Chariho School Parents’ Forum

December 4, 2008

Next step

Filed under: 1,Nov 18 meeting (where I was removed from office) — Editor @ 9:28 pm

We sent the following last week:


November 26, 2008



via facsimile:  364-1165

Holly Eaves, President

Chariho Regional School Committee

455A Switch Road

Wood River Junction, RI  02894


                                                            Re:  William J. Felkner


Dear Ms. Eaves:


            I represent William J. Felkner, an elected member of the Chariho School Committee.  Last week the School Committee voted 6-3-1 to purportedly “disqualify” Mr. Felkner “from participating in school committee meetings” after an oral opinion that Mr. Felkner was no longer a member of the School Committee because he became a member of the Hopkinton Town Council.  The electors of Hopkinton successively elected Mr. Felkner to both positions.


            The School Committee voted that Mr. Felkner could not participate in any meetings of the School Committee until a ruling from the State Board of Elections or a court ordered same.


            Review of the agenda for the School Committee Meeting of last week indicates that the action taken was not placed on the agenda.  This is a violation of the Open Meetings Act.  It is also a violation of Mr. Felkner’s civil rights in that he is entitled to due process before any action can be taken pertaining to his status as an elected member of the School Committee.  He received no notice.  In fact, your superintendent is on record indicating that the omission to provide Mr. Felkner with notice was actually intentional.


            Our research indicates that the Chariho School Committee does not have the power to remove its own members from office.  Furthermore, any action taken by the Chariho School Committee without proper notice under the Open Meetings Act is deemed void as a matter of law.  As for the suggestion by your solicitor that Mr. Felkner’s role as a School Committee member was “incompatible” with his role as a member of the Hopkinton Town Council, this is also incorrect.



Holly Eaves, President

November 26, 2008

Page 2





            We request a hearing before the Chariho School Committee to address the issues raised at the meeting last week.  I understand that the next regularly scheduled meeting of the Chariho School Committee is December 9, 2008 at 7:00 P.M. at the Middle School Library.  I request that Mr. Felkner be placed on the agenda in appropriate fashion such as to enable him to raise all of the issues stated herein.


            It is our hope that we can have a civilized and straightforward discussion with the School Committee about the issues that your solicitor raised at the meeting last week and those that have been raised in this letter.  It may very well be that we could all cooperate to address any issues raised by your solicitor that the Chariho School Committee wishes to address in an appropriate forum.  But, there is no way to find out if we can work together unless we first meet, after a meeting duly advertised and noticed under the Open Meetings Act, and have a civilized discussion.


            I look forward to seeing you on December 9.  If I do not receive confirmation that we will be placed on the December 9 agenda on or before December 4 at 5:00 P.M., you will leave us no choice but to take appropriate and swift action to allow Mr. Felkner to fulfill his obligations to the electors of Hopkinton and to protect his own rights as a citizen and an elected official.


            I look forward to hearing from you soon.


                                                            Yours truly,




                                                            Nicholas Gorham




cc:       Jonathan Anderson, Esq. (via facsimile:  276-6611)



  1. Bring your popcorn, this will be one heck of a great civics lesson.

    Comment by Gene Daniell — December 4, 2008 @ 10:10 pm | Reply

  2. Great would be having the entire population of Hopkinton march on the next SC meeting in protest, then Richmond would have to call out those 2 extra patrolman to arrest everyone. Anyone up for a little party??

    Comment by RS — December 4, 2008 @ 11:40 pm | Reply

  3. Why do I think the School Committee will try their best to hide this discussion behind closed doors? They will cite “possible litigation”. Bet on it.

    Comment by Curious Resident — December 5, 2008 @ 12:31 pm | Reply

  4. I would have addressed the letter to Mr. Day since Ms. Eaves was appointed chairman in an illegal vote because Mr. Felkner was not allowed to participte in the discussion and the subsquent vote. Is addressing the letter to Ms. Eaves a tacit acknowledgement of the legitimacy of the vote putting her in the chairman’s seat? Probably small potatoes, but I wouldn’t have given them in inch.

    It is now December 5th. Mr. Gorham gave the School Committee until December 4th to confirm Mr. Felkner will be on the agenda. Did it happen?

    Comment by Curious Resident — December 5, 2008 @ 12:40 pm | Reply

  5. I would say yes its on the agenda

    6:15 PM (Executive Session) 7:00 PM (Regular Session) at Chariho Middle School Library

    Note: Individuals requesting special accommodations must call (401) 364-7575 forty-eight hours prior to meeting date.

    Any changes in this agenda will be posted on the school district’s website (, in the Chariho Administration Building, and in the Chariho Middle School at least forty-eight (48) hours in advance of the meeting. Individuals requesting special notice of the revised agenda must call (401) 364-7575 to make arrangements for same.

