Monday, February 11, 2008

Split Recommendation From Hearing Officer In Lewin v. BOE FOI Complaint

There is a story in today's News-Times about what reporter John Pirro describes as a "dismissal" of my FOI Complaint against the BOE.

It's my opinion that the article is as accurate as was Pirro's reporting on the Spatola Ethics case: it is full of errors and omissions and is misleading and biased. I suspect that my criticism of his reporting in that matter led to his coverage of this one...a story that in my opinion is full of errors and omissions and is misleading and biased.

Pirro wrote that the FOIC "has dismissed" my complaint as if it was dismissed in its entirely. Wrong. I "won" two of my counts, my charge that the BOE failed to warn the Bob Bigham Meeting properly and its failure to make a proper motion to go into executive session.

Pirro failed to report that what the FOIC issued was a "Proposed Final Decision," a Hearing Officer's recommendation to the full Commission. The counts in my complaint aren't "won" or "dismissed" until the Commission acts.

The HO did recommend dismissal of my claims: a) that former teacher Bob Bigham's name should have been in the agenda; b) that the Superintendent and her attorney shouldn't have been in the entire executive session; and c) that action was taken in executive session.

As I will argue to the full Commission, I think the public has a right to know if a teacher like Bigham is going to be discussed by the BOE so parents can make comments and be made aware of what's going on.

Nanci Barnes' story in this week's New Milford Times, "Resident's FOI Complaint Results In Split Decision" is accurate and comprehensive.

I have asked the Publisher and Editor of the News-Times to print a correction.

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