Chariho School Parents’ Forum

March 5, 2009

Chariho Times weighs in

h/t SBH for the editorial in today’s Chariho Times – direct link HERE.

Also of note was an article on the Open Space bond.

A letter from the HTC (sans Bev Kenney) was in the Sun and Times supporting our case on Monday.  If someone has a copy I would like to post it.  thx


February 27, 2009

Chariho’s reply

Please find linked below the reply sent to the Supreme Court by Chariho – and the accompanying attachments – 120+ pages for your viewing pleasure (I’m sure glad Jon Anderson agreed to do this for Chariho for no additional funds over his retainer!  Although, I hear they are looking for an additional attorney – I wonder if that means we have a rebate coming).

Brief of Respondent

Appendix to Brief

February 17, 2009

March 9th – a big day.

Filed under: Dec 8 meeting — Editor @ 11:49 pm

[UPDATE] the SLRB hearing has been moved to March 19 (kinda kills the title, huh?)


March 9th is really big on two counts.  First it is our court date – as Gorham put it, a historic case and unique to our nation.



Speaking of which, at this evening’s HTC meeting, Sylvia, Tom and Barbara said they had been called by town residents asking them to have the solicitor write to the court supporting our fight against Chariho.  The thought was that since Richmond and Charlestowndid so that Hopkinton should too. 


Our solicitor said she had been providing Gorham information when he requests it, and did write originally, but that there was nothing more to be said. The court shouldn’t care how many people chime in, just what is said.


Later, during the public forum, Dot Gardner expressed the same wishes but touched on the “public opinion” aspect.


As far as writing to the court.  First of all, today was the deadline so it’s moot. And while I sincerely appreciate those of you and Dot asking, the reality is that the court doesn’t care (or at least they shouldn’t).  They should simply look at the law not be swayed by public opinion. And as our solicitor said, Gorham has covered everything and there isn’t more to be said.


That being said, I do think the court is influenced by the public on certain high profile cases. This case is high profile on a legal sense because of the historic nature, but not in the public opinion profile. Besides, its too late anyway.


I still believe this is really a whistle blower case, where Chariho is retaliating against me (and they do have a history of such actions), then for the RTC and CTC to jump on the pile only weakens their standing and implicates them to similar concerns.


But the court of public opinion is another thing.  Since the Sun and Times have both written articles when Charlestown and Richmondsubmitted their briefs or took their votes, it could be useful to have citizens or even council members write to the paper. As Scott Bill Hirst did. If it did come from council members, or better yet the council, a letter could always be sent to the court as an FYI.


I didn’t speak on this during this evening’s meeting because I didn’t want to put anyone on the spot by asking for someone to write a letter.  But I do appreciate the efforts. And to repeat, we have enough money for the current out of pocket expenses.


And speaking of our “fight against the machine,” and the other reason March 9th is a good day to take the day off and enjoy our government at work. The State Labor Relations Board will be hearing the East Providence School Committee case in a public session. 



And in anticipation of that hearing, I will be on Helen Glover (920 AM) tomorrow some time between 8:30 and 9 and on John Depetro (630 AM and 99.7 FM) Thursday between 7:15 and 7:45, speaking about a press release we put out today questioning the State Labor Relations Board why it turned down the school’s complaint but upheld the unions?



Depetro has also asked about the Chariho case so that might come up too.


You can find the press release HERE, and if you have an opinion on the topic, feel free to call in.

February 6, 2009

Gorham’s reply memo

I see my last two uploads didn’t take – here is Nick Gorham’s reply memo sent to the court on Wednesday.  I have also provided a new link on the post below for the court’s order.

February 4 Reply Memo

Case Update

I forgot to post the order – see at the end of this post.

So, what does all this mean?

If you recall when this started, Chariho removed me and we went to Superior Court asking a few things (in my words, not legalease) 1) Chariho violated the OMA so reverse the decision, 2) Rule whether or not Chariho has the authority to remove me, 3) Rule whether or not someone can hold these two seats.

The court ruled on the easy one – and said there was an OMA violation and issued the temporary restraining order on their actions.

Chariho did it again, this time placing it on the agenda.

We went to Superior Court again but moments before being heard the AG said we had to go to Supreme Court.

So we went to Supreme Court asking for 2 and 3. Chariho asked for a dismissal. The court denied Chariho’s motion and set a hearing for March 9th. That’s the Clift Notes version.

Here is the order

February 5 Court Order


The court has denied Chariho’s petition to dismiss and expeditiously set a hearing for March 9th. 

