Chariho School Parents’ Forum

December 10, 2008

Dec 9 meeting (Nov 18 follow up)

Filed under: Nov 18 meeting (where I was removed from office) — Editor @ 12:54 am

I’m home early tonight. That means we were unsuccessful at getting me back on the Committee. My attorneys did a fantastic job but the votes went against us.

Technically, it was more complicated than that. The final vote on the issue was a motion from Deb Carney, objecting to the chair’s dismissal of Deb Carney’s original motion – which was to place me back on the Committee while a court decides the issue.

You didn’t think it would be simple did you?

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.

Mr. Gorham said pretty much what everyone has said, that the Chariho Regional School Committee doesn’t have the authority to remove me from the seat. As you have seen by the back and forth and forth again letters, there are at least a few lawyers that disagree with Jon Anderson.

Essentially, NG asked the Committee to reverse its decision and place me back on while we ask the Attorney General’s Office to make a decision. He challenged them to give him any examples where my presence would cause a danger to the District.

Back and forth between Anderson and Gorham, then J Anderson cited the Bailey vs Burns case where a member of the GA was ousted because of felony convictions, which are spelled out as an infraction resulting in the loss of seat. C Anderson pointed out that the GA is given that authority by the RI Constitution but the Chariho Act doesn’t give the Committee the authority.

JA said that the GA had done it before RI had a constitution – and Nick G said we did have a Kings Charter (or something like that). It was a good back and forth on several issues, I can’t wait to see it again when I get the video. C Anderson made a very strong final pitch on a few points, essentially pointing out to the Committee some errors in JA’s logic.

But I could tell by the looks on the Committee members’ faces, no one was going to change their vote. 

I think it worked out like this, but we will have to see the video to be sure.  I was laughing too often to keep track.

  • – Deb Carney made a motion to reinstate me, it was seconded by George Abbott. Again, lots of discussion.
  • – Holly Eaves made a decision to reject the motion saying a motion needs to be proposed and then placed on the following meeting agenda
  • – DC, just trying to get the record straight, pointed out that on the 18th they ousted me by a vote NOT on the agenda, but now we have Gorham’s letter on the agenda and we cannot vote on it
  • – HE said something about our rules or something. Honestly, I have no idea how she defended herself – looking forward to the video
  • – DC said HE’s motion had to be done by a super majority
  • – Bill Day “move(d)” to support HE’s dismissal, seconded by Andy McQuade
  • – Everything gets foggy here – very entertaining – even heard BD tell DC that she was rude and some other hilarious comment. As you watch them steam roll over her and then accuse her of being rude. Ricci must be handing out talking points.
  • the Committee takes a 5 minute recess to figure things out
  • – the Committee decided that when Bill Day said “I move” it wasn’t a motion, so the Chair’s motion stands but Deb C may make a motion to reject the chair’s dismissal motion, thus no need for super majority support of the chair (what was that old Saturday Night Live skit where the Church Lady would say, “How Convenient!”)
  • – DC made the motion challenging the chair’s motion, seconded by Richard Vecchio
  • – Yea – DC, GA, RV
  • – Nea – BD, AP, HE, MC, AM, BP

Like I said, all that’s from a tired memory.  I will post the video asap.  The ProJo was there – they don’t run local reporters anymore, so expect this to be in the paper.  You can check with Donita Naylor’s blog posts as well.


PS. One item I noticed before the meeting started, the new rep from Richmond, Michelle Coles, abstained from voting on temporarily sealing the minutes for the contract negotiations but did not abstain for temp sealing the same meeting minutes for the Career Tech Center. She may have abstained for purely innocent reasons, but I couldn’t help but notice.  



  1. I didn’t notice that also about Michelle Coles. I was rather curious as to why and how can we find out why she abstained from voting. I’ll be honest, BF, what I saw last night disgusted me. You could see by the look on faces of Bill Day, Bob Petit, Michelle Coles and Little Barry Ricci that they weren’t even listening to Nick Gorham. I’m very upset with the Richmond members of the school committee, they are totally clueless! Michelle Coles has shown me nothing to be proud of, she won’t stand against the established entrenchment at Chariho, much the opposite of the campaign literature she sent me. I had hoped we would see some change but that’s not going to happen in the next two years.

    Comment by CharihoParent — December 10, 2008 @ 8:05 am | Reply

  2. Oops, I meant to say that I did notice that also.

    Comment by CharihoParent — December 10, 2008 @ 8:06 am | Reply

  3. This is crazy. Anybody know what are the rules for recalling SC.members?

    Comment by Gene Daniell — December 10, 2008 @ 8:31 am | Reply

  4. Gene,
    I may be wrong but I don’t think there are any rules for a recall of SC members..I’d love to recall all 3 of Richmond’s representatives!

