Thursday, August 21, 2014

Another Open Meeting Complaint

Trevor Baptiste (2nd from left) leads rebellious 7/14 meeting which attracted a quorum 

Former School Committee member Tom Flittie has filed an Open Meeting Law complaint over the renegade 7/14 meeting called by (then) Vice Chair Trevor Baptiste, where five members passed a resolution decrying a critical memo sent out from Amherst, Pelham and the Regional school Chairs strongly criticising Amilcar Shabazz for statements he made at a Equity Task Force Meeting in June.




Of course the interesting thing is his complaint alleges that the 7/14 meeting was not properly posted in Amherst.  Actually it was ...  for about an hour.   And then the Town Clerk's office was told to take it down and send out a follow up cancellation notice.


The Amherst-Pelham Regional School Committee, now chaired by Mr. Baptiste, will take up discussion of the OML complaint at their next meeting. 


14 comments:

Anonymous said...

Every once and awhile, someone displays the kind of personal public-spirited fortitude, with no apparent benefit to himself, that makes being part of civic life here worthwhile.

I hope that expressing my admiration for Mr. Flittie in taking this action will not cause him to reconsider his position.

I hereby repent about any occasion in which I disagreed with him perhaps too harshly in the past.

We have only as much law as we have the will to enforce. The rules apply to you even when you are utterly convinced that you are in the right on the substance. Oddly enough, Mr. Baptiste, as the new Chair of the Regional School Committee, will be an immediate beneficiary going forward of Mr. Flittie's complaint here.

Rich Morse

Larry Kelley said...

While I do not disagree with the contention the 7/14 meeting violated Open Meeting Law, I think this particular complaint misses the mark.

Anonymous said...

Trevor doesn't think he has to follow any rules.

Anonymous said...

If the AG finds there was a violation of Open Meeting Law will there be any fines involved?

Larry Kelley said...

No.

Anonymous said...

I'm lost. Who told the town clerk to take the notice down?

Larry Kelley said...

I believe Maria Geryk's secretary called one of the assistant Town Clerk's.

Anonymous said...

On page 7 of the Attorney General's Open Meeting Law Guide (updated August 1, 2013):

"A copy of the notice shall be filed and kept by the chair of the public body or by the chair's designee."

At that time of the attempted posting, Mr. Baptiste was not the chair and could not name himself the chair. Mr. O'Brien was the chair.

Rich Morse

Larry Kelley said...

Yes, but that is not the basis of Mr. Flittie's complaint.

And it's too late for you to file yours as the. 30 days are up.

Anonymous said...

The generalized question presented by this episode is this: can a member of any local board or committee decide to gather up enough fellow members to constitute a quorum, and call a meeting without involving the chair in some way, thereby skipping the posting provision in the law, which gives proper formalized notice to the public? Or is proper notice something we can arrive at with some ad hoc "well, everybody knows about it" determination, which Mr. Kelley seems to have been proposing in an earlier post?

What kind of government would that be?

Rich Morse

Larry Kelley said...

Generally speaking I agree with you, as I did somewhat clearly point out in that earlier (breaking news sort of) post.

But specifically speaking, Mr. Flittie screwed up the complaint.

And I'm a strict constructionist when it comes to rule of law. Dot your damn i's and cross you damn t's.

Anonymous said...

And as the average tax payer will say; Who gives a shit, anyway?

Anonymous said...

Here's one very average taxpayer who says, I do give a shit.

This cannot happen again.

Walter Graff said...

Just imagine if all the wasted energy put into everything except the educational system of Amherst was actually put into the students, their progress theIr achievement, and the teachers, we'd have an incredible system.