Oct 13/15: Operations Policy and Planning: The Record Off The Record: Is This A Meeting?

The Manager of Labor Relations and Legal Services reviewed the memo which addresses three critical points which can determine if an email conversation constitutes a “meeting” and gives examples of email communications that clearly are not “meetings”. The memo suggests the 2012 document “Open Meetings: Best Practices” from the Office of the BC Ombusdman as a useful resource.

P1

October 2015
October 2015

P1: Disclaimer / Backgrounder
P2: Operations Policy and Planning  Standing Committee Report
P3: SD61 Applicable Bylaws / Standing Committees / BC School Boards Letters Link
P4: District PAC (aka DPAC, VCPAC) Constitution excerpts / School Act re DPACs

The Record Off The Record is  my personal record of and  commentary on SD61 Board and  Standing Committee meetings.

Regular transgressions of this important principle  below have regularly derailed debate:

Robert’s Rules of Order 11th Edition: Debate on the Question p 42 / p 43: “Speakers must address their remarks to the Chair. Debate must be confined to the merits of the pending question. ..and…should avoid injecting a personal tone into debate. …they must never attack or make any allusion to the motives of members.” // p 392: “The measure, not the member, is the subject of debate.”

As well, this article of SD61 Bylaw 9368 Procedure has not evr been enforced until the September Board meeting  as a result of my  Point of Order. Bylaws are kind of a big deal. Consistently enforcing this Bylaw could really focus debate in SD61 Board meetings.

“104.02 Trustees shall be permitted to debate only upon a motion, as herein provided, and each trustee shall be limited to the opportunity to speak once to any motion,…

Meeting agendas posted on SD61 website Friday before the meeting.

A record of motions carried is on SD61 website, but  motions that fail are equally interesting. (Motions appear in the minutes, along with vote, but not officially until a month after the meeting.)

Next Meetings
Mon Oct 19/15 7:30 pm Board
Mon Nov 2/15 7 pm Education Policy
Mon Nov 9 7:30 pm OPPS
Mon Nov 16 7:30 pm Board

Links for more info /sources in blue.

SD61 Greater Victoria School District serves students in Esquimalt, Oak Bay, Victoria, View Royal, parts of Saanich and the Highlands, and the Traditional Territories of the Songhees and Esquimalt Nations.

Trustees and student representatives are referred to by last name only for brevity; “The Board of Education of SD No. 61 (Greater Victoria)” is referred to as “the Board”. No audio or video recordings are made of Standing Committee meetings, only of Board meetings. [No record of how the audio recording decision was made, or any debate on proposed uses of and storage of the record appears to exist. However, the video recording was debated at length in 2014 OPPS meetings.]

Motions may be shortened but retain essential wording. Seconders not noted (and not required in Standing Committees).

In Camera meetings/ Section 72 Reports

  • Legally required reports posted beside relevant meeting on SD61 website.
  • “Section 72” refers to Section 72 (3) BC School Act :  “ A board must prepare a record containing a general statement as to the nature of the matters discussed and the general nature of the decisions reached at a meeting from which persons other than trustees or officers of the board, or both, were excluded, and the record must be open for inspection at all reasonable times by any person, who may make copies and extracts on payment of a fee set by the board.” [Antique process now that these are posted online.]
  • Any report beyond very basic one required must be done by in camera motion / majority vote.
  • SD61 Bylaw 9360.1: “In-camera items that may be discussed confidentially include legal, property, personnel and privacy matters as defined by provincial legislation. Full board meetings must be held in public unless the board decides that it is in the public’s interest to hold a private session (closed or in-camera meeting). However, it is important not to abuse this power. Potential controversy or embarrassment to the board is not usually sufficient reasons for an in-camera meeting.
  • Civic governments bound by Community Charter (except City of Vancouver); move into in camera meetings by public motion of Council. Public has to leave for  duration of secret meeting, then come back. School Boards governed by  BC School Act which states that Chairs can set in camera meetings before public meetings.

Trustees  are assigned by the Chair as members of one of the two standing committees, Education  Policy and Operations Policy and Planning. Agenda setting is the prerogative of the Chair, with input from senior administration.

OPPS: Chair Leonard; McNally, Paynter, Whiteaker (ex officio Loring-Kuhanga)
Ed Policy: Chair Nohr; Ferris, Orcherton, Watters (ex officio Loring-Kuhanga)

External Trustee Liaison assignments are made by  the Board Chair to groups which replied “yes” to last year’s  District query re their desire to have a Trustee liaison, so the are fewer than for the 2012-2015  Board term, and for many years before that. [No one has been able to find a contact for  Vancouver Island Labour Relations Association since I started asking a few years ago,so my position as elected rep to VILRA may not last for as many years as the previous rep’s did.]

Assign & Family of Schools JAN.15

 

  • June 15/15: McNally:  That the Board approve that all Trustees appointed by the Chair to an external body be required to submit a written report to the Board via the Chair in December and June of each school year as part of the Trustee Report agenda item, reports to be included as part of the Board agenda packup, beginning December 2015. / Carried as amended , 1x a year.  For: Ferris, Loring-Kuhanga, McNally, Nohr, Paynter, Watters, Whiteaker  Against: Leonard. Abstain: Orcherton
  • June 15/15: McNally: That the Board approve that all Trustees appointed to internal committees – the Needs Budget Advisory Committee, District Culture and Community Committee, District Gay Straight Alliance, Aboriginal Nations Education Committee and the French Immersion Advisory Committee be required to submit a written report to the Board via the Chair in December and June of each school year as part of the Trustee Report agenda item, reports to be included as part of the Board agenda packup, beginning December 2015./ Carried. For: Ferris, Loring-Kuhanga, McNally, Nohr, Paynter, Watters, Whiteaker  Against: Ferris, Leonard, Orcherton

Trustee attendance:

  • Trustees don’t “have to”  attend Standing Committee if not assigned. Standing  committee structure operates on  special  Rules of Order.
  •  SD61 now has an Attendance Manager to “encourage and support” return to work for employees (even though SD61 employees generally below provincial average in sick days, and generally under number of negotiated available days in Collective Agreements, and have union-contracted return to work provisions through their own providers). This will soon be mandated by the Ministry of Education for all school districts.
  • School Act, BC: Trustee disqualification from holding office: 52 (2): Trustees can miss almost 3 months of meetings – just not show up – ie. miss 6 Standing Committees, and 2 Board meetings, with no reason given, no cut in pay, and no approval required from the Board.