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BOE Attorney Fees


Guest Resident
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Guest Resident

Can anyone who was at the BOE meeting last night tell me why just (2) of the many attorneys the BOE has were paid over $23,000.00 for just last month alone? What is this being spent on?

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Guest Guest

Can anyone who was at the BOE meeting last night tell me why just (2) of the many attorneys the BOE has were paid over $23,000.00 for just last month alone? What is this being spent on?

You were at the meeting, apparently. There's no reason to think anyone here can tell you. Did you ask the Board?

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Guest Wondering

Can anyone who was at the BOE meeting last night tell me why just (2) of the many attorneys the BOE has were paid over $23,000.00 for just last month alone? What is this being spent on?

Was that a point of discussion at the meeting? Since when are attorney fees part of the general discussion?

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Guest Guest

Was that a point of discussion at the meeting? Since when are attorney fees part of the general discussion?

No reason they shouldn't be. They're part of the Board's business, and the public has every right to know.

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Guest Crazy spending

No I was not at meeting and certainly any Money spent is not confidential . People at the office have been talking about the exauborant legal costs lately. I think if the board is spending that kind of money it should be a part of discussion so taxpayers know where their money is going

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Guest Guest

No reason they shouldn't be. They're part of the Board's business, and the public has every right to know.

That may be, but those bills are not presented to the public. The only $$ amount is the total that is in the report for approval with all the other bills. so the question remains - how does Resident know what the totals are?

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Guest Guest

That may be, but those bills are not presented to the public. The only $$ amount is the total that is in the report for approval with all the other bills. so the question remains - how does Resident know what the totals are?

Have you asked for an itemized accounting? They might give it to you if you ask, in fact they're probably required to do that under the Freedom of Information Act. Don't assume that the numbers you get at the BOE meeting are the sum total of all the information that is available if you request it.

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Guest News Flash

That may be, but those bills are not presented to the public. The only $$ amount is the total that is in the report for approval with all the other bills. so the question remains - how does Resident know what the totals are?

All you have to do is know one of the hens in the henhouse on Davis Ave. or stop in for coffee at the Greeks. The information is there before the ink hits the paper.

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Guest Concern Parent

Matters discussed in executive session need to stay in that room and kept quiet by board members.

The employees working for the board need to do the same.

Any expense by the board is public record.

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Guest Law Man

Matters discussed in executive session need to stay in that room and kept quiet by board members.

The employees working for the board need to do the same.

Any expense by the board is public record.

You omit three very important requirements.

1. The Board must provide in public the reason to go into executive session. Saying "litigation" or "personnel" is not sufficient. You have to identify the legal matter or the employee or the contract negotiation that will be discussed in executive session.

2. Minutes must be kept of the executive session and those minutes must be made publcily available once the matter is resolved.

3. No Board member with a conflict of interest may participate in executive session. There is no "necessity" for a conflicted member to attend executive session.

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Guest Guest

You omit three very important requirements.

1. The Board must provide in public the reason to go into executive session. Saying "litigation" or "personnel" is not sufficient. You have to identify the legal matter or the employee or the contract negotiation that will be discussed in executive session.

2. Minutes must be kept of the executive session and those minutes must be made publcily available once the matter is resolved.

3. No Board member with a conflict of interest may participate in executive session. There is no "necessity" for a conflicted member to attend executive session.

Check your facts

1. Not sure you have to identify specific llitigation matters. Pretty darn sure you can not and should not identify employees, who have the right to privacy, until there is resolution of the matter. Employees to be discussed have to be notified in writing and are given the option of having their discussion in open.

2. Minutes ARE kept. And they MAY be released when there is a resolution to the matter. There is no rule that they MUST be.

3.Conflicted members CAN NOT attend executive session. Who said there is a necessity that they do?

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Guest Professor Kingsfield

Check your facts

1. Not sure you have to identify specific llitigation matters. Pretty darn sure you can not and should not identify employees, who have the right to privacy, until there is resolution of the matter. Employees to be discussed have to be notified in writing and are given the option of having their discussion in open.

