Friday, January 17, 2020

Text messages subject to FOIA?

When a school board trustee receives text messages and/or email during the public portion of the school board meeting and replies to them, are those messages subject to FOIA?

During the January 7, 2019 Special-Called Board Meeting Trustee Caution-Parker received multiple messages on her cell phone.

Beginning at 1:38:55 on the video-recording, her cell phone screen lit up while she was away from her Board Chair. A second message came in as she returned to her chair.

She can be seen reading it, scrolling through messages and tapping out a reply.

How does the Secretary of the school board pay attention to what is being said in the meeting, when she is paying attention to her phone?

And, worse, she then voted on a motion. Did she have any idea what she voting on?

Is there a Board Policy about use of cell phones, including texting, by Board members during public meetings?

I wonder what the Robert's Rules of Order expert would have to say about this at her next advisory session with the Board.

Board members should put away their cell phones during Board meetings, whether the meeting is open or closed.

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