    I. Meeting Call to Order/Pledge of Allegiance/Silent Meditation

    II. Executive Session (42-46-5(a)(2)+(5) – for the purpose of discussions pertaining to collective bargaining (teachers’ contract) or litigation (review of student special education, student 504, CTC tuition, personnel matters) and for the purpose of discussions or considerations related to the acquisition or lease of real property for public purposes (CTC).

    III. Closing/Sealing of Executive Session Minutes

    IV. Disclosure of Executive Session Votes

    V. Performance by Chariho Vocal Select

    VI. Recognition

    VII. Public Forum

    VIII. Policy (R=First Reading; A=Adoption; REV=Revision; D=Deletion

    A. Standards for Student Behavior – The RYSE School (REV)

    IX. Business (N=New Item; P=Previously Discussed; @=May Require Action)

    A. Field Trips (N)@

    B. Acceptance of District Audit (N)@

    C. Letter from Attorney Gorham Regarding William Felkner (N)@

    D. EPS and Biology Curriculum Adjustments (N)@

    E. Agreement with Cox Cable (N)@

    F. IEE Criteria Adjustments (N)@

    G. Permission to Post Chariho Act (N)@

    H. Community 2000 Presentation Including High School Book Project (N)@

    I. Finalization of Omnibus Agenda (N)@

    J. Adjustment to Budget Timeline (N)@

    K. Approval of 403(b) Plan (N)@

    L. Reorganization of Subcommittees/Acceptance of Resignation (N)@

    X. Reports

    A. Subcommittee Reports

    B. Superintendent’s Report

    XI. School Committee Requests for Future Agenda Items or Legal Opinions

    XII. Consent Agenda Items

    A. Minutes

    B. Transfers

    C. Bills

    D. Budget Summary

    E. Treasurer’s Report

    F. Personnel Actions

    G. Permission to Issue Bids/Request Quotes

    H. Permission to Award Contracts

    I. Home Instruction

    J. Grants

    K. Donations

    XIII. Adjournment – Next Meetings: Saturday, December 13, 2008 (Public Meeting) at 10:00 AM in the Middle School Library

    Saturday, January 3, 2009 (Budget Workshop) at 8:00 AM in the CTC Building

    Comment by Family Guy — December 5, 2008 @ 12:54 pm | Reply

  6. This is what is on the agenda:

    “Letter from Attorney Gorham Regarding William Felkner”

    Sounds like the School Committee will discuss the letter, but not so certain Mr. Felkner or his lawyer will be a part of the discusion.

    Comment by Curious Resident — December 5, 2008 @ 12:56 pm | Reply

  7. Looks like Family Guy tracked down the agenda too. What is posted on the agenda doesn’t offer me any assurances that there will be an open conversation with Mr. Fekner or his attorney. I’m guessing they don’t have the courage or integrity to engage in public.

    As Gene noted in another thread, Mr. Ricci claimed he couldn’t know for sure if Mr. Felkner would take the oath, while at the same time not sending the packet to him. This is an obvious contradiction/lie, and the School Committee never allows discussions of Mr. Ricci’s lies to occur in public.

    I still contend they will do their best to hide anything meaningful behind closed doors. No one will be happier than me if I’m wrong this time.

    Comment by Curious Resident — December 5, 2008 @ 1:43 pm | Reply

  8. You know either Little Andy or Billy Boob while try to make some sort of procedural move to squash any and all discusstion. I hope Holly Eaves has her Robert’s Rules of Order book handy to make sure it’s followed correctly.

    Comment by CharihoParent — December 5, 2008 @ 2:28 pm | Reply

  9. BTW, Citizens from every town should be there since it really does affect all of us. There’s nothing saying that they wouldn’t try it again to any of the other towns,

    Comment by CharihoParent — December 5, 2008 @ 2:29 pm | Reply

  10. Good point CP. I would imagine they’d try to shut down anyone who doesn’t support the status quo. I could see them doing their best to silence Ms. Carney and possibly Mr. Vecchio. Mr. Abbott also came under some withering attacks when he attempted to stick up for Hopkinton during the most recent debacle. Predictably, Mr. Petit remained a statist and kept his mouth shut. Safer that way.

    Comment by Curious Resident — December 5, 2008 @ 3:52 pm | Reply

  11. Hell NO! BILL don’t go!

    Comment by Dorothy — December 5, 2008 @ 4:41 pm | Reply

  12. […] Nick Gorham and Christopher Anderson (no relation to Jon Anderson, Chariho’s attorney – I checked), from Gorham and Gorham, attended the meeting to speak to the board on my behalf (letter HERE). […]

    Pingback by Dec 9 meeting (Nov 18 follow up) « Chariho School Parents’ Forum — December 10, 2008 @ 12:54 am | Reply

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