Dr. Debra Livingston

Livingston: Super secret items kept off meeting agendas?

05-27-2014 News

The Manchester Board of School Committee meets at City Hall tonight.  On the agenda is, um, well the Superintendent’s Report, but we have no idea what she or any member of her staff will be bringing forward to the board because it’s not on the agenda.  Then there’s board member communications, and that has become a free for all in recent meetings with board members using it, or the New Business item to spring items on the board and the public.  There are, let me see, six agenda items noting reports from subcommittees, “if available.”  The public participation item is there.  That’s good.  Oh, there is an item on the school calendar.  Looks like they’re proposing a traditional one hundred eighty day calendar instead of the hours calendar we had last year, you know the one that changed up the lunch periods a bit, gave a on hundred seventy five day school year and absorbed all those snow days without delaying the end of school?

The Chambers:  Meeting rooms are often full, meeting agendas are often not.

The Chambers: Meeting rooms are often full, School Board agendas are often not.

Yeah, that’s toast because the agreement with the union to do it expired and, well there’s no replacement contract.  What else?  Oh, creation of a special committee regarding the Office of Civil Rights report.  Interesting.  Maybe they’ll respond to our Right to Know Request looking for any and all written communication between the administration and members of the board prior to dropping the settlement on them in April during the Superintendent’s Report agenda item…Oh, look!  There’s a report from the Subcommittee on Finance recommending, again, that the price of a hot lunch go up a dime.  Looks like there’s a couple of coaching nominations, too.  Folks, here’s the point.  More and more, these agendas have place holder items that enable allow issues to be addressed without prior public notice.  There’s no reason for standing items on an agenda saying report of committee if available.  Committee reports should always be on an agenda, unless there is an unusual, maybe even extraordinary circumstance and the superintendent and her minions should at least itemize the areas they will be addressing with the board on the agenda prior to the meeting.  We’ll be discussing this this morning during the show.



In the meantime, don’t be surprised if Ward 10 School Board member John Avard tries to resuscitate the contract deal he and the disbanded Negotiations Committee put together before declaring impasse with the teachers union last fall.  In recent social media comments, Avard posted the deal and wondered if the teachers would consider a vote on that deal, which had some key differences with the proposal that was rejected by a two to one margin.  We’ll see what Manchester Education Association President Ben Dick has to say about that during his exclusive interview this morning.

News from our own backyard continues after this.

Testerman:  Hammers "Memorial Shame."

Testerman: Hammers “Memorial Shame.”

Yesterday, we received the requisite Memorial Day statements from folks running for office, among others.  While they all waxed eloquent about the sacrifice of soldiers in days gone by and offered prayers and well wishes for our troops now in harm’s way, the one from G O P U S Senate candidate Karen Testerman caught our attention.  Entitled “Memorial Shame,” Testerman urged citizens to go to the grave of a fallen soldier, say a prayer of thanks and see to it the site was attended to the site if it wasn’t in good condition.  She then unloaded writing quote:  “It seems to me that the best way we can honor those who gave their lives in service to our nation is to care for those who still remain with us after serving in our Armed Forces.  Many in Washington do not respect or honor our Veterans.  Prior Marines are slandered and called “domestic terrorists;” wounded veterans are suffering and dying as the care they need is withheld; a Marine rots in a Mexican jail for the crime of making a wrong turn, while illegal aliens are given food, shelter, and medical care at the front of the line on our soil.  Senator Harry Reid attacks veterans who stand with fellow Americans in defense of our rights, and not one sitting senator has stood up to denounce his disrespect.”  Testerman went on to urge her adherents to admonish incumbent senators Jeanne Shaheen and Kelly Ayotte asking them to write to them both with this message and I quote:  “We do not only need you laying wreaths to honor our dead. We need you to condemn the hate speech of Harry Reid, and to use the powers of your office to hold accountable those responsible for the shameful, deadly incompetence and dishonesty within the Veterans Administration.”  We’ve posted Testerman’s entire statement with this news read at Girard at Large dot com.

Declaration of IndependenceFrom Memorial Day to the Fourth of July, now.  The Merrimack Rotary Club has announced it’s added a chalk drawing contest for children and adults to its line up of events.  Merrimack’s Rotarians have, for years, sponsored all sorts of family programming to help the town celebrate Independence Day.  Also in their line up is a pancake breakfast, the parade and a whole bunch of activities that will take place between Noon and nine.  Despite having multiple food vendors, club and service organizations, non profits, children’s and teen entertainment, live stage events, a dunk tank, food contests, business vendors, crafts and gifts, specialty vendors, local bands, live demonstrations and more, they say they’re still looking for more volunteers, sponsors and vendors.  Sounds like a great day and if you’d like to meet a lot of folks from Merrimack, give’em a shout.  All the info you need is at merrimack 4th, that’s the number four t h, merrimack 4th dot com.