Thursday, August 27, 2020

McKie Attempts Knock-out Punch

Continuing from the last post, about the 8/25/2020 board meeting and the attempt by Mrs. Agostini to amend the agenda for 9/8/2020 by adding a discussion of the board chair's authority to act individually on behalf of the board.

After the discussion had gone on for a while (and ranged out-of-control) McKie was recognized (at 2:17:50). She said she just wanted to make a comment and call for the vote.

Recently I quoted a section from Dummies about such a call for the vote during discussion. The author of Dummies labeled such a Call for a Vote as "rude".

Here's what I heard in McKie's comment: "I'm going to say what I want to say and then I'm going to shut you down!"

She said what she wanted to say. Then she said, "Let me say this and then I'm calling for the vote."

Then she said more and defended (her friend) Shadd's letter, which had been sent without Board knowledge or approval.

Then she said, "I call for the vote."

At that point Mrs. Agostini raised the point that it was necessary to vote on McKie's call for a vote (which should have been in the form of a Motion, but wasn't). 

Shadd was wrong when he said that once the vote was called for and recognized by the Chair, then they had to vote.

(2:20:00) Then McKie butted in and claimed motions had been commingled. They hadn't, but she apparently couldn't keep track of the order of them. Shadd was attempting to recite Agostini's Secondary Motion, when McKie began speaking. 

Discussion ended, and the vote began.

Then Elkins wanted to comment on why she had voted Yes. She said a Board member should not be "shut down".

Then Holmes weighed in during the voting and wanted to explain her No vote. She too was out of order.

The secretary (not the Secretary) announced the vote result: 2-5, but they failed to show the results to the public.

I suspect this will come up again, and it should. There should be a public discussion of the limits of the board chair's authority. 

When will the board hire Attorney McFadden to return and further train them on parliamentary procedure? Ever?

Keep in mind, of course, that McKie and Holmes are, today, not even legitimate members of the school board. To become legitimate members, all they have to do is take the oath of office. They have been eligible to take the oath of office since December 4, 2018.

School Board Needs Parliamentary Training

 After two hours of last Tuesday's Board Meeting (8/25/2020), I bailed out. I just could not take any more. This morning, after three cups of coffee, I felt like I had the strength to endure the balance of the meeting, and I began watching the YouTube replay.

I have referred to the majority of board members as "The Squad". Richland 2's "Squad" is four, sometimes five of them. And two of them aren't even legitimate board members.

The fun and games began during the Item pertaining to the Draft Agenda for the next (9/8/2020) board meeting. At 2:08:25 on the YouTube video-recording of the 8/25/2020 meeting, McKie motioned for approval with an amendment. During discussion, Mrs. Agostini made a motion to add an item to the agenda.

Mrs. Agostini's motion was to add a discussion of the Board Chair's authority to act individually on behalf of the Board. 

Shadd declared Agostini's Motion to be a "friendly amendment" that would require McKie's consent. McKie said she wanted her motion to stand "as is". If only she could have said it in those few words...

And then the meeting headed off the rails.

Manning jumped in and said "we" don't do 'friendly amendments' anymore. He suggested it would correct for Mrs. Agostini to make a Secondary Motion. Then he added that "friendly amendments are not technically a part of Robert's Rules."

Although Mrs. Agostini tried to get a second so that discussion could begin, when Shadd was slow on the uptake, Mrs. Agostini gave two examples as reasons for requesting a discussion at the Board level: 1) a board chair (Manning) had commissioned a policy (spending District money) to have a policy drafted by the District's attorney without getting board authority; and 2) the board chair (Shadd) had sent a letter recently on behalf of the Board without there having been a discussion and authorization.

During the clamor of voices, Elkins seconded.

The superintendent interrupted and began speaking. Remember: protocol is to ask the Chair to be recognized. He didn't. He should speak when spoken to and only after authorized. He is not a board member. Then he wrongfully said that Agostini's motion was not germane to the motion to approve the agenda.

Of course it was!!!

Manning disagreed with the superintendent and said Agostini's motion was germane.

At that point Shadd had lost control of the meetng and didn't know what to do. Manning bailed him out by explaining what was on the table and that Elkins had seconded.

Shadd called for discussion and Elkins jumped in. Robert's Rules give the first comments to the person who made the motion. Agostini should have had the floor first.

Then Manning said, "This is another tactic to tie the board chair's hands, so we can get nothing done." SLAM!!! And then he piled on with "This is another tactic to drag us down in unnecessary bureaucracy." SLAM!!! SLAM!!!

Elkins objected to Manning's choice of wording, "tactic".

Agostini disagreed with Manning.

And then McKie stepped into the ring and attempted a knock-out punch.

Continued in the next article.

Long Board Meetings - Insanity

This week's Richland 2 School Board meeting was two hours forty minutes long. That's absurd.

During the time of the actual Zoom meeting, I was more than bored after two hours and abandoned the meeting. Others in the audience may have fled, too. Today I returned to listen to the question by Dr. Elkin-Johnson's about whether high school juniors and seniors would be allowed to leave campus at lunch time. I didn't think her question was answered, and it wasn't.

Board members, however, don't have the luxury of escaping by merely clicking on "Leave Meeting". 

A reasonable maximum length of a meeting would be about 90 minutes.

The August 25, 2020 Regular Meeting didn't even have a large agenda.

It is the Board Chair's responsibility to move the meeting along. Perhaps a count-down timer should appear in front of each board member, showing them how much time remains for the meeting. The  Chair should cut off long-winded comments, extraneous comments and remarks that could be stated in 15 seconds, when the speaker rambles on and on and on.

You've heard the sentence, "Work expands to fill the time available for its completion"? Commonly known as Parkinson's 1st Law, wikipedia offers this: "A proverb coined by the twentieth-century British scholar C. Northcote Parkinson, known as Parkinson's Law. It points out that people usually take all the time allotted (and frequently more) to accomplish any task."

And that's even truer when there is no time-limit, as at a school board meeting. It starts, and then it continues until everybody runs out of wind.

Perhaps a Board member (one of the five legal members) will make a Motion or propose a Policy that meetings are to be completed within 90 minutes.

Candidates' Panel - Thurs., Aug. 27

Tonight there will be a panel discussion by five candidates for the Richland 2 School Board. At 6:00PM EDT on the Facebook page of Gretchen Barron, there will be a LIVE event.

The five candidates will be Lindsay Agostini, Monica Elkins, Deon Jacobs, Dee Bell-Williams, and Maryann Wright.

The host for the panel will be Gretchen Barron.

Gretchen hosted a panel last night at 6:00PM for Lashonda McFadden, Rhonda Meisner, James Shadd, and Lawrence Terry. That panel discussion may be archived on Gretchen's Facebook page for playback.

Go to Gretchen's page. From there, good luck. I had to experiment with many clicks and repeats until I finally spotted the LIVE button near the upper right.