2. Minutes ARE kept. And they MAY be released when there is a resolution to the matter. There is no rule that they MUST be.

3.Conflicted members CAN NOT attend executive session. Who said there is a necessity that they do?

I did. You should check the law:

1. If the Board knows the litigation matters to be discussed in closed session, the Board has to identify them. The following is an excerpt from the New Jersey Supreme Court's 2012 decision in McGovern applying the requirement to a closed session:

That the appellate panel applied the wrong measure by which to evaluate the adequacy of the notice of the special meeting does not, by itself, answer the inquiry whether that notice was, in fact, adequate. The official notice that was prepared and circulated stated only that on September 10 the Board would "act on a resolution to meet in immediate closed session to discuss matters falling within contract negotiation and attorney-client privilege." The record reveals clearly that by the time this notice was prepared and published, more was known about the extent of the proposed agenda than what was conveyed by the generic references to "contract negotiation and attorney-client privilege."

This notice thus did not meet the statutory definition of adequate notice contained in N.J.S.A. 10:4-8 for it did not include the proposed agenda for the meeting of September 10 "to the extent" it was known. The Board had an obligation to include as part of the notice of the meeting of September 10 the agenda of that meeting to the extent it was known.

2. Yes, minutes must be released, even from closed session. The following is an excerpt from the NJ School Boards Assn. Guide:

a. Minutes are required for all meetings including closed session. Attorney General Formal Opinion No. 1 – 1998.

b. Minutes must be provided within two weeks of meeting, subject to approval at next board meeting. N.J.S.A. 10:4-1. (Attachment 4)

c. Minutes of closed session must be made available to the public when the reason for confidentiality no longer exists.

3. No one did. Just pointing out that the "necessity-get out of conflict-card" employed by the current Board of Education to vote on Superintendent does not give a conflicted Board member license to enter closed session to discuss the Superintendent. The Board relied on a necessity vote to place Superintendent Ferraro on paid suspension because most Board members have conflicts, but those conflicted members violated the law by discussing Superintendent Ferraro in closed sessions.

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Guest Concern Parent

The writer guest is correct.

The board can enter into executive session at anytime during the meeting. They are not require to reveal any names of employees.

They move to executive session by a motion from a member and it must have a second.

Matters discussed in this session are private.

But, not in Kearny.

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Guest Guest

I did. You should check the law:

1. If the Board knows the litigation matters to be discussed in closed session, the Board has to identify them. The following is an excerpt from the New Jersey Supreme Court's 2012 decision in McGovern applying the requirement to a closed session:

That the appellate panel applied the wrong measure by which to evaluate the adequacy of the notice of the special meeting does not, by itself, answer the inquiry whether that notice was, in fact, adequate. The official notice that was prepared and circulated stated only that on September 10 the Board would "act on a resolution to meet in immediate closed session to discuss matters falling within contract negotiation and attorney-client privilege." The record reveals clearly that by the time this notice was prepared and published, more was known about the extent of the proposed agenda than what was conveyed by the generic references to "contract negotiation and attorney-client privilege."

This notice thus did not meet the statutory definition of adequate notice contained in N.J.S.A. 10:4-8 for it did not include the proposed agenda for the meeting of September 10 "to the extent" it was known. The Board had an obligation to include as part of the notice of the meeting of September 10 the agenda of that meeting to the extent it was known.

2. Yes, minutes must be released, even from closed session. The following is an excerpt from the NJ School Boards Assn. Guide:

a. Minutes are required for all meetings including closed session. Attorney General Formal Opinion No. 1 – 1998.

b. Minutes must be provided within two weeks of meeting, subject to approval at next board meeting. N.J.S.A. 10:4-1. (Attachment 4)

c. Minutes of closed session must be made available to the public when the reason for confidentiality no longer exists.

3. No one did. Just pointing out that the "necessity-get out of conflict-card" employed by the current Board of Education to vote on Superintendent does not give a conflicted Board member license to enter closed session to discuss the Superintendent. The Board relied on a necessity vote to place Superintendent Ferraro on paid suspension because most Board members have conflicts, but those conflicted members violated the law by discussing Superintendent Ferraro in closed sessions.

