Chariho School Parents’ Forum

December 11, 2008

Dec 9 part 6

Don’t forget, you can find all related letters, vidoes, etc on the “Nov 18” category link on the right.

Advertisements

101 Comments »

  1. I’m beyond being outraged by any actions done by the Chariho apologists, but it is rather funny listening to them change the rules depending on the circumstances. Who can tell what a court wlll do, but the solicitor couldn’t even keep up with Ms. Carney, never mind Mr. Felkner’s attorneys. I have little confidence they’ll fire this dope when it’s all over, but clearly he’s a light weight and doesn’t provide sound legal advice. Walmart must be selling law degrees these days.

    Comment by Curious Resident — December 11, 2008 @ 5:06 pm | Reply

  2. I think that was more of a slam on Walmart than the solicitor….

    Comment by RS — December 11, 2008 @ 5:22 pm | Reply

  3. I’ll give him credit for one thing, I’m pretty sure he said there would be no additional legal bills from him for this travesty. I retract my credit if we end having to pay for Mr. Felkner’s legal fees (which I support, but won’t be happy about).

    Comment by Curious Resident — December 11, 2008 @ 5:27 pm | Reply

  4. Hi!
    I am NOT impressed by the Chariho attoney so far. He may prevail but as I have noted, a good attorney should know what points he will make, that could be easily rebutted. This includes using other state examples on dual officeholding, when nearby Connecticut can easily refute that. I am curious why he did not do better job on that point. He cites no Rhode Island case history to bolster his argument, which seems NOT to help his case. Traditionally, courts do not through out election results. Also does he know Chariho’s history with the state AG’s office and Open Government Matters, apparently?
    I like Charlene Dunn, who I confess is one of my favorite local political personalities. However I disagree with her reported remarks about Mr. Felkner getting “two bites at the apple” serving in both positions. No Chariho town council person has the institutional prerogative to approve a Chariho budget to be presented to the voters in a budget referendum, so there is no “two bites of the apple” in that regard.
    Regards,
    Scott

    Comment by Scott Bill Hirst — December 11, 2008 @ 5:30 pm | Reply

  5. As Mr. Felkner’s attorney emphasized, the Hopkinton Town Council has no authority over the School Committee. Where is the conflict?

    While we may wish the Town Council had control over some aspects of the School Committee, this is not the way it works under the Chariho Act. Chariho solicitor’s entire argument is hogwash when you realize the Town Council has no control of Chariho. Maybe he is confused since most school districts in Rhode Island do have some accountability to the towns they serve? Chariho is unique in this regard and Mr. Anderson doesn’t seem to grasp this reality. It will be important to make sure a judge doesn’t confuse Chariho’s administration with most other Rhode Island school districts.

    Comment by Curious Resident — December 11, 2008 @ 6:56 pm | Reply

  6. In my research, I actually found some towns where a seat on the school committee is held by a member of the TC(by legistlation). So in many instances the SC is married to the TC. Guess what folks, outside of the power of appointing the person for a vacant seat, I could find no other power the HTC holds over the Chariho SC.

    Comment by RS — December 11, 2008 @ 7:04 pm | Reply

  7. Hi!
    Other than in limited situations such as contracts over the local elementary schools still owned by the towns to the district, and approving payments to the district, and they may not be a conflict? There are probably other small things.
    Unlike a single town school district where the town council sets the bottom line of the school district, I don’t recall any town council in ANY of the regional school districts that have that power. I recall Foster-Glocester is not totally regionalized so the town council can set the bottom line of their schools totally within their control.
    I think cross-examination in this case will be VERY INTERESTING!
    Regards,
    Scott

    Comment by Scott Bill Hirst — December 11, 2008 @ 7:14 pm | Reply

  8. Hi!
    The bottom line of course, I refer to is the annual budget. Remember while it is a courtesy not required by law, the Rhode Island General Assembly, including Hopkinton’s own State Rep. Brian Patrick Kennedy, as well as the Chariho School Committee IGNORED the 2006-2008 Hopkinton Town Council on the recent Chariho bonds.
    Regards,
    Scott

    Comment by Scott Bill Hirst — December 11, 2008 @ 7:18 pm | Reply

  9. ….as well as ignoring the previous vote by the citizens of Hopkinton.

    Comment by RS — December 11, 2008 @ 7:21 pm | Reply

  10. I may be wrong but I don’t think ANY school district is controlled by a town council. If I read the laws correctly, ALL school district are considered to be an extension of the state government. That is why a school districts can sue the town for more funding using the Carullo Act.

    Comment by CharihoParent — December 11, 2008 @ 7:29 pm | Reply

  11. You are probably correct CP, my findings of a TC seat on the school committee was in towns outside of RI. Maine if I remember correctly. I have been researching incompatability laws and this leads me to go out of RI. If the courts go outside of RI for case law will remain to be seen. The issue of incompatability is a very complex one which makes each case almost unique. The laws, constitutions, charters, etc of each town, county and state come into play when answering these questions and all of these documents are used by the courts in their decisions.
    For the Chariho solicitor to not use all of this information in his decision and only pull out bits and pieces of case law shows ignorance on his part or a desire to dupe the “thinkers” on the SC.

    Comment by RS — December 11, 2008 @ 7:39 pm | Reply

  12. The Caruolo suit is an option, but not a slam dunk. In Portsmouth, the court only gave back a portion of the budget cuts and in another town the court denied the request all together. If Chariho filed suit they would have to deal with school committee members (me and others) testifying against the school saying that they had NOT done all they can to cut costs. They would have a tough case here – especially considering our enrolments are at a decade long low.

    Comment by Bill Felkner — December 11, 2008 @ 7:40 pm | Reply

  13. At Chariho Caruolo would probably not be filed against towns, but against the taxpayers. If I’m not mistaken, Chariho doesn’t need town approval, but approval of the collective vote of all three towns; voters. So even inb the case of Caroulo the school budget is beyond the towns’ ability to control.

    Comment by Curious Resident — December 11, 2008 @ 7:57 pm | Reply

  14. I don’t have time to look it up right now(gotta bus to catch), but I remember in the Chariho act or State statutes reading about the towns obligations to pay the school budget. I’ll try to find more later.

