Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Having It Both Ways

Ken O’Brien

Late in tonight’s meeting School Committee member Erin Quinney added an item to the agenda.

She sought to amend the existing School Committee Policy by placing the call to order of the meeting at the start of the meeting.

She explained that as a result of circumstances that arose at the November 12th meeting she had contacted the Attorney General’s Office to seek clarification as to when the Committee’s meeting was considered to be in order. Through a rather tortured explanation she ended up expressing the view that, even though the call to order followed Public Input, the meeting was actually in order as soon as the committee assembled on the dais. 

Nevertheless, she opined that it was wise to put the Call To Order at the outset of the meeting. So she introduced a motion to amend the Policy Manual to reflect this opinion.

Committee member Olivo asked if this would alleviate the problem from the November 12th meeting. Chairman McLoughlin quickly corrected him that it was a “perceived problem”.

In the course of discussion Dr. Page expressed the view that, while Ms. Quinney had done some research, he would like to dig a little deeper and have a better understanding of the implications of such a change as well as the practice of other districts.

Brent Abrahamson pointed out that there was a motion with a second on the floor. The Chairman agreed and called the vote which came out five to two with only Quinney and Abrahamson in favor. The chair indicated that the matter would be revisited on December 9th.

With regard to all of this, I would make two observations. First, you can’t have it both ways. When she was Superintendent, Dr. Dale Hanley wanted Public Input held prior to the meeting being called to order. Her desire was sustained and there it has remained. Since then the public has been told that Public Input was not part of the meeting. You can’t now decide that it is part of the meeting without changing when the meeting is called to order.

The second point, however, is far more damning. A motion was made, seconded and voted upon to move the Call To Order to the beginning of the meeting. That motion was defeated. As such, as much as the chair might wish otherwise, it cannot be brought to the floor again in essentially the same form until a new school committee is seated following the June elections.  Nor can it be reconsidered insofar as that would have to be done at the same meeting where it was defeated.

But, as with so many other cases, since when do the rules matter?


16 comments:

  1. "Perceived problem"? Admit that you were wrong for once in your life Lauren.

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  2. Looks like you didn't realize that you were shooting yourself in the foot by insisting on a vote, did it Brent?

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  3. Isn't that kinda what the girls did when thay went too seperate schools when they became skool commitee member?

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  4. Don't you love when dumb people try to took smart?

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  5. I am constantly amazed at the arrogance, the overweening hubris, of these people. They're newbies by any stretch of the imagination and yet they insist on pretending to be all-knowing. They have re-written the Policy Manual to suit their whims, all the while rushing through the changes with little regard for the public's knowledge or awareness of what they are doing. Once we succeed in getting rid of these "trolls" we'll be years just sorting out the mess they've made.

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  6. At both this meeting and at the last Town Council meeting there were votes on matters that were not on either Agenda

    Someone even criticised Councilor Manna for trying to make a motion off the Agenda on the 17th, yet Quinney made an off Agenda motion anyway?

    Our Leaders do whatever they want without regard for the law. Or has that law changed?

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    Replies
    1. Someone voted for your "leaders.". How that "changey" thing work out for our youth?
      Way to go Southbridge Education Association!

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  7. Quinney & Congdon ?November 26, 2014 at 5:15 PM

    Seriously, How dumb is Erin Quinney?

    Why is Jill Congdon so aligned with her?

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  8. Pal of SEA
    The days of teachers living and voting in Southbridge are long over and many of the teachers who still live here are supporters of the former school committee.
    The voters of Southbridge elected the current committee because they promised to make changes. They promised open communication especially in who they hired and fired. Instead of improving these things they made them worse. The last Committee was NOT open but this Committee is worse. We need a totally new group of people who will work in the open for Southbridge students

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  9. I'd be happy with people with some common sense! That is what Jovan, Lazo and Bishop had to run a school and school committee that made some sound decisions.

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  10. Just because someone gets elected, it does not mean they get to break the open meeting law. In Southbridge it is the cost of doing dirty government business.

    I did not vote for the change candidates- nor a one of them . the offenders on the Council, Clemence and Manna, were the biggest bobblehead promoters and are as guilty for the condition of the schools bc of their support.

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  11. They may not be able to introduce the same motion again or reconsider it, but they can still rescind the vote. By making it as though it never happened the motion could then be introduced again.

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    Replies
    1. Not true. The motion to rescind is also called the motion to Amend Something Previously Adopted. It can only be applied to the adoption of an action having continuing force and effect. The vote to defeat the motion cited above resulted in its not being adopted. Therefore, it cannot be rescinded.

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  12. Not only does the call to order of the meeting follow Public Input, so does the determination of a quorum. Note that the Roll Call follows the call to order. There is absolutely no basis for maintaining that Public Input is governed by the school committee's policy manual. Further, the issue of changing the format is now dead as a result of the committee's vote on Abrahamson's motion. Any other action would be just a further example of this committee's conviction to do whatever it pleases, regardless of proper process.

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  13. So Mr Abrahamson had no problem with going to the podium and chastising the School Committee several years ago when he didn't like things, or even yelling from the audience with his point of order...not easy being on the other side is it!!!

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    Replies
    1. We Are Taking on Water $$$$$December 1, 2014 at 8:45 PM

      A fool is a fool. You can dress him up, elect him to office, but a fool is still a fool!

      Who voted for him? No one I talk to, kinda like the same folks who recently didn't vote for McLoughlin and Donovan.
      Severe cases of voter remorse!
      Jovan and comp looking pretty good now. But wait to the budget shortfall comes out. Taxpayers of Southbridge get ready to take another &%%$@. Thanks to Buzz and the Bobbleheads!

      Delete

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