Home Forums Live Blog Forum Special Manchester School Board on January 20, 2016

This topic contains 28 replies, has 1 voice, and was last updated by  Melanie Friese 3 years, 4 months ago.

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  • #39165

    Melanie Friese
    Keymaster

    There is a special meeting of the Board of School Committee tonight. You can find the agenda at this link: https://drive.google.com/folderview?id=0B6cNHOSIYKNZTERoLWNiclRfWjg&usp=sharing

    Manchester Public TV will be recording this meeting and uploading the video onto their site at a later date (most likely by Friday, January 22.

    This should be a short meeting discussing board rules and responsibilities with a presentation by Lawyer Matthew Upton.

    #39167

    Melanie Friese
    Keymaster

    Meeting has begun. Committee Member John Avard (Ward 10) is the only school board member absent.

    #39168

    Melanie Friese
    Keymaster

    The presentation is beginning on the School Board’s role in personnel matters. The Board elects employees only after the Superintendent nominates applicants.

    Adopt policies for discrimination and harassment.

    Must sit in on teacher dismissals.

    Must hear grievances and appeals.

    Must hear appeals of tenured teachers.

    (All from Mr. Upton & his presentation)

    #39169

    Melanie Friese
    Keymaster

    The presentation is beginning on the School Board’s role in personnel matters. The Board elects employees only after the Superintendent nominates applicants.

    Adopt policies for discrimination and harassment.

    Must sit in on teacher dismissals.

    Must hear grievances and appeals.

    Must hear appeals of tenured teachers.

    (All from Mr. Upton & his presentation)

    #39170

    Melanie Friese
    Keymaster

    School Board’s role in discipline process. Three areas:

    1. Superintendent issues – supervision, evaluating, and disciplining
    2. Potential dismissal of teachers only on grounds of: immorality, failure to maintain competency standards, and failure to follow rules
    3. Hearing Grievances

    You cannot have bias, conflict of interest, or have a previous judgement on an employee. When you’re sitting for these hearings, you are acting like a jury, so members should not be talking to either party – union or superintendent. (Besides talking about scheduling for meeting – do not talk about the particulars of a case.) No ex parte communications.

    #39171

    Melanie Friese
    Keymaster

    Avoiding prejudgments

    – Take complaints from constituents and call superintendent and ask her to look into it – let their office do investigations. These are all complaints that do not relate to the superintendent. If it is about the superintendent, then call the mayor. Anything else should go to the Superintendent’s Office. Do not conduct your own investigations/inquiries.

    Also, do not call other board members about the complaints. Even if it hits the newspaper. People may call you up, the press, about what’s been reported in the newspaper, you could easily find yourself making judgments (like that person should lose their job…) This is a prejudgment and would have a record in the paper saying so. You should decline comment.

    These communications would force you to not sit in on the hearing.

    #39172

    Melanie Friese
    Keymaster

    The Superintendent can fill board members in on what is going on, but do not ask for more details from them. They will tell you what they can. Be very careful what info you are requesting from the superintendent.

    Girard: How far can the superintendent go when explaining what is being investigated? Can she say we’ve spoken to A, B, C, D and this is where it’s going?

    Upton: She can tell that info in a non-public – saying the investigator has been looking into and we hope to have a report soon. They cannot go to public and the superintendent has to be careful not to give information that would create a bias for the board member.

    I would be hesitant to have the superintendent say whether or not the police is persecuting – usually the police will share more and they release it. My recommendation is no comment because this is a personnel matter.

    Beaudry: the frustration is when we read things in the paper that we are not even aware of yet. we;ve had personnel on paid administrative leave and we don’t even know about it. we should be at least told that we a person on paid administrative leave. we should know what is happening to our personnel before the public knows about it.

    Upton: Some of that info can be shared as long as it does not give the board members any prejudgments. Sometimes there is a delay when it comes to law enforcement. Criminal cases are the most difficult.