    Comment by RS — December 11, 2008 @ 8:04 pm | Reply

  15. Not exactly what I was looking for. but might answer the question.

    http://www.rilin.state.ri.us/Statutes/TITLE16/16-3/16-3-21.HTM

    Comment by RS — December 11, 2008 @ 8:07 pm | Reply

  16. BF, my point about the Caruolo Act is that, in my reading, it leads me to believe that all school districts, regardless if they are regionalized or not, are not part of town government but rather an extension of the state government. Please correct me if I’m wrong in the thinking.

    Comment by CharihoParent — December 11, 2008 @ 8:37 pm | Reply

  17. ah, I see, sorry.
    I think you are right. The responsibility to provide an “adequate education” ultimately falls on the General Assembly. So, like when a parent dies and the kids cant resolve it so they go to probate court, when a school and its town (or collection of towns – or perhaps one rogue town in a region) fights over the money, and the school says it can’t operate without more, it will go to court to have it settled. So whether they are part of town govt or not, because the authority or responsibility comes from the state govt, they can do it.

    The most disturbing part of the Caruolo suit is that they hold contracts sacrosanct (which they should because contract and property rights are our foundation) – but this forces cuts to come to areas that do not have contracts (such as books and infrastructure).

    Thus my disappointment with the bond – it means less pressure to fix the contracts

    Comment by Bill Felkner — December 11, 2008 @ 9:18 pm | Reply

  18. Then we need a different mechanism of state oversight and/or more commonality, i.e. one teacher contract.

    Comment by genedaniell — December 12, 2008 @ 5:17 pm | Reply

  19. I finally sat through all these video clips. While I disagree frequently with Mr. Felkner’s way of doing things, it’s clear to me he’s right on the merits here, and the school committee’s actions are reprehensible.

    Comment by david — December 14, 2008 @ 10:39 am | Reply

  20. What is “Mr. Felkner’s way of doing things”? Is this the same as CP’s complaint that Mr. Felkner is volatile and adversarial (or something like that)?

    Why can’t we recognize the alternative to Mr. Felkner’s way has been tried over and over again with a decades long history of failure? While we haven’t turned it around and Chariho still fails to educate and costs us a fortune to boot, at least there appears to be more awareness and we may have a couple of more supporters of changing the culture of Chariho’s administration in Ms. Carney and Mr. Vecchio. Surely this is a sign that Mr. Felkner’s way may be leading us in the right direction.

    Mr. Vecchio has been good with his votes thus far, although he still hasn’t found his voice, but Ms. Carney is very similar to Mr. Felkner in style. She challenges lies and so far has refused to back down when attacked by the majority. Did anyone else hear Billy-boob puerile comments while Ms. Carney was making her case? Even the solicitor could be heard sighing and mumbling nonsense. He also made what I consider an “uncivilized” comment about Ms. Carney at one point.

    I find it odd to hear about Mr. Felkner’s “volatile” ways as the majority of the committee uses every trick in the book to squash dissent. I find Mr. Felkner to be much more civilized. Some confuse his refusal to cowtow to the majority with volatility. Perhaps David and referring to something else about Mr. Felkner’s way?

    Comment by Curious Resident — December 14, 2008 @ 1:24 pm | Reply

  21. Lets see, BF is being investigated for ?????(nothing that I know of), and the SC is being investigated for ????? (at least one OMA violation) that we know of. So I’ll recap:

    BF = nothing illegal.

    SC = investigations.

    Yet somehow BF is being painted as the problem with Chariho’s attmpt to deny the public information and being dishonest. OK, makes since to me. Even the power($$$) of the NEA couldn’t make a complaint stick.

    RS = confused.

    I’m not really confused, the facts are abundantly clear, but I’m trying to keep my post understandable to those with murky minds, aka blinders.

    Comment by RS — December 14, 2008 @ 4:17 pm | Reply

  22. It’s funny because many of those complaining about Mr. Felkner’s style actually support most of his agenda. Mr. Felkner isn’t the first to seek change at Chariho. Mr. Abbott seems to have some of the same problems with the administration, but change doesn’t come easily from entrenched interests, and we know for sure past practices haven’t worked. What would they have Mr. Felkner do? Saying “pretty, pretty please” is not a strategy.

    Over on Hopkinton Underground the webmaster there also has this silly notion that Mr. Felkner’s style won’t overcome the problems at Chariho. This person also claims to agree with much of Mr. Felkner’s advocacy, but says Mr. Felkner’s ego gets in the way of change. As if changing Chariho would occur spontaneous if only Mr. Felkner got out of the way.

    My view is the only chance for change at Chariho is dependent on the community reaching the point where a lot of us are no longer willing to sacrifice children to Chariho’s incompetence. Mr. Felkner’s style has brought more attention to Chariho than I’ve ever seen before. Love him or hate him, no doubt more people are aware of Chariho issues now then at any time in my memory.

    We need more committee members willing to put our children before Chariho employees. The current School Committee majority are the ones who are volatile and adversarial in their zeal to protect the status quo. Mr. Felkner and his style remain our best hope. Those who support the change Mr. Felkner is fighting for should stop putting style before substance.

    Comment by Curious Resident — December 14, 2008 @ 6:21 pm | Reply

  23. Well, I haven’t been around long enough to see BF in action, so from a general perspective, it is sometimes necessary to leave “politeness” at the door. Without question, Day and Polouski have displayed non-polite behavior several times. There is no excuse for the way Ms. Carney is being treated.

    Civility works well when the chair is fair and members are willing to listen and consider new ideas.

    I’ve only been to one RTC meeting, but Reddish ran a good meeting, chairs have to make sure fairness trumps their personal opinions.

    BTW, CR, “Puerile” is a great word! Nice choice.

    Comment by Gene Daniell — December 14, 2008 @ 7:46 pm | Reply

  24. Mr. Felkner’s “ego” was spotlighted on the front page of Sunday’s ProJo. The article focused on his lawsuit against Rhode Island College over their social work degree requirements. No mention of Mr. Felkner’s latest battle with anti-democracy forces on the Chariho School Committee.

