Archive for the ‘BVSD open meetings’ Category

My Camera Editorial Advisory Board comment published on Aug. 9, 2008, in response to the Camera’s question: Two Louisville residents have lodged a complaint with the Boulder Valley school board alleging members violated the state’s open-meetings law by using e-mail to discuss public business in private.

On several occasions in the past year, three or more members of the seven-member school board exchanged e-mails discussing issues related to the demolition, reconstruction and proposed preservation of Louisville Middle School, according to documents disclosed through a request under the Colorado Open Records Act. What do you think of the complaint, and the board’s actions?

Ty Gee and John Leary of Louisville presented glaring examples of open meetings law violations in their formal complaint to the Boulder Valley School District. Definitely a quorum (three or more) of board members spoke about public issues in private. Gee and Leary stood up for all of us in their request the board “take remedial action” in the form of a policy in the hopes of stopping future violations.

Unfortunately, Helayne Jones, the board president, doesn’t get it. She denied any open meetings violations. She also seemed to remove any responsibility from herself or the district by saying the newer board members were involved in the e-mails in question. The only thing hopeful she said was her flip-flop comment that “people make mistakes, and the important thing is that we are taking steps.”

E-mail is not new technology. Long ago the district easily could have had a quick-start set of instructions to all board members signing up for e-mail on the district’s servers. Despite that, however, open records requests would not be able to uncover whether they were engaging in unlawful discussions on other e-mail accounts. An ethics statement and ethics training certainly should be part of the training the district says all board members will receive. Still, there is no way of knowing.

In the 1990s when I pioneered school board meetings on cable with my TV show, “Eye on the BVSD,” discussions of e-mail and phone use came up regarding open meetings. The topic is not new this year, nor is the situation. An excellent solution may very well be in new technologies that would include the public instantly like, say, a blog.

*This title was not part of the Camera publication.

Source: Daily Camera

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