Number 1 refers to a "special meeting". There is a difference between specil and regular and, yes, specials must be specific about the topics.

Number 2 could be correct, but the vast majority of closed session topics are eventually voted upon in public. I'd like to see some evidence of school districts that regularly release their closed session minutes. My guess is very few, if any.

Number 3 is wrong. Discussion of a sitting superintendent by conflicted members is not a violation of law.

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Guest Disgusted Dad

No, the Professor is correct.

In a democracy there are no "secret" proceedings. A board can meet in closed session in the limited instances allowed by law but the board must disclose the minutes of the closed session once the issue is settled.

This Board president and her majority goes into closed session at every meeting so that the public is not aware of the messy details of their personnel decisions. Like owing suspended Superintendent Ferraro $600,000. Or hiring acting Superintendent Blood even though she doesn't have the standard certification for school administrator. Or spending tax dollars on lawyers to reinstate an ex-employee with prior criminal offenses. Or spending upwards of $3 million on the not yet complete school offices on Midland Ave.

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Guest Guest

No, the Professor is correct. In a democracy there are no "secret" proceedings. A board can meet in closed session in the limited instances allowed by law but the board must disclose the minutes of the closed session once the issue is settled. This Board president and her majority goes into closed session at every meeting so that the public is not aware of the messy details of their personnel decisions. Like owing suspended Superintendent Ferraro $600,000. Or hiring acting Superintendent Blood even though she doesn't have the standard certification for school administrator. Or spending tax dollars on lawyers to reinstate an ex-employee with prior criminal offenses. Or spending upwards of $3 million on the not yet complete school offices on Midland Ave.

Well, at least we hear from an objective voice. :glare:

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Guest Guest

No, the Professor is correct. In a democracy there are no "secret" proceedings. A board can meet in closed session in the limited instances allowed by law but the board must disclose the minutes of the closed session once the issue is settled. This Board president and her majority goes into closed session at every meeting so that the public is not aware of the messy details of their personnel decisions. Like owing suspended Superintendent Ferraro $600,000. Or hiring acting Superintendent Blood even though she doesn't have the standard certification for school administrator. Or spending tax dollars on lawyers to reinstate an ex-employee with prior criminal offenses. Or spending upwards of $3 million on the not yet complete school offices on Midland Ave.

Boards have been going into closed sessions since boards began! This isn't some NEW proceeding. And if Mrs. Blood doesn't have the proper certification, how come the njdoe keeps approving her in that position? Another conspiracy theory? She's doing 2 jobs and is such an improvement over that other guy that it's laughable.

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Guest Professor

Number 1 refers to a "special meeting". There is a difference between specil and regular and, yes, specials must be specific about the topics.

Number 2 could be correct, but the vast majority of closed session topics are eventually voted upon in public. I'd like to see some evidence of school districts that regularly release their closed session minutes. My guess is very few, if any.

Number 3 is wrong. Discussion of a sitting superintendent by conflicted members is not a violation of law.

Number 1 is a NJ Supreme Court case that directly deals with the notice requirements to enter closed session. It is square on. And this Board (both the Board attorney and the Board member who's an attorney) disregards it.

Number 2. That's the equivalent of saying, 'so what if it's the law, and I'm going to rationalize my noncompliance by saying, who really does that?'

Number 3 is a serious illegality that has gone over your head.

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Guest Guest

Number 1 is a NJ Supreme Court case that directly deals with the notice requirements to enter closed session. It is square on. And this Board (both the Board attorney and the Board member who's an attorney) disregards it.

Number 2. That's the equivalent of saying, 'so what if it's the law, and I'm going to rationalize my noncompliance by saying, who really does that?'

Number 3 is a serious illegality that has gone over your head.

At the risk of repeating myself

Number 1 refers to SPECIAL MEETINGS, professor. Not regular meetings. Different regulations for a SPECIAL MEETING. Meeting notices for SPECIAL MEETINGS must be explicit and specific.