One request that we had to consolidate the petition was denied. Considering everything else is so positive we think this too will probably come out positive and there could be no reason to consolodate – especially for the issue of whether or not the Superior Court has jurisdiction.  Because, if the Supreme Court decides that a town or school committee can’t dismiss members unless it is written into their Act or Charter, then deciding on Supreme Court jurisdiction would become moot. Thus no reason to look at it and thus no reason to consolidatewith the rest. 

All in all, a great day.  Thank you all for the support. We will see what March 9 brings – but at least we know that the court thinks its worthy of more discussion than Chariho required to act.

February 5, 2009

Latest on the case

The court is meeting on the case today, we filed the following reply memo yesterday.


[UPDATE] No word from the court today – I’m sure we will hear something tomorrow.

January 28, 2009

More from the Sun

H/T to CP for sending me the text.

The only point I would dispute is that Gorham is not working Pro Bono. I admit a bit of fog during that conversation but I do recall saying that we expect to win this case and Chariho to pay for his legal fees.   – which would mean he is racking up fees and thus not pro bono.

Felkner seeks donations for legal expenses
By Victoria Goff

The Sun Staff


A town councilor battling to keep his seat on the Chariho Regional School Committee is seeking financial support for his legal expenses.


William J. Felk­ner, 45, has asked supporters for dona­tions toward court filing fees, which have so far totaled $450. His attorney, Nicholas Gorham, has offered to work pro bono.


Felkner asserts the school committee wrongfully ousted him in November, when it ruled that he had vacated his committee seat when he was sworn-in to the Hopkinton Town Council. He claims that he can hold both seats, and the School Committee did not have the authority to remove him.


Gorham petitioned the state Supreme Court this week, after a judge in Washington County Superior Court ruled last week that the case belonged there. The school commit­tee’s attorney, Jon M. Anderson, must file a response by today. Anderson said he plans to restate the school commit­tee’s position that the Hopkinton Town Charter bars Felkner from holding both seats, which he says could also present a conflict of interest.

The Supreme Court jus­tices are expected to review, behind closed doors, how to proceed with the case on Feb. 5. So far, Felkner said he has collected about $250. He plans to create a legal fund for the donations, which the state Board of Elections told him to report.

“I have always said that I would not ask the town council [for tax dollars] to pay for any of this [at least not what I can control — we already pay Chariho’s attor­ney],” Felkner wrote in his request for donations on his blog, Chariho Parents Forum. He said someone had previously written an entry on his blog suggesting he should start the fund. Anderson’s work on the case is covered by a $4,200­monthly fee the school dis­trict pays his firm, Edwards, Angell, Palmer and Dodge, of Providence, for district legal services.

Felkner’s attorney asked a judge in his initial filing with the Superior Court to impose a $5,000 fine against the school committee for vio­lation of the state’s Open Meetings Act. The fine is the maximum allowed for such a violation.


The Superior Court judge issued a preliminary finding that the school committee violated the state law when it did not list its discussion of Felkner’s status on its agenda in November. Resolution of the alleged violation has been suspend­ed while the Supreme Court case is pending.


Asked about his request for a $5,000 fine being levied against the public body, Felkner said he was not aware his attorney included it with the court complaint.


“Whatever it’s going to take to get them to stop doing this, then I’m all for it,” he said.


He also said, “To me, it’s just the school committee can’t do this. They say, ‘Well, this isn’t about Bill Felkner.’ Clearly this is about somebody who pushed them to be transparent and open up the contract negoti­ations and they don’t like that. … This isn’t about the two-seat issues, this is about getting rid of Bill Felkner, and they just don’t have that authority.”

Filed today

Find a link below for Chariho’s Memorandum of Law in support of Its Motion to Dismiss our Petition for Statutory Quo Warranto. 

The court will review the case on Jan 5th – NOT an open court session.

Two initial points that hit me is the end of paragraph 1 on pg 2 (that my two seats have different constituents) and the end of pg 7 going to pg 8 (that the court ‘need not’ decide if Chariho acted unlawfully if the dual seat question goes against me – in other words, its ok to use the guilty until proved innocent method).


January 2, 2009


I forgot to mention that the judge ruled that my votes should be recorded but not counted.  That way when its all said and done, and if we are fully reinstated, we can go back and see where those votes could have had an impact.

I guess that will open the door to looking at all the previous motions where my votes was not recorded (because I wasn’t allowed to be there).

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