this weeks edition:
You will note from a front page article as well as a letter in this issue that the Board of Education did not begin the new year on a very positive note. The first thing that occurred was the agenda did not arrive on time as should have. We didn’t think much of it and chalked it up to lost in the holiday shuffle. When our staff member arrived at the meeting, early as she usually does, she was asked to leave as the board was going to conduct student hearings.
About an hour later she was allowed back in the meeting room. There was some rhetoric concerning the meeting being called to order in her absence. That’s where the issue takes a bad turn for me.
Either the board asked a media representative to leave a public meeting or the Board conducted business in an executive session. Neither one of which are acceptable under state law. The mistake should have been recognized and corrected as soon as the real meeting was called to order, not covered up or attempted to do so. Every member has a responsiblity to make sure these things are done the right way.
Now, I don’t think there was any ill or devious intent behind the Board’s action. It was simply an error. The problem with errors like this, as I see it, is that once again the public’s interest has been put second. All too often elected officials fail to keep the public’s interest foremost in their actions. They get in a hurry and they forget. That is not acceptable. We elect them to do better than that. We elect them to represent us. So, forgetting is no excuse. Neither is putting ANY other issue in front of their obligation to be open and upfront with the public.
The Board of Education is certainly not the first body or elected official to have a temporary lapse of memory concerning their obligations to the public in regard to their actions. A good elected representative should always keep the way the public views their actions foremost in their mind. Granted you can’t please all the people all the time, but that shouldn’t stop them from trying. Remember the preamble to the WV Open Meetings Law says that elected officials are not charged with deciding what the public has a right to know… I hope the Board of Education is sincere as Brad Shingler says they are, that this is the lasts time we will be talking about this.
On a lighter note… With the beginning of a new year the Braxton County Rotary Club steps up planning for their big fund raising event, their Elimination Dinner. As usual the big day will be the 4th Saturday in March. At the end of this month the club will decide what groups will benefit from the event. We have of course, again earmarked the bulk of the proceeds to local scholarships but if you know of a group or organization that would like to be considered they must provide a written request by the end of month. It may be given to any Rotarian or mailed to: Braxton County Rotary Club, Post Office Box 313, Gassaway, WV 26624.