Chariho School Parents’ Forum

December 10, 2008

From the Westerly Sun

Filed under: Nov 18 meeting (where I was removed from office) — Editor @ 7:53 pm

Felkner heads for high court

■ The Chariho School Committee refused to reinstate Felkner Tuesday.

 

By Victoria Goff

The Sun Staff

WOOD RIVER JCT. — A Chariho Regional School Committee member recently ousted by colleagues plans to challenge his peers’ decision before the state’s highest court.

At issue is whether William J. Felkner of Ashaway can continue to serve on the School Committee since he became a member of the Hopkinton Town Council last month. Felkner began his four-year School Committee term in 2006.

 

Last month the committee disqualified Felkner from participating in its meetings, after Chariho Solicitor Jon M. Anderson said Felkner vacated his committee seat when he was sworn in to the council. The committee said its judgment would stand unless the state Board of Elections or a court rules oth­erwise.

 

After the School Com­mittee refused to reinstate Felkner on Tuesday, Felk­ner’s attorney Nicholas Gorham said his client has no choice but to appeal to the state Supreme Court.

Gorham agreed with Anderson on resolving the matter through a court rul­ing, but he compared the committee’s dismissal of Felkner to jailing a crimi­nal suspect until proven innocent.

 

“The hardest thing to do in a legislative body is to admit that you made a mistake and to change it, but tonight I really truly believe that is the best thing you can do,” said Gorham, a longtime state representative from Coventry. “Just change one part of your decision, which is to let him serve.”

 

Committeewoman Deborah Carney, of Charlestown, told colleagues she disagreed with their removal of Felkner, calling it a violation of his civil rights and a “very bad precedent.” She asked the committee to con­sider reinstating Felkner.

However, Anderson con­tended the committee could not rule on the matter until its next meeting.

 

He said that, under Robert’s Rules of Order, a two-thirds majority vote would be required for the committee to immediately reconsider the ouster. A committee member who voted in the majority to dis­miss Felkner would need to make the motion.

 

If not, any committee member could request a “motion to rescind a vote” to be listed on the next meet­ing’s agenda, as long as the member “specifically explains at this meeting what the motion will be.”

 

Committeeman William G. Day, of Wyoming — chairman at the time of Felkner’s removal — asked Chairwoman Holly M. Eaves to “support our solic­itor” and rule Carney’s motion out of order, though he also suggested placing it on the next meeting agen­da.

 

Eaves, of Charlestown, agreed, saying it would give members time to think about a “murky” issue.

 

“It’s OK to vote on an item that’s not on the agenda, but it’s not OK to vote on an item on the agenda” now, Carney challenged.

 

Carney, like Hopkinton officials, has accused the committee of violating the state’s Open Meetings Act because the discussion and vote to remove Felkner was not listed on the commit­tee’s agenda last month. Anderson claimed it was not a violation because Felkner disrupted the meeting when he refused to leave the com­mittee table, where he was seated in another member’s chair.

 

(The state Attorney General’s office is investi­gating an open meetings complaint filed by an unnamed resident, accord­ing to a department spokesman.) After a brief recess Tuesday, Carney challenged Eaves’ ruling to deny imme­diate consideration of her motion to restore Felkner to the committee.

 

Two committee members, Richard A. Vecchio and George M. Abbott, both of Hopkinton, sided with Carney, while the others supported Eaves, who abstained. Committeewoman Terri Serra, of Wyoming, was absent.

 

As she did at the last meeting, Hopkinton Councilor Sylvia K. Thompson videotaped the committee’s hour-long dis­cussion of Felkner. Two other Hopkinton councilors, Thomas E. Buck and Barbara A. Capalbo, and Hopkinton Town Sergeant Elaine J. Morgan, in uni­form, watched with others in the audience.

 

vgoff@thewesterlysun.com

I also noticed that someone posting a comment on the WS website is not a fan of vouchers. But I will agree with them, vouchers are on my “agenda” but I would assume my children will be grandfathered out of a future program so I don’t think it could be called a “personal” agenda

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7 Comments »

  1. Will you be able to download the video here Mr. Felkner?

    I hope the court takes the case quickly since Hopkinton is without full representation until this issue is resolved. I don’t expect anything from Mr. Petit. He’s delivered.

    Comment by Curious Resident — December 10, 2008 @ 8:17 pm | Reply

  2. working on it now

    Comment by Bill Felkner — December 10, 2008 @ 9:31 pm | Reply

  3. This whole situation is pretty sad, there are actually important issues that need attention, like possible state budget cuts, teacher contract, 2009-10 budget … \

    Comment by genedaniell — December 11, 2008 @ 12:20 am | Reply

  4. What better way is there to distract the taxpayers? Gene is right, there’s actually more important issues that need attention, the attention of the full school committee with full and proper representation from all towns! The majority of the school committee has denied this basic right to one of the member towns.

    Comment by CharihoParent — December 11, 2008 @ 8:04 am | Reply

  5. The following comment is not related to Mr. Felkner’s post, but I think it bears mentioning.

    The results for the 2007 TIMSS has been published. Here is a link:

    http://nces.ed.gov/timss/results07_math07.asp

    Mr. Felkner,

    Also, since the budget workshops will be coming up soon, perhaps you could post a thread come the first of January for people to begin to debate it.

    And, a post regarding the teacher’s contract would be nice, as well.

    Not everyone can attend the meetings, but a lot of people have computers.

    Thanks,
    Lois

    Comment by Lois Buck — December 11, 2008 @ 10:17 am | Reply

  6. SC meeting to air on Cox Channel 18 at 12 noon on Friday, Dec. 12th.

    Comment by Lois Buck — December 11, 2008 @ 1:58 pm | Reply

  7. Hi there! This post could not be written any better!
    Looking through this post reminds me of my previous roommate!

    He always kept talking about this. I will send this information to him.
    Pretty sure he’ll have a great read. Thanks for sharing!

    Comment by Rosemary — May 18, 2013 @ 6:30 pm | Reply


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