So the first public meeting was held last night regarding the HCPSS redistricting plan. There was a VERY specific sign up procedure for the public in order to provide public testimony at that meeting. But I guess when you are an elected member in office today…those rules do not apply to you. Delegate Terri Hill was call upon yesterday evening to testify…here is that testimony:

To be clear…here are the first 33 people (of the 76 signed up to testify) last night…click the image to see everyone signed up:

So…many students were pushed back because the Chair of the Howard County Board of Education (HoCoBOE) called upon an elected member (Delegate Hill)…who did not sign up to testify…to testify publicly….when the students were supposed to be testifying.

To be clear…I have no problems with what Delegate Hill said…I have no issues about political parties in this…it has to do with the process…because I feel comfortable to say that had I shown up…I would not have been allowed to testify…and sure as heck would not have been invited to interrupt the students testifying.

Now I do not want to turn the redistricting discussions into political discussions…but dang it…it keeps dragging more and more that way. Is this about politics or about taking care of the kids of this county?

If there are rules…there should be rules for everyone. It is not like the political officials do not already have direct access to HoCoBOE members…so what was the point of last night?

I am pretty spun up again…and will continue to be watching the HoCoBOE closely in this process. We ALL should be fairly represented in this process. No party or elected official should get preferential treatment in this process…not when the HoCoBOE has made very specific rules in order to testify.

Registration is required only for those who wish to testify. All other members of the public may attend without registering. Pre-registration will be available only by phone or in person. There will be no online pre-registration, nor will there be registration on site at a hearing.

Have thoughts…let me know in the comments.

ARTICLE UPDATE: Folks are questioning if the HoCoBOE allowing Delegate Hill to speak is within or outside of current policies. Here is Policy 2040 – Public Participation in Meetings of the Board. Give it a read and you tell me if registration to speak is required for elected officials or not required based on this policy. I have my opinions…but others think I may be wrong.

Scott E

18 COMMENTS

  1. Absolutely, that poor student had to sit and awkwardly listen while she grandstanded. Chairwoman Ellis needs to explain why she chose to violated the rules in order to allow a supporter of the proposal to speak.

    • I am appalled by Chairwoman Ellis. She has not shown professionalism. She should be politically neutral when it comes to redistricting, instead, injecting her political agenda into every steps of this process. She removed the need of board of AAC member approval by the BOE so she can have County Exectutive’s people (5 of them) on the board. She communicated with the county council exclusively when it comes to CR 112. She preferentially treated elected politicians to testify at her hearings to support her agenda. I said it before, and I will say it again, Ellis is a politician who does not care about our kids! She doesn’t belong on BOE and should be voted out in 2020!

  2. You do realize this IS the normal procedure, right? It is always done. It is done in County Council meetings also. Might try doing a little research before posting.

    • You do realize your Normal Procedure is causing Thousands to Protest? Take a deeper look, if you can, at the issues at hand. Your efforts to desensitize are recognized, move along…

  3. Following normal procedure is not the same as having “special rules”. Elected officials are almost always acknowledged and invited to speak when they show up at an event, whether or not it was planned ahead of time and regardless of when they arrive. This is not unusual for the HoCo Board of Education, not should it be. Any elected official representing Howard County constituents would be extended the same courtesy.

  4. I wonder how Terri Hill knows what is best for OUR children and we don’t?? so County should take over our household as well?busing them away from their local school for sake of some numbers?how about they they show compassion and civility for all citizens! We deserve better leaders who represent not supress us!!!

  5. I have no problem with her speaking when she did or frankly what she said. This is despite the fact that I don’t agree with most of her commentary. I do however believe that the intent of “Section C. Public Hearings” is that all “speakers” should be registered.

    So she should have been registered to speak. If she wasn’t it isn’t the end of the world.

    Additionally, I think she should also be required to provide written copies of her testimony to the BOE. While these rules allow “elected” officials to speak when they want to they do not provide any language as to exempt them from providing “… fifteen (15) copies of their testimony for distribution to Board members and staff.”

  6. Sorry you’re wrong. Here are the two relevant rules:

    6. A sign-up for registration will be available at the public hearings for individuals who do not pre-register, but wish to provide testimony. Individuals who register at the time of the public hearing will testify in the order in which they registered after those who pre-registered have testified.

    8. Speakers at a public hearing will testify in the order in which they registered, except that students will be permitted to testify at the beginning of the public hearing, and elected officials will be given the courtesy of being placed at the time of their choice on the agenda

    How is that not clear. Stop grasping at straws to find any way to criticize the process. It just makes you look petty, foolish and unable to read the rules.

    • Unfortunately, they are changing the rules, not allowing on site sign up this time. We were even told only 10 students are allowed for each session on the first day of sign up for session3. After voicing our objection, they finally say it is open to all students.

  7. Agree, shame on BoE Chair woman Ellis violating established rules. If people allows this situation happen again and again, then why we need a law and rules, we can do whatever we can. Then, why redistricting? People are too gentle.

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