Monday, July 21, 2014

The APS Board is being less than honest about open meetings law

The APS School Board is meeting to find a way to further limit meaningful participation by stakeholders in the board's decision making process.

They make the following argument in support of their effort to duck inconvenient questions.

Your Constitutionally protected human right to petition your government by means of asking during public comment and public fora, legitimate questions about the public interests and or about their public service because;
The New Mexico Open Meetings Act prohibits open discussion amongst board members for any item not listed on the Board of Education Meeting agenda.
The actual wording of the NM Open Meetings Act, link, given enough legal weaselry can be made to mean that I suppose.

It is hard to believe that the intent of the law was to prohibit the people from standing up at a podium in a public meeting; asking questions, and then expecting their politicians and public servants to respond candidly, forthrightly and honestly.

The APS School Board has all the lawyers, guns and money they can use.  Their litigation budget is unlimited.

There is only self-oversight by the board over their spending on their own legal defenses' regardless of cost, regardless of (lack of) justification there for.  Their only other oversight is by underlings, though subordinate oversight is oxymoronic.

In short, they have the wherewithal and the will to litigate their way into proving it is "the law" that keeps them from responding to legitimate questions about the public interests and about their public service.

I don't believe that they are being candid, forthright and honest; a higher standard of conduct than the law.

I use those particular words; candid, forthright and honest because those are the very words the board uses when they tell students how they are expected to respond to legitimate questions.

and by logical extension their role models,
especially including their senior-most
executive and administrative role models, 
are required to be candid, forthright and honest by the code of conduct the board established and then has their superintendent enforce upon students.

APS student standards of conduct are the Pillars of Character Counts!, link.  The Pillars are a nationally recognized, accepted and respected code of ethical conduct.

Whether they should or should not be the student (and adult) standards is moot.

It is moot because the Pillars are APS' student standards of conduct.  They have been since 1994.
They are made so again, annually, in the APS Student Behavior Handbook.
Students are expected to model and promote honest accountability to the Pillars of Character Counts!
Respect, Responsibility, Trustworthiness, Caring, Fairness and
Citizenship; higher standards of conduct than the law.

The law is of no use in enforcing higher standards than the law.  In particular if the defendants are not bound only by the law stretched to its limit by legal weaselry.  

The law, loopholes and legal weaselry represent the lowest standards of conduct acceptable among civilized human beings.  "The law"; the standards of conduct that every higher standard, is higher than.

If the school board were actually accountable as the senior-most role models of student standards of conduct, they would not make statements like these, statements that are
intended to create beliefs or leave impressions that are untrue or misleading
APS Student (and honest to God role models therefor) standards of conduct prohibit all acts;
half-truths, out-of-context statements, and even silence (stonewalling) if the intention is to deliberately mislead or deceive.

These people are not being honest.

The last thing you want to do is let them make it easier to keep the people from holding them accountable for their character and competence as school board members and as public servants.

The last thing you want to do is let them tell you that you can't ask them questions about their spending of your  power and resources.

The last thing you want to do is find any other place to be next Wednesday afternoon during the Policy Committee meeting.

They have to know you are at least watching.

photo Mark Bralley

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