Number 2, not rationalizing, just speaking the common procedure. Closed session minutes are not routinely released. Not on line either. Find me a school district, or a town council for that matter, that follows that routine. Guess they're all in non-compliance.

Number 3, you're wrong. Simple as that, professor.

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Guest Guest

Number 1 is a NJ Supreme Court case that directly deals with the notice requirements to enter closed session. It is square on. And this Board (both the Board attorney and the Board member who's an attorney) disregards it.

Number 2. That's the equivalent of saying, 'so what if it's the law, and I'm going to rationalize my noncompliance by saying, who really does that?'

Number 3 is a serious illegality that has gone over your head.

I don't know who is right but am interested in this topic. Could you please post links to the applicable statutes?

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Guest Professor

Again, on number 1, the McGovern holding applies to the notice requirements for ANY closed session. Also check the NJ School Boards Association's position on this.

As to number 2, yes you are rationalizing. Again, check the NJ School Boards Assn legal paper on closed minutes. Your failure on the Board is exposing the Kearny taxpayer to even more liability than the $600,000 Ferraro is owed on his contract.

As to number 3, it's like a mile over your head. Unfortunately, it's not amusing because it further exposes the Kearny taxpayer.

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Guest Guest

I did. You should check the law:

1. If the Board knows the litigation matters to be discussed in closed session, the Board has to identify them. The following is an excerpt from the New Jersey Supreme Court's 2012 decision in McGovern applying the requirement to a closed session:

That the appellate panel applied the wrong measure by which to evaluate the adequacy of the notice of the special meeting does not, by itself, answer the inquiry whether that notice was, in fact, adequate. The official notice that was prepared and circulated stated only that on September 10 the Board would "act on a resolution to meet in immediate closed session to discuss matters falling within contract negotiation and attorney-client privilege." The record reveals clearly that by the time this notice was prepared and published, more was known about the extent of the proposed agenda than what was conveyed by the generic references to "contract negotiation and attorney-client privilege."

This notice thus did not meet the statutory definition of adequate notice contained in N.J.S.A. 10:4-8 for it did not include the proposed agenda for the meeting of September 10 "to the extent" it was known. The Board had an obligation to include as part of the notice of the meeting of September 10 the agenda of that meeting to the extent it was known.

2. Yes, minutes must be released, even from closed session. The following is an excerpt from the NJ School Boards Assn. Guide:

a. Minutes are required for all meetings including closed session. Attorney General Formal Opinion No. 1 – 1998.

b. Minutes must be provided within two weeks of meeting, subject to approval at next board meeting. N.J.S.A. 10:4-1. (Attachment 4)

c. Minutes of closed session must be made available to the public when the reason for confidentiality no longer exists.

3. No one did. Just pointing out that the "necessity-get out of conflict-card" employed by the current Board of Education to vote on Superintendent does not give a conflicted Board member license to enter closed session to discuss the Superintendent. The Board relied on a necessity vote to place Superintendent Ferraro on paid suspension because most Board members have conflicts, but those conflicted members violated the law by discussing Superintendent Ferraro in closed sessions.

Checking the law is one thing, applying it to a case is another. A reading of the McGovern decision reveals that boards of education are obligated to place confidential matters on the public agenda but may defer discussion of confidential matters to closed session. However, mere violation of the law does not necessarily void the Board's actions. The Court mentions four factors, including whether the law affords a remedy, whether the Board took an action that could be voided, whether there was a pattern of non-compliance with the law, and whether the violation appeared to be intentional (see p. 25 of the opinion). Again, I'm not saying who is right or wrong but you've made a statement, for which I would like to know the basis: which Board members have conflicts pertaining to the Ferraro matter, and on what basis? I would also like to know whether anyone brought this alleged violation to the Board's attention before they went into closed session.

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Guest Guest

See the post above with the cites to the Supreme Court case and Attorney General Opinion.

Google "Sunshine Law" or "Open Public Meetings Act"

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