issue. Was there additional school business conducted after Mr. Felkner’s removal?

    Thank you Gene for giving us some details. Glad to hear Mr. Abbott and others spoke up forcefully for the rights of Hopkinton. I wonder by what authority the police got involved? Are they bound by a committees vote or the law? Do we live in a police state now where an elected official can be be removed from a public body which he was duly elected to serve? And what about Mr. Felkner…did he go peacefully into the night?

    Comment by Curious Resident — November 18, 2008 @ 10:38 pm | Reply

  79. Nepotism is spoken about through policy and state law. Any person in public office has to recuse themself regarding any family member/ step family member regarding decisions that affect them.

    Contract negotiations, whether some may like it or not, can be negotiated behind closed doors. None of this stuff can be leaked out. He is not to divulge this information during any meeting or with anybody until the minutes are released.

    I am not sure if influence could be made as this is certainly a unique situation. Nothing is impossible. There is probably one chance in a million. That being said, I believe that Bill will always make the right decision and recuse himself.

    Comment by Lois Buck — November 18, 2008 @ 10:45 pm | Reply

  80. CR, you are right. This is a matter for the judiciary, for those that interpret the law. The police just enforce it.

    Comment by Lois Buck — November 18, 2008 @ 10:48 pm | Reply

  81. I’m sorry but I don’t understand the conflict? So what if he is on the Town Council and also involved in “secret” contract negotations. What is the ethical concern?

    Comment by Curious Resident — November 18, 2008 @ 10:55 pm | Reply

  82. So whose law did the police enforce tonight? Unless someone can cite a law which authorizes the School Committee to overturn an election, then the best thing the School Committee could have done is to have adjourned until there is a definitive and legal determination either way. To deny Hopkinton one of our representatives and to then go forward with school business is plain wrong. Any business conducted tonight without Mr. Felkner’s input should be null and void.

    Oh, and I’m sure Idon’t have to ask if Mr. Petit defended the rights of Hopkinton tonight, do I?

    Comment by Curious Resident — November 18, 2008 @ 11:02 pm | Reply

  83. You must remember the police you are talking about is Richmond….remember the Chief who violated the rights of Rod Driver?? You don’t honestly think the Richmond police really care about the rights of the citizens of Hopkinton do you?? I can give you an example where the police chief of Richmond doesn’t follow the laws of the state he swore to uphold…….were just subjects in his view. Now out of their way…

    Comment by RS — November 18, 2008 @ 11:09 pm | Reply

  84. CR, maybe I’m having a moment.

    They have known for some time that he wanted his packet. They should have been on the phone or meeting in person with state officials regarding this question. The opinions are speculative and certainly stomping on the rights of Hopkinton. This should be deeply concerning to all voters.

    Comment by Lois Buck — November 18, 2008 @ 11:27 pm | Reply

  85. Sorry to hear that about the Richmond police. I knew the Hopkinton police have some abuse of power issues, but I hadn’t heard that about Richmond. Maybe it’s unavoidable when you have a badge and a gun. Perhaps Hopkinton can get the School Committee to rotate meeting locations so all three town police departments get a chance to throw out representatives from the other towns?

    Was Hopkinton’s new School Committee member at the meeting? Did he speak out one way or the other?

    Comment by Curious Resident — November 18, 2008 @ 11:27 pm | Reply

  86. I’m sure they had a plan in place. Based on his punctuation and grammatical patterns, the poster JS was most likely Mr. Petit feeling us out. Speaking about ethics, I’m sure our boy Bobby was getting nervous about the action they were to undertake and was trying to gauge public reaction.

    Hopkinton has proven with the bond votes to have the most informed electorate. Maybe Chariho’s latest game will make even more of us take notice? Even those favoring the Chariho status quo can’t be happy about Hopkinton’s rights of representation being stomped upon? Mr. Petit is worthless, and I would still be worried about our democracy if they threw him off the committee.

    Not sure where this will go, but if Mr. Felkner’s sues, I hope they award him a million dollars. At least it would be one time when a tax increase was justified. Maybe the entire town of Hopkinton can sue? Besides school choice and legal action for tax equity, this now might be a third way to achieve equity.

    Comment by Curious Resident — November 18, 2008 @ 11:40 pm | Reply

  87. This concept that somehow BF would have been in an ethics situation, by his sitting on the two boards, that couldn’t be fixed with a recusal for said issue is laughable. When the SC tried to go into Exec session, half the members didn’t go as they all have conflicts of one type or another.

    Comment by Gene Daniell — November 19, 2008 @ 1:33 am | Reply

  88. So you’ve now had a taste of it Gene. This is the group we have in charge of educating our children. This is the group who we just trusted with millions more. Mr. Felkner has endeavored to put Chariho back on the right track…they’ve pushed back relentlessly. Tonight they trampled over us all.

    I apologize for giving you bum steer…this meeting sounded anything but boring. Thanks again for being our eyes and ears on this one.

    Comment by Curious Resident — November 19, 2008 @ 1:46 am | Reply

  89. Mr. Abbott was very fired up from what I hear. Mr. Vecchio and Mr. Abbott, both voted in support of Mr. Felkner. Mrs. Carney did as well. She was vocal.