    Comment by CharihoParent — December 10, 2008 @ 9:25 am | Reply

  5. The first rule is you have to have a enough people who give a darned. So few people pay any attention the School Committee can break every meeting law known to mankind, and nothing is done. As much as I like to be right, this is one time I wish I had been wrong. Nice to see two new members actually buck the system, but the rest are still a bunch of losers vigorously defending the status quo and continuing to support a system which fails to educate our children. Last night was another sad chapter.

    Comment by Curious Resident — December 10, 2008 @ 9:30 am | Reply

  6. Gene- If you believe the Chariho lawyer, the way to recall a Chariho SC member is to elect the member to the members Town Council, regardless of what their Town Charter says.

    Gene described the situation exactly right: “This is crazy.”

    The most frightening aspect of this situation is the arrogance of those School Committee members who feel qualified to override the judgement of the electors of the Town who have selected a person they want to represent them on the School Committee.

    There clearly is a legal question to be answered here, and when lawyers disagree the answer needs to come from the courts. Having the School Committee vote on the resolution of this matter reminds me of a possibly apocryphal story about the Indiana State legislature many years ago.

    Most people know that the ratio of the circumferenc of a circle to its diameter is denoted by the Greek letter “pi”. That ratio is an irrational number that starts out 3.14159265… and goes on forever. Some legislators apparently were unhappy with this fact and wanted something simpler. So they proposed legislation that defined “pi” in Indiana commerce as 3+1/7.

    Fortunately, somebody explained (and they listened) that that wasn’t the ratio of the circumferance of a circle to its diameter, the legislation was dropped and pi remained an irrational number in Indiana just like everywhere else in the rational universe.

    With all due respect to the School Committee, they are no more qualified to resolve the legal dispute over Mr. Felkner’s status than the Indiana legislators were to redefine “pi”.

    The obvious best course of action last night would have been to follow Mrs. Carney’s lead, and let the courts decide. That’s where this matter is no doubt heading, and the quicker it is done the smaller the mess will be that has to be cleaned up.

    Comment by Thurman Silks — December 10, 2008 @ 11:47 am | Reply

  7. For those wondering why I abstained on the exec. session votes: I am waiting on a reply from the Ethics commission regarding my involvement in negotiations. I am a former teacher, and I have an in-law who is a SUBSTITUTE in the district. Subs are not covered in the teachers’ contract, but I wanted to excuse myself until I get a ruling to aviod any future accusations.

    Any further questions can be directed to

    Michelle Cole

    Comment by mcolesquared — December 13, 2008 @ 3:07 pm | Reply

  8. Mrs Cole, I think it would be a wise move on your part, regardless of ethics commission ruling, to not only abstain but recuse yourself from anything to do with the union.

    Comment by CharihoParent — December 13, 2008 @ 4:50 pm | Reply

  9. Michelle … thanks for clarifying, the “unknown” stories always become more interesting that the truth.

    Comment by genedaniell — December 13, 2008 @ 7:52 pm | Reply

  10. I’m happy to see Ms. Cole posting her comment here. I believe she’s posted in the past?

    I am disappointed whenever a public official (Mr. Ricci is big on this) limits their communication to one-on-one, such as email or telephone. I much prefer Mr. Felkner’s approach where most everything is discussed in a public forum so we all know where he stands on the issues. I know there are times when emails or telephone conversations are appropriate, but why not make your opinions widely available to everyone whenever possible?

    Not everyone has the gumption to contact powerful public officials…especially if they disagree on something. By being transparently available more of us can have influence within our comfort zone. Personally I find relief in remaining anonymous. I don’t have to worry about teachers or administrators penalizing my child for my antics. Since I’m not always so nice to the police department budget, I don’t have them to worry about either. I encourage all public officials to find a broad-based means of communicating with the community whenever possible.

    Comment by Curious Resident — December 14, 2008 @ 1:37 pm | Reply

  11. CR, you’re right, communication is powerful, regardless of the tone, people’s involvement is what drives democracies.

    Comment by Gene Daniell — December 14, 2008 @ 11:07 pm | Reply

  12. They never hesitate to use broad-based communication methods when they are trying to advance their own cause. Flyers, media, website…but when it comes to keeping the community informed they limit questions to phone calls and emails. No big secret why…they want to control the communication flow. They want us to know what they want us to know…nothing more. I think their biggest problem with Mr. Felkner is his transparency. Scares the bejeezus out of them.

    Comment by Curious Resident — December 14, 2008 @ 11:40 pm | Reply

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