    We are very fortunate in Hopkinton to have Mr. Felkner working on our behalf. He obviously is a force to be reckoned with on a statewide basis. We should be grateful for his efforts to improve not only our state, but our local community as well.

    http://www.projo.com/news/content/new_felkner3_12-14-08_NQCKNNB_v8.39e43c7.html

    Comment by Curious Resident — December 15, 2008 @ 9:09 am | Reply

  25. There was a sister article on the Chariho situation, it was placed next to the completion of the front page article in the middle of the main section. Online, it was listed below the main article.

    Comment by Gene Daniell — December 15, 2008 @ 3:03 pm | Reply

  26. Does anyone know why the minutes from the Nov 18, 2008 SC meeting were not approved at the Dec 9 meeting and remain unofficial??

    Comment by RS — December 15, 2008 @ 3:30 pm | Reply

  27. No. I emailed Donna Sieczkiewicz (Ricci’s assistant) but have not gotten a reply. Maybe someone still recognized as a Committee member could ask.

    Comment by Bill Felkner — December 15, 2008 @ 3:45 pm | Reply

  28. Thx. Ok, can anyone remember the last time the minutes were not recognized as official after they were posted on the next meeting’s agenda ?? Is this a normal occurence with minutes, or is this a rarity ??

    Comment by RS — December 15, 2008 @ 4:23 pm | Reply

  29. I’d say it’s because they don’t want the minutes to be used against them, but since video is available, that seems pointless and dumb. Now that I think about it, the School Committee and Mr. Ricci specialize in “pointless and dumb” so maybe that is the reason the minutes remain unofficial.

    Comment by Curious Resident — December 15, 2008 @ 4:55 pm | Reply

  30. It appears the requirement is 35 days to file a copy of the minutes with the Secretary of State(paragraph d). So one could infer this is the time limit for filing “official” minutes.

    REF: http://www.rilin.state.ri.us/Statutes/TITLE42/42-46/42-46-7.HTM

    Comment by RS — December 15, 2008 @ 5:37 pm | Reply

  31. I watched the SC meeting tonight: Ms. Carney added significant amendments to the minutes, Mr. McQuaide asked to postpone the approval of the minutes to the next meeting so he could fully read them.

    Comment by Gene Daniell — December 16, 2008 @ 3:46 am | Reply

  32. Was there a discussion of why Ms. Carney needed to so many admendments? Did anyone object to the amendments?

    Comment by Curious Resident — December 16, 2008 @ 3:06 pm | Reply

  33. Seemed be about BF issues, AM and DC sparred over it a bit.

    Comment by Gene Daniell — December 16, 2008 @ 5:03 pm | Reply

  34. Geez, if there are any questions they can easily review the video.

    Comment by Curious Resident — December 16, 2008 @ 6:17 pm | Reply

  35. It was about the part where they tried to go into exec session, no camera.

    Comment by Gene Daniell — December 16, 2008 @ 6:42 pm | Reply

  36. So if they wait until the next meeting, they will not be in compliance with the 35 day rule. Is there any relief on this statute, or is the SC just going to ignore what they are required to do ??

    Comment by RS — December 16, 2008 @ 7:04 pm | Reply

  37. AM asked if there was any issues, Ricci thought they might have to provide the Sec of State with unapproved minutes in the interim. No-one knew for sure. Anderson was long gone, so no legal to ask.

    Comment by Gene Daniell — December 16, 2008 @ 9:23 pm | Reply

  38. Not to fear, I will be asking the Secratary’s office tomorrow. Trying to keep the SC in compliance with their duties is becoming a full time task.

    Comment by RS — December 16, 2008 @ 9:41 pm | Reply

  39. RS … you seem to be the RIGL guru, I hear there’s a law that requires school budgets to be prev yr + $1 funding, any idea where I can find it?

    Comment by Gene Daniell — December 16, 2008 @ 10:42 pm | Reply

  40. I have never heard of that – and would be surprised if it was actual law. But at http://www.transparencytrain.org hit the RI Votes button and it will take you to a place you can search legislation with keywords. But I have not heard about it.

    Comment by Bill Felkner — December 16, 2008 @ 10:50 pm | Reply

  41. http://www.rilin.state.ri.us/Statutes/TITLE16/16-7/16-7-23.HTM

    I believe this is what you are referencing.

    Comment by Lois Buck — December 16, 2008 @ 11:06 pm | Reply

  42. By the way, anytime you would like to reference RI General Laws, go to the following link:

    http://www.rilin.state.ri.us/Statutes/Statutes.html

    The education laws are #16.

    This is the general laws, not the RI Constitution. That is another document. Found that recently, but lost the link. Sorry! That one was harder to find.

    Comment by Lois Buck — December 16, 2008 @ 11:14 pm | Reply

  43. Thank you Lois.

    RIGL 16-7-23: “Each community shall contribute local funds to its school committee in an amount not less than its local contribution for schools in the previous fiscal year.”

    This means that Chariho should have another vote to reduce the 2008-2009 budget by $2MM ($51 to $49, I think), then the minimum requirement for 2009-2010 will be the $49MM. If the extra money is carried over into 2009-2010, then the minimum will be $51MM. A big deal I think.

    You are allowed to decrease for lower enrollment and non-reocurring expenses. Assuming that we now will have lower maintenance costs due to the bond passage, might this be considered a “non-reocurring” expense?

    Wonder how the bond payment fits into this. Imagine if Chariho has to have level funding and we have to pay the bond, that’ll be a nice fat tax increase.

    Comment by Gene Daniell — December 17, 2008 @ 1:31 am | Reply

  44. Hey Gene, no guru here.
    Definition: “A guru is a person who is regarded as having great knowledge, wisdom and authority in a certain area, and uses it to guide others.”

    We are somewhat fortunate in RI to have our statutes written in fairly plain English, that being said however I have spent 2 days debating the placement of a comma (,) and how that changes the meaning of a satute. Seems we have many gurus around here which is a good thing.
    Below is the link for the RI Constitution.

    http://www.rilin.state.ri.us/RiConstitution/

    Comment by RS — December 17, 2008 @ 11:29 am | Reply

  45. I just had the chance to view the films of the October and November meetings, and I can’t believe, with the exception of Mrs. Carney and the man seated to her left, that such a ship of fools could exist in reality. I loved the part where Mrs. Carney questions why her motion is out of order when it deals with an agenda item while the motion to dismiss BF was in order but was not on the agenda. Or how about the light weight lawyer deciding that BF couldn’t sit at the table because this would set a president allowing anybody to sit at the table. He ignores the fact that BF was elected to sit at the table which distinguishes him from anybody else. I felt that I was an Alice in Wonderland.

