The plan was to get rid of the audience before conducting the public’s business.
The audience was full of teachers, parents and taxpayers who wanted to hear about the school budget, the failure of the school board to resolve the teachers’ contract, and other board business.
Let’s lock out the public for 4 hours
For the April 29, 2019, 7:30 p.m. Clinton Township school board meeting, board president Maria Grant planned to adjourn the meeting prior to conducting board business.
She would take the board into a “two hundred & forty (240) minute” executive session in the back room and lock out the public while the board talked in private.
That’s 4 hours.
Well after 12:00 midnight, the board would reconvene its regular public meeting — after the public was asleep in their beds — and make decisions, spend money, hear reports on facilities and finance, and much, much more.
The public would be welcome to show up at around, oh, 1:00 a.m., to hear the rest of the “public” part of the meeting.
But something went wrong
According to the recording of the meeting and a report published in the Hunterdon Review:
“Board member Alison Grantham suggested having the [4-hour-long] executive session at the end of the meeting so visitors wouldn’t have to wait hours for the public section of the meeting.”
Grantham made a motion and it was seconded.
Grant was left in shock.
A lengthy discussion — argument — ensued, with Grant pounding her gavel. Grant wanted to know, what about “the people who saw how it was advertised and potentially could come later…?” That is, after the 4-hour delay, after midnight?
“I mean, what about that?” intoned Grant.
The crowd erupted in guffaws.
Maloy, Grant & Brooks vs. The Public
Five board members voted to move the 4-hour-long “non-public” executive session later so the public could see and hear and participate in the business part of the meeting.
Board members Alison Grantham, Catherine Emery, Catherine Riihimaki, Regina Figueroa and Lana Brennan didn’t want the public locked out.
Board members Kevin Maloy, Maria Grant and Mary Beth Brooks voted against the public. They insisted on a 4-hour intermission so they could meet in the back room — then let the public back in well after midnight.
They lost to the bright light of public scrutiny.
Print this column and tack it on your calendar around Election Day, 2019. Then you’ll know whom to vote off the Clinton Township school board for 2020.