Sunday, September 21, 2008

Let the sun shine!


So today’s Sunday Republican struck me—journalistically speaking—as a tad schizophrenic. The awesome editorial from Editor in Chief Larry McDermott championed the Open Meeting Law (bureaucratic political nitwits otherwise known as the Boston City Council wants the state legislature to exempt them from OML because they love to do their duty under cover of darkness).

Larry's editorial


Yet in the same edition we also had a story by staff writer Stephanie Barry about a “retreat” of the Springfield School Committee with new Superintendent Alan Ingram and a quorum of that committee.

According to Barry’s article: Member Michael P. Rodgers said after the retreat that the dialogue was long overdue. He also commended Ingram for uniting committee members.

"He has a calming effect," Rodgers said. "A unified School Committee will result in a unified school system."


Sounds to me like a violation of the Open Meeting Law.

Stephanie's story


Chilling effect, indeed. And I thought Amherst officials were whacked.


20 comments:

ARHS '76 said...

The way I understand it, as long as the topic of discussion at retreats is not policy but how to work together, it is not a violation of open meeting law.

Anonymous said...

But if it isn't an open meeting how does anyone know they aren't talking policy?

LarryK4 said...

As far as I'm concerned if you put a a quorum of a committee, council or Select board in a room together where they talk among themselves without any unbiased observer there to record those conversations, it is a violation of Open Meeting Law.

ARHS '76 said...

That sounds like Philosophy 101. If a tree falls in the woods...

I suppose a moderator in attendance, sworn to tell to truth, could assuage your concern.

At some level, if a group of policymakers want to do a retreat to address communications and cooperation issues, you probably need to take them at their word.

If there isn't a single person on the board you trust then you have bigger problems than whether they violate open meeting laws.

LarryK4 said...

So who would swear in the moderator sworn to tell the truth?

Anonymous said...

Let's look at it this way.

Lets say, hypothetically, they all decided to share a few racist jokes. I don't happen to know any, but there must be one or two that are particularly noxious to AfroAmericans. And yes, they use the "N" word (or more offensive words) as well.

They do this in their official capacities as elected public representatives and the public doesn't have the right to know about this?

Sunlight is the best disinfectant. If they aren't trying to hide anything, then why try to hide?

It is like a cashier not letting you count the change you get back - if nothing is to be hidden, why try to hide?

Ed

Anonymous said...

A Umass student...

A nigger...

Which is the racist assertion?

the zak said...

http://www.openmeetinglaws.com/

the zak said...

http://SunshineBoston.blogspot.com

Anonymous said...

My point is very simple - if you had a racist spewing racial stuff in a private meeting, you would never know about it - those who heard it would be bound not to let anyone know.

If you had a bigot on the school board, wouldn't you kinda like to know about it?

What this has to do with UMass is beyond me.

Ed

LarryK4 said...

Of course what I ponder weak and weary is that old group trust building exercise routine, usually in the form of two or three folks standing behind one who stiffens like a board and falls like a tree…trusting the folks behind to catch them.

What if the facilitator decided to have the entire group of nine engage in a brief deliberation of the nuts-and-bolts business of running the Regional High School--and then the trust part of the exercise (and group team building) is that nobody rats out the group?

Anonymous said...

> What this has to do with UMass is beyond me.

Welcome to our world.

Anonymous said...

And my response to the trust building exercise: to say "F*** You" and that I have better things to do. I am wasting my time on this because????

ED

LarryK4 said...

Yeah, Catherine Sanderson--the ONLY one of nine who voted against this nonsense may do just that...well, maybe not in those EXACT terms (and hey, she also blogs)

Anonymous said...

Larry, lools like Weiss is out for your butt. Need back up?

Until later..............

LarryK4 said...

Nah. if I could handle what's-her-name, I can handle him

Anonymous said...

Catherine Sanderson is from the far more civilized Amherst College.

I am from UMass.
A somewhat different environment.

Ed

LarryK4 said...

Yeah, but she teaches aerobics for, ugh, Gold's Gym--so she must grunt, spit or swear once in a while.

Anonymous said...

Catherine Sanderson is from the far more civilized Amherst College.
I am from UMass.
A somewhat different environment.
Ed


Ed is an anti-elitist. Is that just as bigoted?

Mike K said...

Where are the funds coming from to pay for the meals,milage,lodging etc for this retreat ? When we are now facing another period that the school and other town budgets are growing out of control, raising taxes and straining the resources of it's residents
Mike