I just finished watching the School Committee special meeting. Both Chair Prioetti and Mayor Wedegartner dropped from the discussion early because they are the ones directly involved in the Open Meeting Law complaint that is the focus of this meeting.
The Mayor was still on for a bit after I joined the Zoom (late, because of dinner and other IRL stuff). Her comments and responses largely focused on asserting 1) that the School Committee is not the place for this complaint to be discussed (she asserted that it would be the MA Attorney General who would decide) and 2) that nothing can happen until she responds to the complaint. It is not clear from Open Meeting Law that these assertions are accurate.
The committee then spent quite a while trying to figure out what to do, on the assumption that whether or not this complaint ends up being weighed in upon by the AG’s office will depend on how this group responds.
After much conversation, they settled upon all School Committee members joining a working session with an Open Meeting Law expert (to be identified, probably someone from MASC), and that this session will be initially informed by questions gathered from the members. The motion passed unanimously and then they adjourned.
There was a small bit of discussion early on about whether the two examples raised in the complaint actually did constitute an OML violation, but that ended up being not even close to the main focus of this meeting. Mostly, it seemed to be questions about whether the School Committee even should be meeting to discuss this complaint. When it was established that yes, they should be, they moved on to what they as a committee should do.
I found the whole thing to be a bit weird and disconnected, given that the Mayor—the subject of the complaint—stepped away for most of the discussion. Judging from her comments when she was there, as well as from her quotes in the Recorder article a few days ago, it is pretty clear that she does not think she was in violation of Open Meeting Law. Given that, it is not entirely clear to me how much it matter what the rest of the committee does.
Anyway, those are my rather lightly sketched initial thoughts, and again, they are based only on the portion of the meeting I was able to join. Assuming the meeting does get posted to GCTV’s YouTube channel at some point (not always a safe assumption), I will go back and watch the whole thing.
Oh, and I unfortunately missed the public vote on whatever the Executive Session topic was, assuming that even happened, so I still don’t know what that was about.