    It has been videotaped.

    Comment by Lois Buck — November 19, 2008 @ 8:56 am | Reply

  90. I also heard that the solicitor compared Bill’s position to Obama’s. Since Obama resigned his senate seat to become President, Bill should step down from the SC for the TC.

    Comment by Lois Buck — November 19, 2008 @ 9:00 am | Reply

  91. Dear CR:

    Regarding #50. Bill could not have “tabled” anything on the agenda concerning his position, as this (Mr. Felker re: able to serve on SC) was not even ON the agenda.

    The ONLY item on the agenda prior to the meeting was an executive session, and the information regarding Mr. Felkner was started at 6:30pm, not 7:00pm. Isn’t that some type of open meeting violation? Who do I complain to about the following:

    1. MY rights, and the rights of more then 6,000 residents of Hopkinton were violated by not allowing Mr. Felkner to either sit on this meeting, or cancel the meeting and seek a legally binding determination.

    2. The discussion regarding the eligibility of Mr. Flekner to sit at this meeting was discussed at an unpublished time, with an unpublished agaenda, with the entire SC there. This is in violation of all residents of CHARIHO who may have wished to comment or otherwise declare their ideas or observe the meeting.

    3. Mr. Felkner was not disruptive, was removed by the police at the request of Mr. Day (he called for them on his own, then polled the SC for agreement for removal of Mr. Felkner). THEN Mr. Felkner was prevented from entering the meeting room to observe as a citizen of Hopkinton.

    4. The attorney compared Mr. Felkner to Obama, our president elect. While this may be complimentray or not depending on your political choice, Mr. Felkner is not on the SC or the Town Council on a full time basis, and they are two unique positions.

    5. The rights of all citizens of the CHARIHO area have been violated willfully by holding a discussion which has not been advertised, and indeed has been hidden from public view by posting an agenda that does not reflect the expect content or conduct of this meeting. The attorney knows better and should NEVER have allowed this discussion or any action to take place in such a manner.

    Comment by Dorothy Gardiner — November 19, 2008 @ 11:12 am | Reply

  92. So far this morning I have composed a letter to the ACLU, and Office of the Secretary of State. I will be requesting information from the Richmond PD ss well, when call came in, where was officer positioned when the call went out, etc. On the surface, it appears too many things were pre planned. I think this topic was discussed previous to the meeting amongst some of the SC members.

    Comment by RS — November 19, 2008 @ 12:03 pm | Reply

  93. Not the first time they planned actions out of the public eye. Last year when they were trying to avoid another discussion of Mr. Ricci’s deceitful behavior they pulled “a motion to move” out of their hat. This stunt was also obviously pre-planned. They didn’t even get it right. The procedural trick only worked because they ignored the fact that Robert’s Rules requires a 2/3 majority to move a question. They did not have 2/3 but moved the question anyway and thus avoided having to discuss Mr. Ricci’s malfesance.

    Comment by Curious Resident — November 19, 2008 @ 12:23 pm | Reply

  94. Hi!
    Obviously the courts will likely resolve this. I assume the Board of Elections or the Etiics Commission will not.
    In 2005 the Rhode Island “General Assembly enacted Rhode Island Public Laws 05-347 (RIGL 17-14-2 as amended) prohibiting a candidate from filing a declaration of candidacy for more than one public state or local office in a primary or election.” Page 5 of “How To Run For Office Guide” for candidates put out by the Rhode Island Secretary of State. Mr. Felkner did not file in 2006 as he ran as a write-in in 2006; and filed for town council in 2008,two separate elections. It appears this law does not impact Mr. Felkner. I am surprised by apparently the school committee lawyer did not refer to this as he may have thought it may apply or did not do a thorough research?
    From the Hopkinton Town Charter perspective, it appears Mr. Felkner is NOT prevented from holding both seats.The school committee lawyer appears to have avoided in the charter in regards to the school committee and the town panels because in the charter separating town and school panels and issues relating to them as far as committees, etc.,.
    It will be interesting in how this plays out.
    AS you know Rodney Driver years ago ran for BOTH Lieutenant Governor and State Representative at the same time. Under laws in place now he could not do that. You cannot in the same election run for town council and school committee but this appears not to impact Mr. Felkner’s case.

    Comment by Scott Bill Hirst — November 24, 2008 @ 12:24 pm | Reply

  95. Your are correct about the Ethics Commission. Friday’s(Nov 21) Projo article:

    Comment by RS — November 24, 2008 @ 12:54 pm | Reply

  96. It appears the AG’s office needs clarification on how I as a member of the general public, and not the SC member in Question(BF) were acutally and/or directly aggrieved by the alleged lack of notice(OMA).

    Are they kidding????

    Actually it is about what I expected from our great AG’s office. This is typical of the work they do ‘for the people’, as experienced by my dealings with their office during work done at the State House.

    It appears the legal avenue is becoming one of our few choices. I still have not received a response from the Hopkinton TC.

    Comment by RS — November 25, 2008 @ 5:44 pm | Reply

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