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?