    The SC’s lawyer should have warned the SC of the serious consequences of using police force to remove BF from the meeting. What the SC did was to use police force to deny BF his civil rights, and maybe the civil rights of the voters from Hopkinton. Should BF prevail in the civil rights lawsuit, his legal bills and fines must be paid by the defendents,the SC.It’s my understanding that individuals also can be singled out and sued in a civil rights lawsuit.

    I also understand that if there was a conspiracy involved proof of a conspiracy could even result in jail time as well as additional individual fines. It sure does look like there was a conspiracy to me. So there you have it: civil rights, police force, conspiracy; pretty important issues in the U.S. of A.

    Comment by Henry Walsh — December 17, 2008 @ 1:16 pm | Reply

  46. Received a response from the Secretary of State’s office on the filing of unofficial minutes. It appears the minutes(unofficial)meets the filing requirement, only public bodies within the executive branch of state government are required to file the official minutes within 35 days.

    REF: Paragraph (b)& d) of RIGL ยง 42-46-7. http://www.rilin.state.ri.us/Statutes/TITLE42/42-46/42-46-7.HTM

    Comment by RS — December 17, 2008 @ 3:40 pm | Reply

  47. I sincerely hope Mr. Walsh is right and individual School Committee members are held responsible for their actions. Billy-boob made frequent references to heeding the solicitor’s advice; as if the advice provides him cover for his votes. A few hefty fines not paid for with our tax dollars would go a long way to changing the manner in which the School Committee behaves.

    I believe the man to Ms. Carney’s left is Mr. Abbott who spoke up forcibly against the School Committee’s November 18th actions. Mr. Vecchio, to Ms. Carney’s right, did not speak (at least to my recollection), but he did vote with Ms. Carney and Mr. Abbott.

    Comment by Curious Resident — December 17, 2008 @ 5:38 pm | Reply

  48. I agree as well, this situation is a gross travesty of justice. Elected representatives have to realize they are accountble for bad decisions, we’re not at summer camp any more, this is the real world.

    If the excuse is “the lawyer said”, then do something else, blindly following bad advice is not a defense.

    Some personal financial accountability should reign in fickle behavior.

    Comment by Gene Daniell — December 18, 2008 @ 9:21 am | Reply

  49. I think there is an over reliance on the Solicitor by the SC. The reason the minutes were not posted as official is the solicitor had left and clarification was desired by some SC members. Now we have the SC in a stranglehold not only by the unions, but now the solicitor. All this time people thought it was BF who was blocking the great work of the SC….

    Comment by RS — December 18, 2008 @ 11:38 am | Reply

  50. The only way for members of the SC to be held accountable would be through a civil suit. This being said, I don’t forsee this happening. How many people filed a complaint about an open meetings vioaltion ?? The answer to this question is more than will file a lawsuit($$$).

    Comment by RS — December 18, 2008 @ 11:53 am | Reply

  51. I would guess a lot depends on Mr. Felkner and his attorneys. If their only goal is to get Mr. Felkner back in his seat, then the problems with the School Committee and administration will probably remain when this is accomplished. If they want the School Committee and administration to change their behavior, then they will take their lawsuit to the next level. Holding members personally and financially responsible for their malevolance might shake things up for once.

    I had hoped the community would hold Chariho to account through the bond vote. They didn’t even get close in Richmond and Charlestown, and Hopkinton finally capitulated as well. I couldn’t blame Mr. Felkner if he threw his hands up and said what’s the point of fighting for the children if the community doesn’t give a darn. I’m still trying to get off this sinking ship, but until I find a lifeboat I’ll continue to speak up.

    Comment by Curious Resident — December 18, 2008 @ 12:55 pm | Reply

  52. I was thinking a bit about Mr. Walsh’s conspiracy scenario. Does it seem reasonable for the solicitor to have advised the School Committee only of their authority to oust Mr. Felkner?

    In other words, wouldn’t an attorney provide objective advice which would include possible arguments against a certain position? Mr. Anderson limited his legal advice to one side of the issue. He didn’t even hint at oppositional positions such as taken by Mr. Felkner’s attorneys. Even the Board of Electors and the Attorney General wouldn’t take definitive position, yet Mr. Anderson advice was given with certainty.

    This strikes me as very odd unless there was a conspiracy and Mr. Anderson was under orders to only present one side of the legal dilemna. He must have known there was arguments against his opinion yet he didn’t share any of this with the School Committee. Ms. Carney and Mr. Abbott immediately raised concerns which he dismissed with nary a blink of his eyes.

    I do believe there was a conspiracy by Mr. Anderson, Billy-boob, and Mr. Ricci. Maybe other too. I doubt everyone on the School Committee was in on it. I suspect some members really were looking for objective advice. Even if Mr. Anderson’s ultimate legal conclusion was to oust Mr. Felkner, he did a grave disservice to School Committee members who may have wanted to weigh all the possibilities and come to their own decisions. Mr. Anderson must have known there were alternative legal opinions. His failure to share these alternatives makes the case for conspiracy very strong.

    Comment by Curious Resident — December 18, 2008 @ 4:26 pm | Reply

  53. When I listen to how the solicitors for Richmond interact with the TC and compare that to Anderson’s interaction with the SC, it is remarkably different. The Richmond solicitors add information, context, and statute explanations; I do not get the sense that the RTC is hanging on every word they say and rubber stamp the solicitor’s decision. However, this is how I feel with the SC, it’s like Anderson made the decision and the question is completely without grayness. Clearly, if the Hopkinton solicitor sees the situation opposite to Anderson, it can’t be a slam dunk. The cherry picking random facts to support your case lends itself to accusations of malpractice.

    It should be fun after BF wins. By the way, DC did ask to put a RFP for legal services on the agenda …

    Comment by Gene Daniell — December 18, 2008 @ 6:34 pm | Reply

  54. Of course there was a conspiracy, and it also involved the maker of the motion to oust BF. Before Polowski made his motion, he talked about his research on the subject of duel office holding the night before the meeting. Why would he research a subject for the SC meeting that wasn’t on the agenda? Because he was in on the conspiracy, and he had to have reasons to back his motion.

