Filed on May 23, 2012Below is the entire email chain that now exists in our efforts to get the Goffstown School District to explain its legal basis for everything it is doing with respect to the approval of administrator contracts to addressing the growing problems at the Mountain View Middle School. The people have a right to expect that their elected and appointed officials are acting in accordance with the law to provide complete and proper transparency in the interest of accountability. Moreover, they have a duty to provide requested information to any citizen to ensure that the public’s interest is safeguarded and advanced. That repeated requests by Girard at Large, a media organization, have had to be made in pursuit of this information is troubling. Rest assured, we will keep on top of this situation until all questions, including those we are waiting to ask, are properly answered. This is far from over…
——– Original Message ——–
Subject: [FWD: RE: 91-A Request]
Date: Wed, May 23, 2012 10:31 am
To: “Stacy Buckley”
Cc: [email protected], “Dian McCarthy”
Please be advised that I consider the email below, my response to your reply to our Right to Know request, to be part of my original Right to Know request. Inasmuch as you have not even acknowledged receipt of this follow up email, I thought I’d pay you the courtesy of letting you know it was intended to be answered under the Right to Know statute.
Also under this request, please provide the specific budget line item that enables the expenditure of funds on this proposed consultant study.
Further, my review of the minutes of the May 7th meeting leads me to conclude that the school board entered non-public session without the required recorded roll call vote, as required by the law. Moreover, the agenda for that meeting, while referencing that law, did not specify for what purpose the non-public session was called. The law requires the minutes of the non-public session to be published within 72 hours unless, by recorded roll call vote of 2/3 of the board, the minutes are sealed. Were they sealed? If so, where is the roll call vote published? If no, where are the minutes.
Finally, the “motion to affirm the votes taken in non-public session” hardly comports with my understanding of how votes, especially on contracts, are supposed to proceed. In my decade of service as either an appointed or elected official in Manchester, I can’t think of an instance when the specific reason for entering a non-public session was not given or a publicly made motion regarding the specifically agreed to action of the board wasn’t made upon reentering public session. Regardless, given the condemnation of your chairman of the supposed leak of “non-public” information following the non-public session in question, I wonder if you folks wouldn’t mind answering this question: By what legal authority does the board or administration believe that publicly ratified contracts may remain hidden from the public?
This is submitted under the auspices of the Right to Know law. Your prompt attention is requested, as required by the law.
——– Original Message ——–
Subject: RE: 91-A Request
From: <[email protected]>
Date: Fri, May 18, 2012 2:32 pm
To: “Stacy Buckley” <[email protected]>
Cc: “[email protected]” <[email protected]>, “Dian McCarthy”
So I am clear, I offer the following summary:
1) You are speaking on behalf of Dian McCarthy as to whether or not she has had any communicaitons between yourself AND other members of the board, district staff, or potential vendors, including her employer. You are stating that you are “not aware” of any correspondences she has had regarding this matter. Three questions: How can you speak for her? Why are you speaking for her? Are you certain that she has received no correspondence regarding this matter? (Note, I am in possession of at least one correspondence she was copied on with respect to this matter, so kindly be thorough in your review.)
2) In my request, I attached the relevant page of the meeting minutes from 4/16/12. Again, to clairify what you’ve written: There was NO RFP for these services provided to the board for review and authorization and NO vote taken to issue an RFP. Note: In a prior email, Dian McCarthy said that the board was only discussing the merits of moving ahead with a study and had not yet decided to do so. This seems at odds with your representation and she has yet to respond to our request for clarification. It is important to gain clarity here as the board’s Conflict of Interest policy clearly prohibts her participation in these discussions, not merely her vote on awarding the contract.
3) You have provided neither the RFP (which apparently does not exist) nor the information used to privately solicit bids for this service. By what criterion have you solicited bids and by what criterion will the bids be awarded? Absent any approved and published guidelines, how will it be possible to compare the proposals objectively? If that criterion exists, please forward it.
Your cooperation in this matter is appreciated.
——– Original Message ——–
Subject: RE: 91-A Request
From: “Stacy Buckley” <[email protected]>
Date: Fri, May 18, 2012 11:23 am
To: “[email protected]” <[email protected]>
Cc: “[email protected]” <[email protected]>, “Dian McCarthy“
As I stated in my message to you, it has been an extremely busy week and I have not been in the office to take your phone calls. I have responded to your request below. In addition, I have added a response to your request to Dian McCarthy as outlined in your email below that I have pasted to this email.
Your request to Dian in an email dated May 16, 2012 at 4:18:
Because of this and because I’ve yet to receive a reply to my last email or to several phone calls, I believe I have no other choice than to request that you provide any and all communications you’ve had with any school district personnel or fellow board members regarding the solicitation of bids for an RFP that doesn’t appear to have been proposed by the administration, approved by the board, or posted to the public.
> This request is made under New Hampshire RSA 91-A, the Right to Know Law. I am not aware of any correspondences between Dian and Stacy or board members regarding the MVMS study and the solicitation of bids.
In an attempt to locate a Request for Proposal for the consulting services sought for Mountain View Middle School, I reviewed the attached minutes of the Goffstown School Board’s meetings. I have also searched the district’s Web site in search of an RFP. And, as you know, I’ve left two messages for you in the past two days without a return call. As a result, I am sending this Right to Know request under New Hampshire RSA 91-A for the following information:
1) An action of the School Board approving and authorizing the RFP which was apparently used to solicit bids from the three companies listed in the attached minutes. The School Board discussed the proposal at their meeting of 4/16/12. Minutes can be found on the Goffstown school district website. If you would like a hard copy of those minutes, please let me know and we can make them available. A consensus of the board was ascertained in moving forward with the study at that meeting. Phone discussions and proposals were offered by the companies in order to gain a better understanding of the depth and possibility, along with cost, of this project.
After this board meeting, the administration met with a variety of vendors to ascertain the level of ability of organizations to do this study, obtain more accurate cost estimates, and gain a better understanding of the proposal moving forward.
2) A complete list of any and all public notices posted to advertise this RFP for public consumption. There were no public notices posted.
3) A complete list, including any and all communications, of companies directly solicited for consulting services involving Mountain View Middle School, as noted in the attached minutes. As noted, Consulting Partners Inc., West Ed, and SERESC were spoken with regarding the process. Their proposals are not public documents at this time- they are exempt from a 91-a request based on paragraph IV.
4) Any and all communication between you and members of the school board, especially Dian McCarthy, regarding the solicitation of these consulting services. There have been no communications outside of the board meeting regarding any specific solicitations with any potential vendors.
Note well:The absence of a formal RFP, approval to develop or authorization to issue does not render null or void the requested information. It does, however, necessitate that you provide whatever information used to solicit services, advertise that the services were being sought, and the timeline in which they were to be submitted.
RSA 91-A:4 in section IV states, in part: Each public body or agency shall, upon request for any governmental record reasonably described, make available for inspection and copying any such governmental record within its files when such records are immediately available for such release. If a public body or agency is unable to make a governmental record available for immediate inspection and copying, it shall, within 5 business days of request, make such record available, deny the request in writing with reasons, or furnish written acknowledgment of the receipt of the request and a statement of the time reasonably necessary to determine whether the request shall be granted or denied.
This material may either be emailed to me at this address or may be faxed to 1-866-491-2003 as per the section of the law stated above. Of course, I will gladly discuss my investigation with you, either on air or off. My cell is 674-0392.
Thank you for your attention to this matter and please know that I’d rather it not have come to a RTK request.
Very truly yours,
Richard H. Girard