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Three BOE candidates against proposed changes to meetings

January 22, 2008|By ERIN CUNNINGHAM

WASHINGTON COUNTY ? Three candidates running for a seat on the Washington County Board of Education said Tuesday that they are against some proposed changes to the way the board conducts meetings.

The board considered some changes to policies that affect school board meetings and the rules of order that govern those meetings. The board voted 5-2 to move forward with those proposals. Board members Wayne D. Ridenour and Ruth Anne Callaham were opposed.

Candidate and former Board Member Jacqueline B. Fischer said Tuesday that while there is a need to revise and consolidate board policies, the proposed changes "render them vague and go against both the board's goal of customer and stakeholder satisfaction and the established board norms for most of the school districts in Maryland."

Candidate and former Board Member Russell F. Williams II and candidate Justin Hartings also said Tuesday that they are against some of the proposed policy changes. The primary election is Feb. 12. Nine candidates are vying for four open seats on the board.

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All three said they were against the elimination of Robert's Rules of Order as the guiding parliamentary procedure used for meetings. The board's current policy states that Robert's Rules should be followed.

However, Williams gave examples saying that the board does not follow its own policy.

Hartings said that a future board might not work well together and will need Robert's Rules of Order as a guiding principle. The proposed change eliminates Robert's Rules and instead states that the board shall follow "parliamentary procedures."

Board Member Bernadette M. Wagner said that parliamentary procedure allows more dialogue, which will benefit the public. She said that is lacking in Robert's Rules.

However, the exhibit presented with that change mentions Robert's Rules. Fischer said that is confusing.

"Why would the board strike Robert's Rules only to adopt an exhibit that demonstrates the benefits of Robert's Rules," Hartings said.

He said that if the board believes that Robert's Rules do not work well, they should modify and establish their own standing rules or adopt some other form of parliamentary procedure.

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