Here is an email an abridged email chain from this morning. (These are the only emails sent to a quorum.)
8:39 AM (1 hour ago)
to nancypetunia, Rob, Kelly, Peter, Kate, Rick, TownofSandown, sue,
Dear Ms. Steenson:
Please provide me and the board as a whole with the legal opinion supporting Superintendent’s Metzler’s claim that Fifth Grade students can be educated outside of Sandown in consideration of the Timberlane Articles of Agreement.
The School Board has sole authority over the closing of facilities. If the budget committee is contemplating a budget predicated on the closing of Sandown Central, this will necessitate a vote by the school board to explicitly close Sandown Central.
I am available at any time to examine this legal letter in the SAU office and I expect to be provided it within this week.
9:33 AM (43 minutes ago)
to jack.sapia, me, nancypetunia, Rob, Kelly, Kate, Rick, sue
Would you please request that other members do not attempt to conduct Board business via email. Since not noticed and involving a quorum of members, I believe such attempts violate open meeting laws.
9:46 AM (29 minutes ago)
to Earl, Peter, nancypetunia, me
I think this is reportable and I think we should pursue this immediately.
Donna has had plenty of warnings.
Gentle Readers, I have been complaining about the perverse interpretation of 91-A with respect to email communication to a quorum for a long time.
Here are the relevant RSAs:
91-A:2-a Communications Outside Meetings. –
I. Unless exempted from the definition of “meeting” under RSA 91-A:2, I, public bodies shall deliberate on matters over which they have supervision, control, jurisdiction, or advisory power only in meetings held pursuant to and in compliance with the provisions of RSA 91-A:2, II or III.
II. Communications outside a meeting, including, but not limited to, sequential communications among members of a public body, shall not be used to circumvent the spirit and purpose of this chapter as expressed in RSA 91-A:1.
Source. 2008, 303:4, eff. July 1, 2008.
91-A:2 Meetings Open to Public. –
I. For the purpose of this chapter, a “meeting” means the convening of a quorum of the membership of a public body, as defined in RSA 91-A:1-a, VI, or the majority of the members of such public body if the rules of that body define “quorum” as more than a majority of its members, whether in person, by means of telephone or electronic communication, or in any other manner such that all participating members are able to communicate with each other contemporaneously, subject to the provisions set forth in RSA 91-A:2, III, for the purpose of discussing or acting upon a matter or matters over which the public body has supervision, control, jurisdiction, or advisory power. A chance, social, or other encounter not convened for the purpose of discussing or acting upon such matters shall not constitute a meeting if no decisions are made regarding such matters….
DG: Email is not in fact contemporaneous communication.