    #39173

    Melanie Friese
    Keymaster

    When it’s inside of the school, it’s a lot easier because we have access to the witnesses and others. With the police, we might not find out about it for months. Sometimes we don’t even know about it until it comes out through the media. It’s not always the lack of diligence from the admin side, sometimes it’s the police not getting us that info quickly.

    #39174

    Melanie Friese
    Keymaster

    ACTUAL BIAS:

    Case example – Appeal of Hopkinton School District, 151 NH 478 (2004) prohibits a Board member from sitting on a matter where actual bias or prejudice has developed.

    Actual bias not defined as:
    NOT BIAS – complaint or evidence, general familiarity from newspaper, pre-hearing process – notification of a proceeding investigation, grievances or prior disciplinary conduct.

    Try to keep an open mind, and try to stay out of it until you know it’s not coming to the board.

    #39175

    Melanie Friese
    Keymaster

    Conflict of interest. For discipline cases, if your involvement was biased or had a conflict of interest then it could invalidate the ENTIRE vote of the board.

    Everything I’m telling you doesn’t cost money to the public. Just takes time.

    AVOID – personal or professional relationship, financial interest in the outcome (not common), any other interests that directly or indirectly influences the performance of your duties and ANYTHING that influences HOW you VOTE – avoid voting.

    #39176

    Melanie Friese
    Keymaster

    What is a financial interest? if you approve a paving contract, and if one of the roads is where your house is, you may have an interest on that being done.

    It has to be a large enough amount to benefit board members.

    Example of NOT financial interest – an auto program to help car repair and you have a car in need of repair. that’s okay because every resident in Manchester would benefit.

    You probably will never have this in a discipline hearing – unless family.

    #39177

    Melanie Friese
    Keymaster

    Ex parte communications

    Just don’t talk about the case with other members of the board.
    Due process.

    Process is cheap, back pay is not. BEFORE you close a hearing ask ALL of the questions you need to avoid any due process. If you talk about that info outside of the hearing and is found out, then the case may be jeopardized. Without involvement of union and or the full board. If jeopardized you’d have to pay the money to do it again.

    Girard – you keep mentioning back pay – how many cases without pay?

    Upton – we can give an unpaid suspension since the Board has expressed displeasure with administrative leave pay. From your vote on there is no pay, but if there is a conflict of interest, then they get pay from the day of the vote to the next hearing. It takes about 90 days to get a date for the arbitration. You are paying 90 days worth of back pay.

    #39178

    Melanie Friese
    Keymaster

    Again “Process is cheap, back pay is not.” – He really likes this quote of his.

    #39179

    Melanie Friese
    Keymaster

    If you have an entire weekend to look out case without seeing the union’s side of the story, you may make prejudgments on the case.

    Beaudry – the concern is at the hearing when we get two inches of paperwork and trying to hear the testimony at the same time. We should get that early enough so we can look at the information and prepare some questions. Listening and reading at the same time.

    Upton – you should ask for a moment to read it . if the union insists upon it coming in at the time of the hearing because of fear of prejudgment, I don’t have control over that.

    Girard – does this happen with judges?

    Upton – sometimes
    Ambrogi – but the judge doesn’t have to make a decision like we do right away.

    Upton – it would be within your rights to ask for a day to review it. You could ask the union if they would prefer disclosing all information on Wed (both sides) OR they would risk board members taking it home.

    Georges – sometimes I don’t understand the material and I don’t want to vote if I don’t understand.

    Upton – You should speak up and raise your hand and say that it is too much information and you want the time to review it and read it.

    Girard – Collective bargaining agreement allows how much time to make a decision after a hearing?

    Upton – ten school days maybe

    #39180

    Melanie Friese
    Keymaster

    Beaudry to Girard- sometimes the admins have already been on leave for months before we even get to the hearing and if we wait to make a decision, they get paid for that time.

    Upton – we are sensitive to the paid issue. For criminal, as soon as we know they’ve been prosecuted or arrested, we stop paying them. (I didn’t catch all of this exactly but something like this – Melanie)

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