    I pray that BF has the guts to file a Cival Rights suit, and that these arrogant ******** get jail time. Why shouldn’t he? If he wins, his costs are paid for by the defendents.

    Comment by Henry Walsh — December 19, 2008 @ 2:59 am | Reply

  55. The irony is that everyone knew something was going to happen, it was obvious to me before I went to the meeting, the Hopkinton folks came with their video camera ready, cleary several SC members and solicitor had done research. So why the secrecy, talk to BF, put it on the agenda, they still would have voted him off … it’s kind of like Clinton lying over Monica-gate.

    This was the worst kept secret ever. When BF didn’t get a packet and wasn’t getting return calls from Ricci … who didn’t know the plan?

    Comment by Gene Daniell — December 19, 2008 @ 12:28 pm | Reply

  56. I saw BF the night of the council meeting when he was sworn in (which was the day before the SC ouster meeting). He told me then that they hadn’t sent him his packet. It doesn’t take a brain surgeon to figure out that something was up.

    Personally, I give a way to go to Sylvia Thompson for bringing the camera.

    Comment by Lois Buck — December 19, 2008 @ 3:03 pm | Reply

  57. Ms. Thompson does get kudos for the camera. Without the video they would have done what they usually do and lie about the whole thing.

    Comment by Curious Resident — December 19, 2008 @ 3:26 pm | Reply

  58. Mr. Walsh is completely accurate. All that is necessary would be for one resident of Hopkinton to file a violation of civil right’s suit against the sc, day, and all the other imps who voted to have Mr. Felkner removed from the sc wherein he was legally serving in the capacity of Hopkinton’s representative.

    To put it more succinctly, Mr. Felkner was removed as a representative of the Town of Hopkinton, thererfore the TC or any individual that lives in Hopkinton has had their civil rights violated. Hopkinton would not have had a say in any decisions that would have been made during that meeting. Now, my questions is, the Superintendent sat there and allowed it to happen. I am not familiar with the sc procedures, but I would have to think he would be just as liable as the rest of them for: #1, not supplying Mr. Felkner with the sc packet (red flag! You will find ricci has been known and despised for his suppositions, which, ultimately turn out to be errors in his judgement, or rather his “intentional discriminatory” practices, which by the way, was the premise of the Civil Rights Act.); and #2, protecting the rights of the people of Hopkinton. Does he not make the final decision when it comes to town budgets? I am sure he pays himself well for sitting on the sc, talking privately to the district’s attorney’s’, holding private meetings, as well as open meetings. Which bring up another issue.

    I read on another area of your blog that he is trying to involve the public in more open meetings involving budgets, etc. Does that not strike anyone as odd? Suddenly he wants to be an open book…while he is turning your heads 180 degrees away from the proceedings that occurred in the previous sc meetings that can result in investigations, court cases, personal fines, jail time? He wants to appease you now, so that he can say he ‘tried’ to include the community. Don’t let him make fools of you! He is not smart enough to have thought through the repercussions that would result in his “intentional discrimination” against the taxpayers in Hopkinton. He is running scared and is trying to divert your attention to something you care about. It is a scam. He is manipulating you and disrespecting you. He thinks you are not intelligent enough to see what he is doing and he thinks you are so vulnerable right now. He wants you back in the palm of his hands; Mr. Felkner has de-throned him and he has found himself out of his league. Mr. Felkner plays with the Pros, ricci is little leaguer. Don’t let Mr. Felkner down. He has been there for you for years. Don’t let ricci back in. Here is a chance to finally say, “ricci, You are outta here !”

    Comment by rinker — December 21, 2008 @ 3:26 pm | Reply

  59. Rinker,
    Let me start off by saying that I’m not supporting Mr. Ricci’s or the SC’s action at the previous SC meetings. I wholeheartedly feel that what they did was absolutely wrong and I’m sure Mr. Ricci had his hand in what went on but I’m confused on a few points so I will point them out so we can have some clarification.

    First question for you, does who make the final decision on the budget? I’m not sure if you mean Mr. Felkner or Mr. Ricci. In either case, neither one of them make the final decision on the budget, the voters/taxpayers make the final decision since they vote on a budget during an all day referendum.

    Another question, who pays himself well for sitting on the SC? Again, are you referring to Mr. Felkner or Mr. Ricci. I’m not quite sure which one you mean that this statement makes me think the previous one was referring to Mr. Felkner since Mr. Ricci does not sit ON the SC but rather is there as the school district superintendent and is there for a non-voting member. What I don’t like about how the school committee meetings are conducted is that Mr. Ricci continually has an opening comment as to whether something should or shouldn’t be approved.

    The comment you made about the holding more meetings involving budgets, I don’t believe there are any more meetings this year than any other year when it comes to the budget. If my memory serves me correctly, there are usually 4 scheduled public workshops, sometimes only 3 held because of the lack of public participation, I believe the last time this occurred was in 2007. The one thing they did do different this year was have a public workshop about the teacher’s contract and I know I saw this prior to the last SC meeting, not sure how long this had been scheduled for, perhaps Mr. Felkner or Mrs. Cole would know the answer to this question.

    Let’s stick to facts and no go off on wild accusations, what has been done to Mr. Felkner and the citizens of Hopkinton is wrong, very wrong. If it is found out that Mr. Ricci is the person who started all this, I’ll have no problem saying good-bye to him. If it’s one of the school committee members, I’d love to find a way to oust them now, not in two or four yeats from now.

    Comment by CharihoParent — December 21, 2008 @ 6:38 pm | Reply

  60. I think before a Hopkinton resident could sue for a civil rights violation, the question of “Did the SC have the authority to remove BF?” If the courts rule the SC did have this right, then the only violation might be in the procedure involved in removing BF. The ACLU is gathering information on this topic as we speak in order to determine if they feel the rights of Hopkinton residents have been violated.

    Comment by RS — December 21, 2008 @ 10:11 pm | Reply

  61. What is the path that the SC should take if they feel that a member is no longer eligible to hold office? (Move out of town, etc.)

