Thursday, February 16, 2017

School Committee To OML: Drop Dead

The Amherst School Committee, as expected, voted 4-0-1 to fight my Open Meeting Law complaint stemming from their spirited private participation in an ill fated campaign to sell the $66.3 million Mega School to Town Meeting.

And yes, the three in particular -- Katherine Appy, Anastasia Ordonez and Phoebe Hazzard -- took the time to respond angrily and in an ad hominem manner.

Fair enough.   After 30 years I'm used to it.  But just for the record, over that time period the majority of my OML complaints have been affirmed by either the District Attorney or Attorney General.

Abstaining member Vira Douangmany Cage asked the three members to submit from their email inbox the original non-redacted emails so the Attorney General could ascertain how many other public officials and school employees took part.

That didn't go over very well.  Then she tried to get Katherine Appy to abstain from the discussion/vote since she's been School Committee Chair for the past six years and obviously has a different idea of how public officials should behave.

That too went nowhere.  Then she requested the meeting minutes from the most recent School Committee meeting held just one week after the Town Meeting rejection be included in the AG response since it clearly shows the SC acting officially on the Mega School question.

Today my Anonymous source who originally sent me the redacted documents (except for the three School Committee members private email addresses) resent me the same file, except this time it was unredacted.

Names now showing include prominent Town Meeting members, four Charter Commissioners (out of nine) and a bevy of school employees, all using their private email accounts.

But even if a quorum (five) of Charter Commissioners had been involved that clearly would not be a violation of Open Meeting Law since their duties as Commissioners have nothing to do with an expensive new school.

The School Committee, on the other hand, has everything to do with the $66.3 million Mega School.  So for a quorum of them to participate in a behind the scenes shadow campaign to push that through Town Meeting is clearly unethical, immoral and downright illegal.

Especially when only one week later they officially vote not to withdraw the Mega School from the Mass School Building Authority program thus delaying by a full year the opportunity to resubmit another Statement of Interest for a new and better building plan.

If the three cheating School Committee members went out for a beer after last night's contentious meeting and raised a glass to my ultimate demise, that would not be an OML violation.  But if they discussed how they are going to handle my follow-up complaint to the AG, that clearly would be.

Public officials are held to a higher standard.  As they should be!


Anonymous said...

I heard Appy was in contact with the Russians!

Anonymous said...

It's a swing and a miss!

Larry Kelley said...

Maybe that's who sent me the file.

Anonymous said...

Reading this post, I realized that everyone can have their cake and eat it too, EVERYONE. People are just looking for the wrong funding.

This is getting downright entertaining. I suggest after the AG, that Larry contact TLC or ABC and offer this up as a reality show. Specifically let them know what a shit show the town government is in handling this and the people are in reacting and disrespecting each other - right down to disrespecting the hard work and incomes of neighbors - that is entertainment. Corruption, winy liberals, tight conservatives, folks that claim to be one and act like the other, this is awesome. Send them a link to the blog and the comments. The endless conflict can be cashed in on.

For some portion of the funding, they can film and cover the BS drama, and be assured it will never end.

The parents get their school, the nonparents don't pay as much, those who are corrupt get called out in style AND if done with a reality check, adults act less like children. This blog will be famous and can be cut and pasted into the shows, especially the comments.

I think many in the nation would watch because many are dealing with the same silly conflicts and wanty people. As we know the nation has pushed back against this kind of community in the last election, most of America would just love laughing at and feeling superior to liberal Amherst.

The show could literally be called Only in The Republic of Amherst.

I am not kidding, wouldn't hurt to ask. Could gain bigtime if accepted.

Anonymous said...

I like it! If Larry won't, I will...but send it to Faux News first.

Anonymous said...

The AG will find there was an OML volition just like the last 4 that Larry filed, and will do absolutely nothing.
That is what they do. Yep, violation, don't do it again. Im warning you !!
There is no punitive action from the AG, ever !!

Anonymous said...

Did I miss the un-redacted version or have you not posted it?

Anonymous said...

And when a City Council convenes, (populated by this same crowd) won't we have fun

Anonymous said...

The gang of three knows nothing will come of this from the AG....a write slap at best. Just vote No on this ridiculous Mega School project. Maybe sanity will return then...doubt it.

Anonymous said...

I expected more from Eric N when he joined the group-
He thinks we can approve the school plan and then change it.
and now he voted with the trio?
The body language and interactions really say a lot at SC meetings. When did the basics of meeting participation go by the wayside?
The individual speaking should be given full attention.
It is not the time to stretch your neck, check phones, write lists or doodle.

Anonymous said...

The SC is super disrespectful anon 659 I agree!

Anonymous said...

Yes, but not as much as Hillary was.

Dr. Ed said...

Anyone remember the Ward Commission?

Sooner or later, there'll be enough of an outrage for an investigation and things will get interesting....

Anonymous said...

The gofudme site Appy kindly provides in the email thread ( shows that she donated $50 in January. Hence, she had a financial stake when she voted against withdrawing the failed proposal. In the Trump era, conflicts of interest for all!

Anonymous said...

Nice job getting the un-redacted material, Larry.

Kill 'em.