MoreThanTheCurve.com has been attempting to get to the bottom of what drove six of the nine members of the Colonial School Board (two incumbent members, and four just sworn in members) to approve a motion to amend the agenda during its reorganization meeting on December 4th.
The motion to amend, made by Eunice Franklin-Becker and seconded by Rosemary Northcutt (both sworn in minutes earlier), was approved by a vote of 6-3. Next a motion was made to instruct the Superintendent to produce a RFP (return for proposal) for the appointed position of Solicitor. The motion provided about 15 hours (most overnight) for the members of the school board to provide questions to be considered for the RFP and one business day for the Superintendent to issue it. This also passed 6-3.
Responses to the RFP for those interested in the appointment were due on December 11th. A special meeting was to be held on December 13th to consider the proposals, but that has been moved to January 4th.
While changing a solicitor isn’t an unusual thing, there were complaints from three members of the school board (Cathy Peduzzi, Mel Brodsky and Susan Moore) on the process. The big issue that there was going to be an unofficial meeting of the school board off school property to interview potential candidates (which brings to light that there were discussions with certain law firms prior to the RFP being issued). That meeting didn’t happen. Then the motion to amend the agenda was a surprise to them.
During the public comment portion of the December 4th meeting, parents and students, spoke out against how it appeared the actions taken in regards to the potential change at solicitor lacked transparency. We have been attending public meetings for eight years, and we have never seen elected officials taken to task like this before. You can watch the video here (start at 20:00).
We have attempted to ask the four new members (Adam Schupak, Jennifer Dow, Eunice Franklin-Becker and Rosemary Northcutt) a few questions about this process. Adam Schupak replied that he forwarded the questions to Board President Felix Raimondo and that one of them would reply. Neither did. Jennifer Dow replied that we would receive a “reply shortly.” That didn’t happen. Apparently Franklin-Becker and Northcutt just ignored the inquiry all together. All inquiries included the detail that we were working on an article for Tuesday, December 12th. Schupak was emailed on December 9th and the others on the 10th.
Here are the questions:
- Did you run on changing the solicitor?
- Why is it important to make that the first action of the board?
- Who was the first person to bring the topic of changing the solicitor up with you?
- What was the setting?
- What was the reasoning for making the change?
- Who established the timeline on making the change?
- Were any potential candidates mentioned?
We asked Eunice Franklin-Becker, these additional question:
- You made the motion to amend the agenda and read a previously prepared motion regarding issuing a RFP to seek proposals for solicitor. Did you write this motion on your own? If not, did someone provide it to you? If so, who?
Pretty basic questions that all should know the answer to without having to consult the Board President.
Does the public deserve an answer to these questions?
Let us know what you think in the comments.