The Education Action Network

Taking Back America By Taking Back Our Schools

Dr. Covey - There you go again!

The Arizona Open Meeting Law demands “all meetings of any public body shall be public meetings and all persons so desiring shall be permitted to attend and listen to the deliberations and proceedings.” Arizona Revised Statute 38-431.01(A).

I have previously written about the Maricopa County Superintendent of Schools Donald Covey’s dictatorial appointment process and his unlawful attempt to cancel the PUSD election. Dr. Covey’s process goes too far by mandating the actions of those who are outside his scope of authority to direct and by stripping elected representatives of their statutory authority. He has publicly admitted that he does not have the statutory authority to cancel an election.

Once again, Dr. Covey has gotten it very wrong in his assertions, to PUSD Board President Hal Borhauer, about the requirements for the collaboration team meeting to select the applicants for his consideration. That meeting will be held on Tuesday, March 22 at 1:30 pm at the District Administrative Center. That meeting will not be open to the public. Dr. Covey asserts that because the collaboration team is a “pro tem” or short term committee open meeting law does not apply and their deliberations can be conducted in secret. However the statute specifically considers and includes such committees.

A.R.S. 38-431(6) defines “agencies,” such as the county superintendent of schools and “special or advisory committees,” such as – oh say - a collaboration team, as part of the “public body.” A.R.S. 38-431(1) continues “"Advisory committee" means any entity, however designated . . . whose members have been appointed for the specific purpose of making a recommendation concerning a decision to be made. . .by the public body.”

Dr. Covey is the elected head of a governmental agency who has formed a special committee to make recommendations to him. Does Dr. Covey truly believe that any deliberations pertaining to filling a vacancy on a public board can be done outside of the public eye? To close this meeting is not only a direct violation of the letter but also an affront to the spirit of the open meeting law.

The collaboration team will ostensibly be debating and ranking the strengths/weakness; pro/cons of all the applicants until they settle on three to be considered for appointment. Then they must discuss and rank those three nominees. The community is entitled not only to know the final recommendation but hear the deliberations and know exactly how that decision was reached.

For Dr. Covey to state that the Open Meeting Law does not apply and direct that these deliberations be held behind closed doors is as ridiculous as his assertion that he can cancel an election. This is another example of Dr. Covey’s misunderstanding or misinterpretation of the law to suit his ends. How many similar meetings have been held in violation of open meeting law at his direction during his time in office? His ongoing record of misconceptions should be disconcerting to all those he is elected to represent.

I call on the members of the collaboration team to conduct their deliberations during a lawful, open public meeting and at a time likely to allow for greater community attendance.

Diane Douglas

PUSD Governing Board Member

Views: 129

Replies to This Discussion

shared.  I've been putting these on the Chandler Republican Women's facebook page, hoping some of them are friends with Peoria Republican women, or at least to stop the Chandler school board from supporting/displaying this type of behavior.

Thanks for sharing! FYI EAC member Lamont E. Andrews is starting up a Chandler Tea Party. You might want to contact him (on this website).

harry

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