Welcome To The New Real School Police

Welcome To The New Real School Police

My newest blog, since I have more time on my hands now!!!

The Godley Files


The complete P.O.S.T record of Bob Godley. The former cop that thinks the whole county owes him an apology for his bad behavior.

There is a new blogger in town, who is also upset with this school system. Thank you Paul for standing up for what is right, and not backing down to the ESTABLISHMENT.

Camden County Schools The Truth


Please visit my other blogs:

Who Killed Racheyl Brinson


And don't forget the Dennis Perry trial transcript also:

Remember Dennis is the one framed by former Sheriff Bill Smith and his lying so called detective Dale Bundy.


Friday, March 09, 2007

Public Criticism of Personnel?
Bill Stemmons
as published in the Journal of the American Institute of Parliamentarians, April 1998
©1998 American Institute of Parliamentarians - Republished by permission.

Many school boards and other public bodies are uncertain how to receive comments from the general public concerning their personnel. Under open meetings laws in many states, public bodies generally may not consider anything not on an advance agenda. Many also believe all personnel matters must be discussed in closed sessions. What if a member of the public makes comments before a board critical of personnel? Can a brief response be given? Should they silence the speaker or insist it be discussed in a future closed session?
A member of the public has a right of free speech in an open forum, which a public body creates by inviting public comments. But don't public employees have a right to privacy in personnel affairs? A look around the U.S. shows the issue of public criticism of personnel in open meetings has become a widespread controversy.
George Dunham, Trustee for the Chicago suburb of Schaumberg, says their Board is like most public bodies: "Public comment time is not required, but the people expect it." Their Board also hosts monthly informal coffees entirely devoted to public input. "The whole point," Dunham says, "is to make it easier for people, not harder."
Victoria Baca attempted to criticize a superintendent and principal at a May 1996 Moreno Valley, California School Board meeting. The Hispanic activist, former school board candidate, and parent was warned that she could not mention employees by name except in a closed session. When she continued, she was physically removed from the meeting by a deputy sheriff.
In California, public comment time is required by law. A federal court held that in such a public forum, Baca's constitutionally-protected right of free speech prevailed against a prior restraint on content, and over any privacy or liberty interest of a public employee. The Court ruled that comments may be limited to subject matter under the jurisdiction of the Board, but the Board may not then limit the content of views expressed.
The Court held that as an employer, the District had an interest in protecting employee privacy. But the District had a compelling state interest in its role as a governmental entity required to allow public comment in its meetings. Employees' rights were outweighed by the First Amendment guarantee of uncensored free speech.
In February 1997, San Diego Vista School District residents Margaret O'Neill and Nancy Leventhal were cut off while attempting to question the performance of the District's Superintendent. Board President David Hubbard stopped both women and threatened to close the meeting if public criticism persisted.
When the ACLU filed suit on behalf of O'Neill and Leventhal, the Vista Board paid a settlement and attorney's fees. Plaintiffs' attorney Guylyn Cummins commented, "I found it extremely egregious that the Board would not allow criticism of public employees -- especially high ranking employees like the Superintendent of a public school system -- at public school board meetings by parents and other concerned citizens."
"At one point, the criticism ban was invoked as to elected Board members as well," Cummins explained. "The Board essentially said that concerned citizens could make laudatory or neutral comments, but could not criticize. The Court found it to be a content-based, viewpoint-discriminatory ban on speech which could not survive constitutional scrutiny."
Cummins added, "There is no principle more basic to our constitutional democracy than the right of citizens to confront their elected officials in a public forum and comment on their performance."
Shortly after free speech was ordered by the Court, the Vista Superintendent resigned amidst substantial controversy.
Activist Joan Coe of Simsbury, Connecticut, has been described by the Hartford Courant as a "gadfly."1 But her attorney praises her as a "public-spirited citizen," and one board member calls her "an asset and a tireless investigator who helps keep the concept of an open forum alive."
The former city employee and substitute teacher has already filed two suits against the Simbury School Board -- for open records and free speech in board meetings. Coe says she was once arrested for "reading a public record before a public meeting of a public body." That incident involved reading drunken driving charges filed against a student.
On September 10, 1996, the Simsbury Board abruptly adjourned during Coe's criticism of the Superintendent. (The Board has since shelved a proposal to cut off public comments altogether.) When Coe sued, the Board offered to settle. Coe refused unless the Board agreed to maintain public comments on their agenda.
Far from setting any precedent, the federal judge praised Coe's efforts, and in ruling against Coe's petition simply said she should have tried harder to work things out with the Board before going to court.
"The Board wants a good image before the cameras to help property values in the District," Coe said. "They deter public participation which could actually benefit schools by making them more accountable."
In Fayette County, Georgia, The Citizen newspaper says Georgia's "Sunshine Laws" are in practice "more like suggestions."2 In December 1997, the Fayette County School Board allegedly violated the Open Meeting Law for the third time in one year by meeting in the home of the Board President without public notice.3 In Georgia, advance public notice of a meeting is required, but an agenda is not required until afterward.
Tyrone parent Joy Belyeu and other members of two concerned parents groups have recently clashed with the Fayette Board. After criticizing the Superintendent, Belyeu was required to finish her remarks in a closed session.
Georgia Press Association attorney Jim Ellington says it is a violation of Georgia's Open Meeting Act to silence a statement made in a public hearing, then separate the complaining party in a closed session.4
Schools attorney Sarah Murphy disagrees: "Board deliberations about disciplinary actions or employee evaluations should be considered in private to protect the rights of the employee."5 But does criticism by a member of the public constitute "board deliberation?"
Murphy says most school attorneys disagree with a July 1995 unofficial opinion from Georgia's Attorney General. That ruling stated, "A school board may not close to the public any meeting devoted to the airing of grievances about school personnel by interested members of the public." The ruling went on to say "evidence or argument presented to the board must be held in an open meeting," while "deliberation or discussion by the board" may be in closed session.
In Pennsylvania, two cases merit attention: When Bob Kircher demanded the resignation of a bankrupt board member, the Brentwood School Board had him removed by police. Meanwhile in Edgewood, the Woodland Hill Citizens for Quality Education complained about a board policy restricting public comment. Both Edgewood and Brentwood repealed their policies restricting public criticism of personnel after the ACLU threatened action. Pittsburg ACLU attorney Vic Walczak remarked, "Both defendants rolled over quite quickly after receiving our letters."
Without question this is a difficult issue. Personnel expect privacy and due process. Media representatives believe they should be able to hear citizen comments to public officials. Board members are reluctant to make any comments concerning items not on their agendas, even in response to criticism.
In many states open meetings laws require advance agenda. Under such requirements, officials responding to public comments may fear straying into illegal consideration of topics not on such agenda. Perhaps such laws could be amended to allow brief responses from officials. Under California's Brown Act, members of body or staff may briefly respond to statements, ask questions for clarification, make brief announcements, or make brief reports on their own activities. They may also refer items to staff or other resources for more information, request staff to report to the body at a subsequent meeting, or direct staff to place matters on future agenda.7

