School Committee Responds to OML Complaints
The School Committee has responded to Open Meeting Law complaints from a pair of residents.
The School Committee has filed its response to two Open Meeting Law complaints with the Attorney General's Office, according to Chairwoman Mary Ann Stewart.
After the filing occurred yesterday afternoon, hard copies were sent to the complaints, as well as Schoool Committee members, the Town Clerk and Town Counsel, according to Stewart, who indicated the responses will be posted ot the Lexington Public Schools website later this week.
"Both School Committee Counsel and Town Counsel agree that the School Committee did not violate any Open Meeting Laws," Stewart wrote in the email.
The filing comes after the School Committee met Friday, June 24, to meet with town and school counsel to strategize the committee’s response to Open Meeting Law complaints and litigation filed by two residents. The committee was also scheduled to vote to release several sets of executive session minutes at the meeting.
The complaints -- filed by residents Eric Eid-Reiner and Dawn McKenna, a former selectwoman – allege Open Meeting Law violations related to a June 7 meeting at which the School Committee told an overflowing audience it voted to extend the superintendent’s contract in a June 1 executive session.
In a June 22 phone interview, Stewart told Patch she believed the committee’s responses would clarify many issues raised and could lead to improved communications between town government and the public.
“Frankly, I think our response will really clarify a lot that has happened,” said Stewart. “I think we need to think about how we engage the public in dialogue around all manner of issues in town. By and large, people are very thoughtful and they care a lot about what happens in the town.”
Eid-Reiner, a 22-year-old lifelong Lexingtonian, filed his complaint with the Town Clerk’s Office on Friday, June 10. McKenna publicly stated her concerns — about process, meeting minutes and exceeding capacity — during the School Committee’s June 7 meeting and officially filed a few days later.
In an email to Patch, Eid-Reiner said his complaint was about process, and that he wanted both personal and public responses from the School Committee, as well as a public vote on Ash's contract in which committee members are free to vote however they wish.
“In this case, my analysis found that the School Committee did not fully follow proper process as outlined in the Open Meeting Law with regards to Dr. Ash’s contract," Eid-Reiner wrote in the email. "There are certainly important issues like teacher morale that have come up in the discussion of Dr. Ash’s contract, but my goal in filing the complaint was to make sure that the vote on his contract and discussions surrounding it were all done properly, and to help ensure that such things will be handled appropriately in the future, too.”
Check back on Patch later this week. We'll have more as the story develops.