UPDATE: OML Issues Still Unsettled
The School Committee's response to Open Meeting Law complaints about the superintendent's contract extension did not satisfy one of the complaintants, who has asked the Attorney General's Office to intervene.
In June, the School Committee received a pair of complaints alleging Open Meeting Law violations after a meeting at which the committee told an overflowing audience that it voted to extend the superintendent’s contract during an executive session a week earlier.
At the time, School Committee Chairwoman Mary Ann Stewart asked counsel to prepare a response, which concluded that neither the School Committee Counsel nor town Counsel believed the School Committee violated any Open Meeting Laws.
Apparently, that wasn’t good enough.
Eric Eid-Reiner, one of the complaintants, has filed with the Attorney General's Office an appeal of the School Committee's response to his Open Meeting Law Complaint.
According to Eid-Reiner and his complaint, he remains of the opinion that “the School Committee violated the spirit and letter of Massachusetts' Open Meeting Law, even if not intentionally,” in extending the contract of Superintendent Paul Ash.
The documents (posted in full to your right) indicate Eid-Reiner has withdrawn two of his original assertions based on the School Committee’s response, but believes minutes released by the School Committee actually strengthen his claims.
“While I believe they are well intentioned, the School Committee’s actions with regards to Open Meeting Law requirements … have led to a situation where the Town of Lexington has been ill served by an illegal and highly controversial vote,” wrote Eid-Reiner in the complaint.
Eid-Reiner ultimately calls on the AG’s office to nullify the vote to extend Ash’s contract, which he believes “violated both the letter and spirit of Massachusetts’ Open Meeting Law.”
The outstanding assertions that remain unsatisfied in Eid-Reiner’s complaint include:
-- That voting on Ash’s contract in executive session rather than at an open session of a public meeting violates guidelines set forth by Open Meeting Law
-- That the June 7 vote was coercive in that committee members were not free to vote as they saw fit, but rather were advised to vote as they had in the executive session on June 1
-- That the School Committee discussed salary and, likely, the superintendent’s job performance in executive session on multiple occasions.