The board should be transparent

To the Editor:

Thank you for your well-written and very timely editorial entitled “Sunshine Laws Apply to Emails, too.”  As a long time Berne-Knox-Westerlo School Board member, it inspired me to review the content of earlier board training. Way back when, in July 2007, I attended a New York State School Board Association weekend Board Academy led by Jay Worona, NYSSBA’s chief counsel.  In it he made several salient points including the following:

— Be careful of emails. However, most superintendents provide weekly or bi-weekly narratives to the board. These email narratives, often include any Q & A members have asked, general updates, information, pros and cons on proposed actions — in short, all public information;

— The board should be transparent. All information should be read in advance and when possible members should try to ask any questions it raises in advance of a meeting. However, the question and its response should be restated at the meeting so the public is not deprived of the information; and

— Boards should have no name only committees. The board should ensure that all committees formally report back at public meetings.

It is my hope that the above information will help all of us to more fully comply with the Open Meetings Law.

Helen Marie Lounsbury

BKW Board Member