    Comment by Gene Daniell — December 22, 2008 @ 12:31 am | Reply

  62. Gene, you use the correct word, “feel”, the SC did not know if BF could or could not hold both seats, they just knew they wanted him gone. They acted on their feelings not on sound judgement and principles of law. This is what we have setting the bar for our children, people acting upon their own best interest and their feelings.

    A SC member who becomes ineligible(for whatever reason) is to have the seat filled by the Hopkinton Town Council for the remainder of the term. I do not know what the process is for the other 2 towns. Obviously if you were to move from the town a resignation would be in order. It is apparent the Chariho SC felt that the BF holding another office would also make one ineligible(at least that is their claim). We know the real reason they chose to eject BF. Remember as AP stated, “I don’t want him back on the committee”. Who cares what the law says, I want, I want, I want, I wah, wah, wah.
    Question: If a reasonable prudent person thought being elected to another office would make one ineligible to hold 2 offices, then wouldn’t one ask for clarification on the issue ?? If this same prudent person had discussions about this subject with other SC members and the solicitor, wouldn’t you also include the person in question(BF) in the discussion ??

    Comment by RS — December 22, 2008 @ 9:53 am | Reply

  63. My point is that there probably isn’t a clear defined process for removing someone from the SC for any reason … moving out of town would seem to be the easiest to prove (from an eligibility perspective) … which makes the BF case even crazier because the eligibility arguement is far from a fait accompli.

    Comment by Gene Daniell — December 22, 2008 @ 1:48 pm | Reply

  64. RS, the rules for replacing a vacant seat on the school committee is specified in the Chariho Act:

    In the event of any vacancy by death, resignation or incapacity to serve of
    any term of any member of said regional school district committee, the town council of the
    member town in which such vacancy occurs shall fill such vacancy by election by a majority
    vote of the town council of said town for the unexpired term of the member whose office is thus
    vacated.

    Gene, moving out of town is automatic because it disqualifies a person from serving on anything within their former community. So I don’t think there really doesn’t need to be a clear cut process for it.

    Comment by CharihoParent — December 22, 2008 @ 3:07 pm | Reply

  65. Short answer: There is no process for the removal of any member of the SC. So if there is no process how does one legally be removed from the SC ?? Questions never answered by the solicitor. Never asked by the SC.

    So is a SC member removed by a vote of the other members considered due process under the act ??
    Not according to the act.
    Not according to the Hopkinton Town Charter.
    Not according to RI Statutes.

    So what would a resonable prudent person due in this case ?? Obtain a ruling from a court of law or just do what they “feel”.

    Comment by RS — December 22, 2008 @ 5:02 pm | Reply

  66. Remember the above information is based on an unofficial Chariho Act.

    From the Act:

    “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.”

    So how can anyone say what the Act actually says.

    Comment by RS — December 22, 2008 @ 5:04 pm | Reply

  67. Chariho School Parent, I do not know how you could have misconstued whether I was talking about Mr. Felkner or ricci. You seem very sensitive to issues about the sc’s conduct. I do not know how you could claim I was making accusations when all I did was reiterate facts and ask questions to hopefully generate responses that would include information that would help to clarify the situation. It is funny how asking questions in an on-going forum makes a person responding (the responder) to the question/comment more transparent simply by their attitude projected through their response.

    I began my comment by defending Mr. Felkner. I don’t believe Mr. Felkner has any interest in being compensated for all that he has done for the taxpayers of Hopkinton and the studennts of Chariho. That brings to mind an interesting point, are you a Hopkinton taxpayer, (rhetorical question)? I am very interested in the students at Chariho. I am also very aware of the taxpayer’s in Hopkinton, and I am extremely impressed with Mr.Felkner’s dedication and unconditional loyalty to right a wrong that has affected a large population of families that make up the Chariho community.

    I do not think I am “going off on wild accusations” when I am just presenting a rather obvious possibility. Afterall, ricci is the one at the controls. You should know, did you vote him in as Superintendent?

    Comment by RINKER — December 22, 2008 @ 6:51 pm | Reply

  68. RS, you’re correct, there is no process in any of the guiding acts of the district or of Hopkinton or in RI General Law. And yes, the SC should have obtained a court ruling as Atty. Gorham told them. I found Atty. Gorham quite persuasive in his presentation before the SC and it’s disheartening that there was such irrational behavior on the part of most members of the school committee. I think Andy “uh-uh-uh” P. showed his true colors and the true intentions of most members of the school committee when he said he didn’t want Mr. Felkner back on the school committee.

    Comment by CharihoParent — December 22, 2008 @ 7:19 pm | Reply

  69. Rinker,
    I’m not the only one what was confused by what you wrote. I had my wife and a friend also read it and they were just as confused as I was. We found you not to be very clear as to whom you were referring to at times. Hence, the questions. I found some of what you posted to not be entirely on the mark. For example, in your post you asked, “Does he not make the final decision when it comes to town budgets?” This is a bit of a wild accusation. People know that Mr. Ricci has nothing to do with town budgets other than the affect the school budget has on the individual town budgets.

    Considering that I have never been on the school committee, I certainly didn’t vote for Mr. Ricci as superintendent, did you?

    Comment by CharihoParent — December 22, 2008 @ 7:28 pm | Reply

  70. I re-read rinker’s post a few times, it didn’t seem ambiguous to me. However, I can see how someone not following the situation closing might not see it as clearly, there’s some ambiguity if you weren’t familiar with some of the fine point connections.

    It can be argued that “moving out of district” is up to interpretation. Say, my house burns down and I live with relatives in Exeter for 6 months? Wife kicks me out of the house? Whose definition of residency are we using?

    Seems really strange to me that what to do when eligibility is challenged is not enumerated somewhere, surely this must have happened before?

    Comment by Gene Daniell — December 22, 2008 @ 8:11 pm | Reply

  71. If your living with relatives is only temporary and you’re rebuilding your home, then you plan on still residing in the town you’re registered in. I would think that would be allowed.

    Comment by CharihoParent — December 22, 2008 @ 8:34 pm | Reply

  72. Point is that even “easy” situations can be complicated. So how Anderson makes the BF situation so cut and dry still astounds me.

