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Sunday, November 28, 2004

School Board - Recall and other related issues

From: ARTEERICK@aol.com
Date: Sun Nov 28, 2004 8:14 am
Subject: School Board - Recall and other related issues

Up front, I am offering some resources and ideas below relevant to the issues being discussed. Some could be legislation related, some budget issues and/or some policy issues. None of it should be considered to be position statements from me representing any specific group. Rick

If I understand the beginning of this discussion, one of the main concerns was the lack of responsiveness of some of our elected board members in the past. However, I saw the discussion go immediately to recall as a solution before looking at some of the root causes. I will list some of those at the bottom that I am aware of for consideration.

Do not get me wrong. Recall can be a mechanism for accountability for all of our elected officials (I personally do not believe this should apply solely to Board Members), but it possibly should be used as a last resort. Therefore, it may be productive for the coalition leaders to researching existing laws/policies for other state/county elected bodies.

In addition, there are already a few specific instances on the books now when a board member can be removed. Excerpt from existing law on Board member removal:

With the approval of the Governor, the State Board may remove a

34 member of the County Board for any of the following reasons:

35 (i) Immorality;

36 (ii) Misconduct in office;

1 (iii) Incompetency; or

2 (iv) Willful neglect of duty.

3 (2) Before removing a member, the State Board shall send the member a

4 copy of the charges [against him] PENDING and give [him] THE MEMBER an

5 opportunity within 10 days to request a hearing.

6 (3) If the member requests a hearing within the 10-day period:

7 (i) The State Board promptly shall hold a hearing, but ahearing

8 may not be set within 10 days after the State Board sends the member a notice of the

9 hearing; and

10 (ii) The member shall have an opportunity to be heard publicly

11 before the State Board in [his] THE MEMBER'S own defense, in person or by counsel.

12 (4) A member removed under this subsection has the right to a de novo
13 review of the removal by the Circuit Court for Prince George's County.

I believe most of what I am offering below could be solved with good, open planning involving all key stakeholders and additional funding that has been limited or prioritized in other ways in the past.

Here are a few examples of what may be constituency or customer service related issues as it may pertain to the board office that I think are significant enough to consider:

- Prince George's Board Members, Elected or Appointed are considered part-time duties, even though it is often Full-Time work. Therefore, unless you are retired, run your own business and/or have maximum flexibility on your full/part-time income providing job, it can be difficult to manage time while being effective even.
- Current Board Office in an old school building at Saccer is highly restrictive compared to most other large and medium size school districts based on size, modernization, logistics, effective use of space and access to the public, etc. Each and/or all of these items can contribute to access and responsiveness to the public and/or their effectiveness.
- Neither the Board Members or their Staffs have their own, separate offices to meet their constituents, work and/or do the business of the board
- Board Members must do the bulk of their work in their homes or other locations outside of the board building (A board members home is not suitable to public conduct the public business in an accessible manner)
- There are logistically difficulties based on the location of the offices separating the roles and duties and effectiveness of Board Staff and Administrative Staff

In addition:
- The Board often shares staff resources and/or expertise with the Superintendent. This may include Legislative/Lobbying Services, Budget/Finance, etc. Depending on the issue, this can become a complex, competing issue.

For several years, members of the board, administration, other government leaders and other public stakeholders have discussed moving the board/administrative offices out of our school buildings into more suitable and modern office complex. However, no real plan or proposal has never gone far publicly. It would preferably have to be Centrally located off the Beltway probably between Route 4-50 exits.

The above information is provided for your information and consideration only by

Rick Tyler

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