Plainville Board Of Education Chairperson Proposes Independent Third Party Mediation Session
Plainville Board of Education Chairperson Becky Tyrrell proposes that the Plainville Town Council engage with the Board of Education in another effort to reach resolution of their disagreement regarding the sharing of financial information. Tyrrell proposes that the Board and the Council secure the assistance of an independent third party mediator.
Tyrrell also emphasizes that the Board has made significant offers during previous mediation sessions, the Board offered several avenues for the provision of information to the Council. The Board offered to hold a joint public meeting of both the Board and the Council with the Town's auditing firm, to review the financial documentation of both the Board and the Council and to form a blue ribbon commission acceptable to both parties to review the financial documentation of both bodies and make suggestions to improve transparency. The Council did not express interest in participating in this kind of joint financial review.
The Board has also offered to provide any existing documents to the Council as a standing request, and to supplement that request with any specific documents sought by members of the Council. In addition, the Board agreed to answer written questions from Council members, as long as the responses did not over-burden Board staff. With that in mind, the Board agreed with a Council member’s suggestion of limiting responses to no more than two hours per month from the Board’s Director of Finance, Richard Carmelich. Lastly, the Board offered to meet in September with the Town Council to review the budget at the end of the fiscal year. The request for independent mediation was sent to the Council on February 15th. On February 23rd the Council Chair, Dan Hurley, responded as follows: "A consensus of the council has decided that as of now further mediation is not something they are interested in. What you have described in your letter is not anything new other than a single mediator. I had high hopes that initially this mediation would reach an agreement that contained what our charter states. This appears to be more than just about financial information. In future days the council will discuss its options as to where we go from here. We certainly will keep you advised as to any decisions."
The Board is seeking to resolve this impasse to prevent distraction from the district's mission of improving student achievement. Tyrrell stated, "The Board remains concerned that the public is not aware of the financial information provided to the Town Council. Each month the Council is provided with the check register that shows every check written, the amount and company or individual paid. The Board has been providing this detailed information to the Council for years. We are disappointed that this issue could not be resolved quickly so that we can continue with the work at hand."
-Posted on March 2, 2011 at 11:33 AM
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