The School Committee did not violate the state’s Open Meeting Law and was within its statutory right Jan. 20 to appoint James Jette as the district’s permanent superintendent of schools, an attorney told the board Feb. 3.
The committee sought attorney Joe Emerson’s guidance on a complaint filed by Pat Desmond, publisher of the Milton Times, on Jan. 21 that the posting on its agenda a day earlier violated the Open Meeting Law.
Emerson, during his virtual attendance at the Feb. 3 meeting, cited a precedent established in the hiring of a Southwick police chief. The particular complaint was that this western Massachusetts town’s Board of Selectmen appointed a new police chief despite the meeting agenda not specifically stating that a new chief would be named.
The agenda listed an update on the search for a new police chief. The state Attorney General’s office determined that “the appointment flowed out of the natural flow of discussion,” Emerson recalled. A date was not given of the particular Southwick matter.
That same flow of conversation, Emerson determined, referring to the Southwick case, was what happened in the School Committee’s Jan. 20 discussion of agenda item 5a, “Update on Superintendent Search Process,” which was part of the Chair’s Report.
Emerson also noted that Glenn Koocher, the executive director of the Massachusetts Association of School Committees, likely was citing or referring to the same precedent.
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