Acton Forum files open meeting law complaint

Acton Forum has filed an Open Meeting Law complaint with the School Committee (SC) because the school has refused to release the Executive Session (ES) minutes from two meetings in which the Committee and Superintendent Glenn Brand decided to part ways.

The complaint can be viewed here: http://www.actonforum.com/sites/default/files/OML_062617.pdf.

The SC did release the open version of the minutes, which are available for the two meetings here: http://www.actonforum.com/sites/default/files/04-26-17_ DRAFT_OPEN_ SC.pdf and http://www.actonforum.com/sites/default/files/05-02-17_DRAFT_OPEN_SC.pdf.

From the open meeting minutes, you can tell that each ES lasted four or five hours. These are very long meetings, which raises the danger that other topics which should be discussed in open (public) session may have been discussed behind closed doors.

In the public statement announcing Superintendent Brand's resignation, it mentioned that "educational and operational philosophies" were not aligned between the SC and Brand. Yet no one in the community seems to be aware of these differences which were so severe that Brand had to leave with only six weeks' notice, despite having a contract that lasted for another 13 months. If these philosophical differences existed, why weren't they discussed in open session so the public could be aware of them and offer their opinion? At the very least, one would think members of the SC would want some public feedback when differences of such magnitude were discovered before negotiating Brand's resignation. (For a copy of the joint statement released by the SC and Brand, and a second statement by the SC, click here: http://www.actonforum.com/sites/default/files/SC_Statements.pdf).

For a copy of the Separation Agreement signed by Glenn Brand and the SC, click here: http://www.actonforum.com/sites/default/files/BRAND_Separation_5-17-17.pdf.

Having discussions in private that are not expressly allowed as exemptions to having them in public are serious violations of the Open Meeting Law, violations that would require very stiff penalties. Knowingly violating the Open Meeting Law, after having been warned by the AG's office about a prior violation within the past couple of years, should be of serious concern not only to members of the communities of Acton and Boxborough but to state regulators and the Attorney General's office.

The School has some time to respond to the complaint filed, and Acton Forum will update readers when more information is received.

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