Friday, March 2, 2012

The Open Meetings Act Do-Over - Part 2

Poor Dr. Starr.

Remember a few months ago when we posted that Dr. Starr asked the Open Meetings Compliance Board to reconsider an opinion issued on July 26, 2011 that the Montgomery County Board of Education violated the Maryland Open Meetings Act when it convened a citizens committee to participate in the process that resulted in naming Dr. Starr as the new Superintendent of MCPS?

Here is a link to our December post.

Poor Dr. Starr is now even poorer.  To the tune of $ 9,915.15.

On February 29, 2012, the Open Meetings Compliance Board denied Dr. Starr's request for a reconsideration of its finding that the Board of Education violated the Open Meetings Act again.  You can read the decision here. 

Specifically, the Open Meetings Compliance Board quoted an earlier opinion stating:
The Open Meetings Act contains no explicit authorization or procedure for reconsideration.. . . the Board will not entertain a request for reconsideration simply because a public body submits information that it could have provided in its response to the complaint and that merely expands upon a point already considered.
The Compliance Board then found:
Here, the County Board has not presented us with new facts, and so we deny the request.
Why the Board of Education decided to pursue this appeal doesn't make sense.  Is Dr. Starr unhappy?  Does the Board of Education plan on another search for a Superintendent of Schools shortly?    The taxpaying public will never know, because the Board of Education continues to think that it can conduct its meetings out of the public view.

As this blogger has said before, we would all be better off if the Montgomery County Board of Education learned to abide by the principles of the Open Meetings Act.
How much did this cost the good citizens of Montgomery County?   The Venable bill for the two attorneys on the case came to $ 9,916.15 for 16.7 hours of work, or $5,000 per day. 
And, we would have cash for other items - like textbooks, shop tools at Edison, and musical instruments.

Open Meetings Compliance Board to Brandman: No do over


  1. Amazing. This is on top of the litigation costs associated with the second BCC middle school site selection, the Feasibility Study required by the first site selection, the "do-over" second site selection, and the litigation that will come from the second site selection.

    I'm beginning to wonder when subsidiarity comes into play. In other words, at what point is the benefit of a centralized county system outweighed by the waste and bureaucratic expense inherent in such a large organization, notwithstanding the staff incompetence on which Dr. Starr has to rely?

    Perhaps a starting point could be to transfer planning to county organizations that actually plan, especially in light of the fact that whatever plans the schools come up with must be refered to those organizations.

  2. And the $84,000+ spent fighting one small child over an hour and a half of speech therapy a week...

    1. !!!!!!!

      Who makes these cost trade off decisions? We should make these people personally, financially liable for these decisions. It will take the fun out of playing with other people's money.

  3. @Anonymous Mar 2 5:52 AM, there are no county organizations that 'plan.' The Planning Dep't. is the mouthpiece for the developers. I would not like to see any more control going to a Planning Dep't. that ignores the community. And regarding the 'centralized county system,' I would reiterate that independent municipalities such as Rockville would be much better off if they ran their own smaller school systems. Instead the taxpayers of Rockville have to contribute to the $2.1Billion MCPS, which as they are happy to tell you, is the '16th largest school system in the country.' This would be up to the citizens of Rockville, of course.

  4. @Anonymous Mar 2 6:35 AM, who makes these decisions? You, the voter. You make the decisions and you are responsible for these outcomes. Elections are coming up in April. BOE candidates will be at the Civic Fed BOE Candidates' Forum on Thur,March 15th, 7:30-9:30PM at the Silver Spring Civic Building, please attend. Ask your question.


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