Reviewing the RED:
It speaks for itself. The board is holding illegal meeting and it needs to stop.

No comments:

Georgia Transparency Headlines

The Parents Have Declared War

The Parents Have Declared War

Get On The Open Government Band Wagon

"Honorable and righteous men do not fear the exercise of liberty."

Important Information

U.S. Attorney's Office in Savannah, Georgia.

Mr. James D. DurhamAssistant U. S. Attorney
100 Bull Street Suite 201
Savannah, Georgia 31401
912 652 4422

Office of the Attorney General Of Georgia
Attorney General, Thurbert Baker
Office of the Attorney General
40 Capitol Square,
SWAtlanta, Ga 30334
(404) 656-3300

Open Records Violations
Stephan Ritter

Report Bad Cops
Police Complaint Center
We put ourselves on the line in pursuit of equal justice

State Board of Pardons and Paroles
2 Martin Luther King, Jr. Drive,
SE Suite 458, Balcony Level, East Tower
Atlanta, Georgia 30334-4909
Telephone: (404) 657-9350

Office of the Governor,
Georgia State Capitol,
Atlanta, GA 30334
Office Phone: 404-656-1776

Please Call Judge Williams

Tell her to throw out the plea deal in the Perry case,

And grant him a new fair trial.


From the Blog:

Anonymous said...
I just spoke with a lady that had called Judge Williams number to ask for Dennis Perry's plea be thrown out and to grant him a new trial. Guess what? As soon as Dennis' name was mentioned, the secretary or whoever she was got very cold and told the lady she would have to send the judge a fax or write her a letter. AND THEN SHE WOULDN'T GIVE HER THE FAX NUMBER!! She was told she would have to write a letter..which the lady has done. Does that tell you there is something wrong with this case? You people in Camden County better wake up and smell the roses before you find yourself in the same position that Dennis is in. He isn't asking to be released. Just for a FAIR trial!!

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