    Comment by Gene Daniell — December 22, 2008 @ 9:16 pm | Reply

  73. From what I’ve heard from Anderson, he hasn’t made any case….he just wasn’t challenged (mentally) by any of the SC members with thought provoking questions.

    Comment by RS — December 22, 2008 @ 9:46 pm | Reply

  74. That’s it precisely RS. Why were many of the School Committee members sitting on their hands? Why would they not at least ask the solicitor to elucidate potential opposition to his opinion? Clearly there were alternative legal arguments to be made as had been made clear by Mr. Felkner’s attorney and Hopkinton’s solicitor. Even in the slam dunk legal cases there is opposition.

    To me this is a key part of the whole sordid affair. If Mr. Petit and the others didn’t already know the outcome and weren’t on board with the ouster of Mr. Felkner ahead of time, wouldn’t they have asked Mr. Anderson to discuss all legal possibilities. Clearly most of the School Committee knew what they were about to do and had no desire to have an open and honest discussion. The behind the scenes behavior is why I hope the case makes it into a court and individuals either are forced to tell the truth or perjure themselves. A few hefty fines would be great to see as well.

    Comment by Curious Resident — December 22, 2008 @ 10:23 pm | Reply

  75. I am having the feeling that this issue is somewhat like Monica-gate, it was the coverup not the original act that created the legal issues.

    Anyone want to comment on solictor’s Anderson’s exposure to malpractice and/or professional misconduct charges? I can’t believe the one-sided presentation could ever be considered responsible and unbiased legal advice.

    Comment by Gene Daniell — December 23, 2008 @ 1:01 am | Reply

  76. I disagree Gene. I do not think there is any “coverup”. The fact BF did not receive the information packet shows proof of the preplanned action and prior discussion of the plan to remove him from the SC. An attempt to coverup would not have brought attention to the subject by denying BF the packet.
    The most egregious violation is the SC (comprised of 3 seperate towns) “feeling” they have some legal right (and in their twisted minds a duty)to remove another towns elected (by the people)official without so much as attempting to obtain a legal opinion(unbiased) from an independent(not a Ricci/Day patsy)legal entity, and then professing it is said officials or towns responsibility to prove otherwise if they do not agree.
    This is an absolute corruption of power, acting as if the citizens are beneath the SC and if they don’t agree then go seek legal action. Of course the SC’s legal action and advice is on the dime of the taxpayer. I wonder if the individual SC members had to open their wallets and personally pay for the legal advice if they would have acted the same. I think not, thefore they abused the power given to them by the voters, they should have used the resources to get a fair and equitable decision from the courts, and not disenfranchised an entire towns electorate.

    Comment by RS — December 23, 2008 @ 10:27 am | Reply

  77. It could be said that Mr. Ricci unilaterally determined Mr. Felkner was off the School Committee. He is the person who sends out the packets so he acted as judge, jury, and executioneer prior to any official School Committee discussion of the issue. Mr. Anderson and Mr. Ricci should both be summarily fired.

    Comment by Curious Resident — December 23, 2008 @ 10:42 am | Reply

  78. I cannot imagine that Ricci did not have any discussion with any other SC member. I feel this way because there were very few questions asked by any of the members. If I was sitting at the ivory table, I would have had so many questions about the attempt to remove another towns elected official I doubt the solicitor would have been prepared on the spot to answer any of them.
    If one was to assume the members were caught off guard by the removal, and didn’t have time to think it through, then that in and of itself would have been grounds enough to delay the decison.
    We all know the majority of the SC had previous knowledge of what was going to take place. People like Ricci/Day do not go into a situation like that without knowing they have enough vote support to pull off their shenanigans. I’ve said it before, the Chariho SC is nothing more than a pathetic ego boosting excuse for small minded invertebrates. The pathetic part is people allow them control over their children’s education.

    Comment by RS — December 23, 2008 @ 10:56 am | Reply

  79. Sorry, I didn’t mean to imply there was a coverup, just that the original question of BF eligibility is credible, it’s there actions to execute the removal are over the top.

    So if Anderson’s actions and advice are as bad as we think think they are, where is the professional responsibility line? Did Anderson cross it? Carney’s agenda item to request a RFP for legal services tells you what she thinks.

    Comment by Gene Daniell — December 23, 2008 @ 11:34 am | Reply

  80. No need to be sorry Gene, there may very well be an attempt to cover the discussion of the removal of BF before the meeting. We all realize there was discussion of this before the meeting, just can’t prove what was discussed with whom. I doubt Ricci denied BF the package based on his own decision. He obviously had discussion with at a minimum the solicitor. So the question raised is who has access to the solicitor and can an individual member go to the solicitor without the rest of the members being aware of the discussion ?? or…Can the Chariho admin go to the solicitor for advice without the consent or knowledge of the SC members ??
    I’ve said it here before, the unlimted, unfettered access to the solicitor has put more stranglehold on the SC ability to perform work because they continue to use him to deny those in favor of transparency and accountability the “legal opinion” blockade. Sitting at the ivory table without legal rebuttal and the necessary resources to counter the babbling of an agenda laden solicitor (Ricci’s puppet boy), puts those who truly want to restore the trainwreck(Chariho) to the tracks at a disadvantage.

    Comment by RS — December 23, 2008 @ 12:21 pm | Reply

  81. I woudl tend to agree that there were discussions amongst Mr. Ricci and at least 3 other members of the school committee. Andy ‘uh-uh-uh’ P., Little Andy and Billy “the boob” Day. Bob Petit is also suspect since he too didn’t ask very many questions.

    Comment by CharihoParent — December 23, 2008 @ 12:23 pm | Reply

  82. I’m guessing Ms. Cole and Mr. Vecchio weren’t in on it since they are new and Mr. Ricci couldn’t be sure they would be in his back pocket. Looks like Ms. Cole has found a home there now, but they probably didn’t know that until she voted to disenfranchise Hopkinton. Mr. Vecchio voted to protect Hopkinton’s representative, so they will be wary of him going forward.

    Mr. Petit likely bargained himself the Vice Chair position in exchange for supporting the ouster. Ironically, he didn’t need to do it since he is the now the only Hopkinton representative who can be easily manipulated by Mr. Ricci. They could only vote for Mr. Petit even if he had stood up for Hopkinton this one time. Of course, Mr. Petit is too dumb to have figured that out by himself.

