Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Another meeting in secret for Brooks' eval

The agenda, link, has been posted for a special board meeting Thursday.  It reads in significant part;

Adjourn to Executive Session ... for the Purpose of Discussion of the Superintendent’s Evaluation (Action)
This will be the second meeting in which action has been taken on the Superintendent's evaluation and from which interest holders are banned.

Open government law allows the APS school board to do things it doesn't require them to do.  For example; the law allows them to publish agendas 24 hours and 1 minute before the meeting, it doesn't require them to to wait until the last minute.  If asked why they won't give a more reasonable 48 or 72 hours notice, they will not justify it, except to say what they're doing is "legal".

The law allows them to meet in secret to discuss very specific issues.  They are required to reveal what they intend to discuss "with reasonable specificity"; they do not.  They've made a deliberate decision to not record the meetings, so in truth, they could be talking about anything - including things they should be talking about in front of the people.

Some part of the truth about the spending of the people's resources, and the wielding of their power, is reasonably hidden from public knowledge.  It is the people who decide, through their representatives, what truth will and will not be shared with the people to whom it all fundamentally belongs.

The worst thing any politician or public servant can do, is anything they do in unnecessary secret, regardless of "legality".  The terms of public service are the prerogative of the people, not of the servants.  It's not up to petty politicians and bureaucrats to redact the record or their own public service.

Transparency is not allowed by the law, it is limited by the law; and the law alone.  In start contrast to their own behavior, is their requirement that students prove their own character by expecting from themselves, "more than the law requires, and less than the law allows".

In the absence of a good and ethical justification for every element of their secrecy, it fair to assume the secrecy serves their personal interests alone.

Such a blatant disregard of the spirit of open government laws is utterly unacceptable.

Salvation lies in electing four new board members, men and women unafraid of oversight, and unafraid of transparent accountability to the people they serve, to replace four who are.

That will be difficult with an establishment media unconcerned by secrecy unnecessary or otherwise.

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