Dear Ms. Coakley:
I wish to file a follow up complaint with your office over the manner in which the Amherst Regional School Committee entered Executive Session at their 11/22/11 joint meeting with the Amherst School Committee, specifically, failing to get a "second" to the motion and the motion--at the time it was made--lacked any reason for entering Executive Session and failed to cite the specific chapter and verse of the Open Meeting Law.
In a response to my complaint (that used the form provided by your office) and copied in writing to the Amherst Town Clerk, the Chair of the Regional School Committee stated in writing:
I stated at the beginning of the meeting that we would be going into executive session for the purpose of contract negotiations. It also says so on top of the agenda:
It is not required to state it in the motion; it is only required to state it at some point during the pubic meeting before the exec session.
Have a great turkey day.
From: Rick Hood
While I have no problem with the reasons for the Regional School Committee to go into Executive Session, I strongly believe that it should never be taken lightly and the discipline shown by using proper procedures exhibits the due diligence expected of our public officials.
Perhaps this incident will provide a perfect "teachable moment."
11/23/11 4:54 PM
According to the somewhat newly revised Open Meeting Law I am supposed to file my complaint with you and the town clerk over the incident last night where the Regional School Committee went into executive session without clearly stating the reason for doing so and without a proper second to the motion.
Please excuse the somewhat weird formatting as I downloaded the PDF complaint form from the AG website.
OPEN MEETING LAW COMPLAINT FORM
Organization or Media Affiliation (if any): http://onlyintherepublicofamherst.blogspot.com/
Are you filing the complaint in your capacity as an individual, representative of an organization, or media? Media
(For statistical purposes only) Individual Organization Media x
Public Body that is the subject of this complaint: Amherst Regional School Committee
City/Town Amherst County Hampshire Regional/District State Mass
Name of Public Body (including city/ town, county or region, if applicable):Amherst Regional School Committee, 170 Chestnut Street, Amherst, Ma
Specific person(s), if any, you allege committed the violation: Rick Hood, Chair of the Regional Committee and Irv Rhodes Chair Amherst School Committee
Date of alleged violation:11/22/11
Description of alleged violation: Irv Rhodes made a motion to go into Executive Session "never to return" but with no explanation/reason for the action, and Mr Hood allowed it without having a proper second from another member.
Describe the alleged violation that this complaint is about. If you believe the alleged violation was intentional, please say so and include the reasons supporting your belief. No, not intentional--just careless.
What action do you want the public body to take in response to your complaint? Apologize, promise it will never happen again. After school detention.
Review, sign, and submit your complaint
Read this important notice and sign your complaint.
Under most circumstances your complaint will be considered a public record and be available to any member of the public upon request.
I understand that when I submit this complaint the Attorney General's Office cannot give me legal advice and cannot act as my personal lawyer.
I certify that the information contained on this form is true to the best of my knowledge.
Signed: ____Larry Kelley_______________________________________ Date:___________________________11/23/11
First Name:Larry Last Name:Kelley Address:596 South Pleasant City:Amherst
Phone Number:256-0491 Email:firstname.lastname@example.org
State:Mass Zip Code:01002