Things are changing at the school board meetings

| 26 Jul 2012 | 12:31

WEST MILFORD — The West Milford Board of Education approved revisions to the its meeting protocol last month, revisions that include limiting board members' comments to three minutes per discussion and ending meetings by midnight. The revisions include:

Trustees will keep confidential all matters discussed in executive session and other confidential matters Debate will be conducted through the chair; all questions and comments should be addressed to the chair Individual comments from the audience, with the exception of petitions and requests, are inappropriate and will be addressed by the chair Trustees may not make comments directly to individuals in the audience All meetings will start no later than 8 p.m. per state statute. Trustees are asked to inform the board secretary or board president if they anticipate any lateness, absence, or the need to leave the meeting early to help ensure that a quorum will be present and that business can be acted upon. The board president will make every effort to move the agenda in a quick and efficient manner. Trustees are expected to remain until adjournment. Trustees may direct questions and comments regarding the agenda to the appropriate administrator prior to the meeting so that questions can be answered and/or necessary backup can be brought to the meeting. Additional questions may be raised at the meeting. Trustees should address an issue no more than twice during a discussion for no more than three minutes per discussion. Time may not be donated to other speakers. Board meetings will end at midnight. (Note: Good judgment fades as the members become exhausted.) Trustees should refrain from contacting the board attorney directly. Trustees should preface public comments made outside of public board meetings to specify that they are not speaking on behalf of the board, but as a citizen.

If all business is not complete by midnight, the unfinished agenda items could be tabled to another regular meeting or a special meeting, according to board attorney Paul Green. Robert's Rules of Order, 10th edition, will be the guide for the parliamentary procedure for all meetings except where board polices differ. The revisions, which were authored by school board President Dave Richards, were approved by all members of the school board with the exception of Trustee Jim Foody. Foody said some of the revisions serve to silence minority opinions. Richards said he felt the changes were necessary based on the fact that meetings have continued past midnight, with executive sessions continuing, in some cases, until near 1 a.m., Many of the trustees have jobs to go to the next morning, he added.