Strong Evidence that an Open Meetings Violation Occurred Nov 20th

In my post yesterday I outlined how it appeared that the Board was likely to commit a violation of the Open Meetings Act when they went into a closed session to review resumes for the Township Superintendent position.  I had planned to speak during ‘citizens comments’ prior to the closed session to try to prevent this from happening by reminding them that The Open Meetings Act  says that:

 “it is permissible to go into closed session To review and consider the contents of an application for employment or appointment to a public office if the candidate requests that the application remain confidential.”

Unfortunately they had changed the agenda so that citizens comments were not allowed before the closed session.  During the rest of the open meeting an audience member commented the Board had received 30 resumes. Treasurer Langois said they had reviewed “many many” resumes in the closed session.  I took the opportunity to give them a “heads-up” about the potential problem during citizens comments near the end of the meeting.

Note that Supervisor Gonser replied “The resumes requested confidentiality under the law.”  I asked if every one requested confidentiality and he replied “I’m not going to say every one because I can’t speak to that.”.

Now the Board understands that  if one or more oversights did occur they have the simple remedy of re-doing their reviews of any resume where the applicant did not request that their application remain confidential in open session.   I hope that they will double check their records and, if they made any mistakes,  they admit them and correct them.

This is not trivial. This part of the Open Meetings Act was enacted so that we could know what our government is doing.  Our Board of Trustees is already facing two legal actions that allege violations of this Michigan statute and they need to  act accordingly

Jim Foulkrod

One thought on “Strong Evidence that an Open Meetings Violation Occurred Nov 20th

  1. richardjmichalski

    During one of the breaks in the December 7th Special Board meeting held to interview the 6 finalists for the Superintendent position, I asked Jerry Richards, the consultant from Voorhees Associates, how many candidates responded to the job posting. He indicated that there were 36. I then asked who selected the final 6. He indicated that the Board made that selection. At that same meeting, Supervisor Gonser complemented the consultant and the Board for having made the 6 finalist selections, since “there were no losers”. We will never know if ALL 36 candidates asked that the review of their response to the position was to remain confidential, as required in order for that preliminary selection to have taken place in Closed Session. In my opinion, it is highly unlikely that all 36 had done so, and therefore the Board probably violated the Open Meetings Act once again by having that preliminary selection process occur in Closed Session.

    Reply

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