Collusion Trumped Ethics Once Again As School Committee Members Were Denied Access to Last Night's Teacher Contract Mediation Meeting with the Mayor at Warwick City Hall
There was a School Committee (SC) meeting scheduled for this morning at 7:15 am (that was cancelled). By Law, the meeting had to be filed with the RI Secretary of State's (SOS) Office. The SC agenda is attached below. As you can see, the entire five (5) member School Committee would have met and immediately gone into executive session. In private (non public) executive session, the SC would have discussed contract negotiations, mediation, interest arbitration...and by law, AT LEAST THE MAJORITY SC WOULD NEED TO BE PRESENT.
What is most interesting to note is that the special mediation meeting held with the Mayor at City Hall last night, was not filed with the Secretary of State's (SOS) office, as was the official SC meeting scheduled for this morning. This means that to avoid the laws of the state's Open Meetings Act (OMA), only TWO (2) SC members could have attended last night's mediation session with the Mayor, mediator, School Admin and the WTU. The reason being is, you can't have the majority/quorum -in this case (3 out of 5) SC members- at a private, non SOS advertised meeting.
Warwick Watch has learned that a member of the SC who wanted to attend last night's mediation meeting was told they could not attend because it would be an OMA violation.
If the Mayor and others involved with the mediation meeting had agreed that the entire SC could attend, all they had to do was follow proper OMA notice procedures, as did the SC when filing their 7:15 am meeting notice with the SOS's office.
Why would the Superintendent, the Mayor, Chairwoman Furtado and the WTU want to exclude the entire School Committee?
Could it be that any of the other three (3) SC members would have:
a.) first demanded an arbitration report be released
b.) delayed the mediation procedure until after the arbitrator's report was released?
The bottom line is, this all appears to be highly suspicious and also severely flawed procedurally. Was it intentional? Knowing how this City operates, the answer is -yes.
It's Warwick Watch's best educated guess --based on all the gathered information-- that collusion made it's way into this last Teacher contract mediation process.
Warwick Watch is calling on the three (3) School Committee members to publicly come out and make a statement and clarify whether or not they did NOT want to be part of this last Teacher contact mediation meeting, especially with so much at stake.
Were the other three (3) School Committee members intentionally taken advantage of and manipulated? Who made THAT decision? They should be FIRED!
Any SC member who knowingly and intentionally did not want to be at the mediation meeting should resign immediately!
Any member of the current school department administration and/or legal advisor to the Schools who told a SC member who wanted to attend the mediation meeting that they couldn't, should also be fired immediately.
Last night's mediation meeting attendees had to have been consciously aware of what was taking place.They had to have known if there were more than two (2) School Committee members present, they would have been in violation of the state's OMA.
To anyone who comes back and claims two (2) SC members were part of an agreed upon "negotiation team," the fact is, other SC members wanted to be there, but they were purposely denied.
No wonder why this was such an overnight miraculous "tentative" agreement success!
No arbitration report.
Intentionally excluding taxpayer and student conscious School Committee members.
Shenanigans once again...
TAXPAYERS SHOULD BE OUTRAGED AND DEMAND FULL ACCOUNTABILITY AND TRANSPARENCY BECAUSE YOU PAY FOR IT!!!!!
THIS "TENTATIVE" AGREEMENT NEEDS TO BE SCRAPPED AND ALL SCHOOL COMMITTEE MEMBERS MUST BE PART OF THE NEGOTIATION PROCESS-- AS THEY WERE ELECTED TO DO SO!