RSU 13 board member, press contest meeting closure
Rockland — A Dec. 2 Regional School Unit 13 board meeting slated to be held behind closed doors with a facilitator to discuss the school board's ability to work together has been rescheduled after a board member asked for it to be held in a public session.
The board was scheduled to meet at 6 p.m. in an executive session with facilitator Robert Hasson of Maine School Management Association.
Board member Carol Bachofner of Rockland said following a Nov. 25 closed-door meeting she is under the impression she would be included in part of the discussion and asked, citing Maine's Freedom of Information Law, the meeting be adjourned and rescheduled as a public meeting. In addition, she said, proper notice of 72 hours had not been given to inform the public of the meeting.
Bangor Daily News reporter Stephen Betts also contested the meeting's closure because board members are not considered personnel and are therefore not covered under the freedom of information law and the information to be discussed would not likely be defamatory to anyone. He said the matters should be discussed in public.
Hasson said he was unaware the meeting was to be held in executive session.
"This does not lend itself to executive session as painful as it may be," Hasson said. "It does not fall under executive session as I see it."
When a board member questioned what happens if the board fails to give proper notification of the meeting, Board Chairman Esther "Tess" Kilgour said there are no repercussions.
Bachofner disagreed stating there are rules in place for a reason and they should be followed.
Kilgour said she had scheduled the meeting as a closed-door session because the board needs to work on confidential private matters.
"I thought the public had seen enough of us," she said. During the Nov. 7 public board meeting, members got into a verbal confrontation with each other, which has been airing on Knox TV.
The meeting with Hasson has been rescheduled for Thursday, Dec. 12, from 4:30 to 6 p.m.
An executive session scheduled for Dec. 3 and also has not been subject to 72 hours of notice has been rescheduled as an emergency meeting. That meeting is to discuss the evaluation of Superintendent Lew Collins. The board is also expected to meet behind closed doors Thursday, Dec. 5 at 5:30 p.m. for the superintendent's evaluation.
The monthly public school board meeting follows at 6:30 at the McLain School on Lincoln Street.
Courier Publications Copy Editor Kim Lincoln can be reached at 594-4401 or by email at email@example.com.
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Kim Lincoln has worked for Courier Publications since 2003, serving as a reporter, assistant editor and copy editor.
During her time with the company she has worked for each of the three newspapers, The Courier-Gazette, The Camden Herald and The Republican Journal.
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