Schools & School Committee
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please !

Ed and Liz, please don't just be rubbers stampers and do something to change the SC and MPS...Both have been in deep trouble for a very long time....our kids, schools and city's reputation all have been deeply harmed...I had hope for Jessica D. the last time around but she turned out to be a rhetorical jargon machine....I hope I didn't waste my votes again..Please show some courage and challenge the status quo....

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Ditto from me! Ed, Liz, we will all be watching you both closely!

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Also ditto. I hope they realize that won't work if they spend their terms with their faces up the Mayor's butt. They have an opportunity to initiate some meaningful change for the better. Only time will tell if they are up to the task, or or just they latest in the long line of butt kissing zero.

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How little things have changed in Melrose...
Get ready for many more legal problems with MD back as chair, acting as if she can do anything she wants with impunity and cloaking herself in unctuous prose....

By Jim Haddadin/Wicked Local Melrose

February 04. 2011 12:01AM
AG’s office probing complaint against Melrose School Committee

A complaint filed with the Massachusetts Attorney General’s Office this month by a former Melrose School Committee member against the current committee has prompted an investigation into alleged violations of the state’s open meeting law, a spokesman from the AG’s office told the Free Press this week.

A complaint filed with the Massachusetts Attorney General’s Office this month by a former Melrose School Committee member against the current committee has prompted an investigation into alleged violations of the state’s open meeting law, a spokesman from the AG’s office told the Free Press this week.

Melrose resident Maryan Hollis, who aired her concerns at a recent School Committee meeting, alleges that the School Committee violated state law in two ways last October.

First, Hollis claims that committee members reached an agreement to grant a new title and position to Patricia White-Lambright, an employee of the Melrose Public Schools, during an executive session meeting. Discussions that take place in executive session are private, unlike the bi-weekly meetings held by the School Committee, which are conducted in public.

The executive session in question took place on Tuesday, Oct. 12, 2010, and preceded a regular public meeting of the School Committee.

At the conclusion of the executive session meeting, School Committee members voted to add to their agenda for the public meeting an item authorizing a title and position change for White-Lambright, who was formerly Melrose’s administrator for Pupil Personnel Services. The School Committee voted to give White-Lambright the new position of assistant superintendent of Pupil Personnel Services during the meeting that followed.

The change did not include an increase in pay or benefits for White-Lambright, Melrose School Committee Chairwoman Margaret Driscoll told the Free Press this week.

However, according to a copy of the complaint Hollis filed on Jan. 3 with the AG’s office, she alleges that the School Committee, “violated the open meeting law by deliberating and coming to the decision to create and/or fill the position of assistant superintendent in secret rather than in public session.”

This week, the AG’s office provided the Free Press with 13 pages of documents related to Hollis’ complaint, after the paper submitted a public documents request relating to the complaint.

In what Hollis alleges is the committee’s second open meeting law violation, she claims that members failed to include on their agenda the creation of the new administrative position. State law compels public bodies, such as the Melrose School Committee, to post notice of all topics that are likely to be discussed during an upcoming public meeting, at least 48 hours before the meeting takes place.

The law does allow “emergency,” exceptions, however, including, “a sudden, generally unexpected occurrence or set of circumstances.”

Casey: ‘Committee … didn’t do anything wrong’

Hollis first brought her concerns about a possible violation of the state’s open meeting law to the attention of the School Committee in a complaint filed with the committee on Nov. 2, 2010.

On Nov. 10, 2010, Melrose Public Schools Superintendent Joseph Casey sent a letter to the AG’s office in response to Hollis’ complaint, a copy of which was sent to Hollis. In the letter, Casey denied the validity of Hollis’ complaint, and wrote that the discussion that took place in executive session was “limited to contract negotiations,” and that “the question whether to create and to fill the position of assistant superintendent was specifically left for the open meeting.”

The letter also addressed Hollis’ second complaint by replying that Driscoll, chairwoman of the committee, could not have “reasonably anticipated” that the title change would come up at the Oct. 12 meeting, and that state law does not restrict the School Committee from adding such items onto its agenda.

Speaking to the Free Press Tuesday, Casey said the School Committee, “didn’t do anything wrong.” He added that he welcomes members of the public who wish to raise concerns about the committee’s deliberative process to do so.

“If you want to ask the question, that’s fine,” Casey said. “We don’t feel that we did anything wrong in that regard, and that’s what we informed the AG’s office of.”

AG’s letter asks for School Committee’s records

On Jan. 7, a representative from the AG’s office sent a letter to committee chairwoman Driscoll. The letter stated that the AG’s office, which is vested with the authority to regulate open government violations, is conducting an investigation into Hollis’ complaint.

The letter also made the following request of the committee, asking for: copies of the minutes, whether in draft or final form, of the School Committee’s open and executive sessions on Oct. 12, 2010, or any other sessions where the committee discussed the creation of the position of assistant superintendent of pupil personnel services; a copy of the meeting notice posted for the public before the Oct. 12, 2010 School Committee meeting; and any written correspondences, including emails, between members of the School Committee regarding Patricia White-Lambright’s appointment to assistant superintendent of pupil personnel services, her contract, or her change in title.

The letter, signed by Jonathan Sclarsic, from the AG’s Division of Open Government, also indicates that members of the School Committee can expect to be contacted by telephone for brief phone interviews in connection with the complaint.

Driscoll declined to comment on any subsequent communications between the School Committee and the AG’s office when she was contacted by the Free Press this week.

“We don’t believe we have violated the law,” she said, “and we have responded to the complaint through the statutory procedure.”

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I got a great chuckle out of the prior post. You know things are going well when the have to cart out the old foolish complaints from the scorned MAH to make their case. Brilliant!
I was very pleased to see that the two incoming members along with MS. Duggan are impervious to the complete nonsense that is discussed on this board. I’m very much looking forward to the new year and the new SC under MD leadership.

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The SC did not think things were going well on election night when the Override went down by a landslide.

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Believe me, MFD is no more a RINO than I'm a DINO !!

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Swell. VuVu reemerges. Unfortunately VuVu still doesn't seem to understand the value of historical perspective. We'll see what VuVu has to say about Driscoll's lunatic rantings down the road. It should be interesting.

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I agree! Ditto and Kudos to the heroes of the Message Board! Now will someone tell me why you can't get a decent plate of fried clams in this boot box of a town?

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Melrose got rid of 300+ lb of waste