    Ms. Eaves must have been in the pre-planning loop too. She asked little, if any, questions about the move. Besides, only a complete idiot would have taken the solicitor’s opinion without question. Ms. Eaves couldn’t be an idiot, could she?

    Comment by Curious Resident — December 23, 2008 @ 12:37 pm | Reply

  83. So nobody knows the process of using the solicitor for advice and who can use him and who is made aware if he is used ??

    Comment by RS — December 23, 2008 @ 12:46 pm | Reply

  84. I’m pretty sure Mr. Ricci was given unfettered access to the solicitor. Mr. Felkner strenuously objected, but per usual, was overruled by the School Committee majority.

    I’m not sure if individual School Committee members also have free and unreported access to the solicitor. Sure seems like Billy-boob has non-public discussions with the solicitor, but I don’t know if it is the formal policy.

    Gene mentions an RFP. Is that some kind of documentation as to what services the solictior has provided? Would an RFP be a detailed report or general information about the time the solicitor has billed Chariho?

    Comment by Curious Resident — December 23, 2008 @ 4:06 pm | Reply

  85. RFP = Request for proposal, cost and services to render. Different from a straight up bid where you tell the bidders exactly what you want, now give me a price.

    Essentially Carney’s saying let’s put our legal services contract out for open bids, hardly an endorsement of Anderson. It’s the very polite way of kicking Anderson in the …

    Comment by Gene Daniell — December 23, 2008 @ 4:38 pm | Reply

  86. Thanks for the explanation Gene. I thought Ms. Carney was trying to find out when and why the solicitor has been used. I now understand she is attempting to decrease our legal expenses. She’s a keeper.

    I wonder if Mr. Anderson purposely places Chariho in legal jeopardy so he can increase his billing hours? I hear causing conflict is a ploy used by attorneys to maximize litigation. Brilliant strategy if you can find clients dumb enough to fall for it…the School Committee is just what the lawyer ordered.

    Comment by Curious Resident — December 23, 2008 @ 7:24 pm | Reply

  87. Carney asked that question, Anderson said this issue is covered by his retainer. It’s nice to know that there’s at least someone other than BF that can think for themselves.

    Comment by Gene Daniell — December 23, 2008 @ 8:53 pm | Reply

  88. Yes, I heard that, but what other legal expenses have they incurred?

    Comment by Curious Resident — December 23, 2008 @ 10:14 pm | Reply

  89. They won’t tell anyone.

    Comment by Gene Daniell — December 24, 2008 @ 1:18 am | Reply

  90. Couldn’t help but laugh at that one Gene…and Mr. Felkner is the one accused of wanting to be emperor.

    Comment by Curious Resident — December 24, 2008 @ 1:20 am | Reply

  91. Does emperor of Chariho have as good a package as the teachers and admins?

    Comment by Gene Daniell — December 24, 2008 @ 1:42 am | Reply

  92. Hey CR, I know I’m not telling you anything you didn’t know, but a reminder…..”they” haven’t incurred any legal expenses, WE (taxpayers)have. One of the problems with having the solicitor on an unlimited basis, its too easy to just jump to him for opinions. I have trouble recalling seeing “Anderson” on the ballot when I voted for SC members.

    Comment by RS — December 24, 2008 @ 11:22 am | Reply

  93. Thanks RS…I try to remember the correct pronoun but miss it sometimes. It’s easy to forget that the money once belonged to us since they treat it as if they earned it.

    Comment by Curious Resident — December 24, 2008 @ 11:35 am | Reply

  94. How’s that Christmas present, “we” get to pay for the priviledge of evicting BF from the SC.

    Comment by Gene Daniell — December 24, 2008 @ 3:53 pm | Reply

  95. ….and if he prevails, and seeks restitution we’ll get to pay to put him back on the SC. So in the end the taxpayer loses twice.
    Thank you Chariho School Committee.

    Make that 3 times if you count the educational record of our children at Chariho.

    Comment by RS — December 24, 2008 @ 4:14 pm | Reply

  96. With dual office holders all over the place, I can’t see how the court can side with the School Committee majority. This is yet one more expensive game played by Chariho. I wish they’d go back to educating children and worry less about enriching themselves.

    Comment by Curious Resident — December 24, 2008 @ 5:19 pm | Reply

  97. I’m of the same opinion, no legimate basis has been presented to suggest that it isn’t allowed. That’s what makes this all so frustrating. I hope the court doesn’t stop at reinstating BF, a rebuke would be nice, then we can move on to the civil rights violations, personal financial accountability, open meetings violations, etc. Wouldn’t it be a hoot if this poorly orchestrated action resulted in the resignation of several of the bad actors.

    Comment by Gene Daniell — December 24, 2008 @ 6:22 pm | Reply

  98. The open meetings violation is already being pursued by the AG’s office, as it is independent of the legal opinion on the ouster of BF. The ACLU is also in an information gathering phase at this time.

    Comment by RS — December 24, 2008 @ 8:49 pm | Reply

  99. It would be nice to the see the ACLU get involved as I assume Mr. Felkner is paying for his own legal bills at this point and to pursue all the legal avenues required to hold the “bad actors” (excellent descriptor) accountable is probably cost prohibitive.

    I’ll be happy to see Hopkinton get our full representation, but we’ll end up with more nonsense down the road if the School Committee majority isn’t taught a lesson in the process. I would especially like to see an investigation of the conspiracy elements which led to a violation of civil rights. Hit Mr. Ricci, Billy-boob, and the rest in the wallet and I expect they’ll be a little more cautious next time before disenfranchising an entire town.

    Maybe if individual School Committee members actually have their earnings taken from them they’ll finally fire Mr. Ricci. He can take his personal, taxpayer funded solicitor with him when he goes.

    Comment by Curious Resident — December 25, 2008 @ 1:11 am | Reply

  100. I’m sure BF is on the hook right now for his legal bills, but I think this is a case where he can seek restitution if he wins.
    The only information I know for the ACLU inquiry is based on the Hopkinton residents rights violation, I have no knowledge of BF’s legal plannings or cases.

    Merry Christmas all.

    Comment by RS — December 25, 2008 @ 1:06 pm | Reply


RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URI

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: