I came across the following information on Facebook about a complaint that was submitted on December 18, 2019 to the Open Meetings Act (OMA) Compliance Board about the Howard County Board of Education and thought I would document it on the blog. Here is the text of the Facebook post:
In a statement made at the HCPSS Board of Education meeting on December 17, 2019 , Chair Ellis repeatedly emphasized that the Board did not intend to violate the Open Meetings Act —- that it was not done so willingly.
However, with evidence that the Board has been frequently disregarding these Open Meetings Act rules via email prior to the apparent violation during the meeting on November 21st, it is hard to believe that the violation did not occur willingly, or at least with willful neglect. Instead of a one-time mistake, this appears to be a recurring willful neglect for the rules established in the Open Meetings Act by Chair Ellis and other members of the Board.
With such willful neglect for the rules, why did Mavis Ellis earn four votes towards retaining her position as Chair of the BOE for another year and refuse to relinquish this position after repeated voting sessions ending in 4-4 ties?
Here are the images associated with the public post (click images to view larger versions):
Allegation 1: The Howard County Board of Education is violating the Open Meetings Act by regularly meeting in a quorum over electronic communication without proper exceptions allowing then to meet in a closed meeting.
Allegation 2: The Howard County Board of Education is violating the Open Meetings Act by not frequently not presenting closed meeting minutes at their next open meeting.
Allegation 3: The Board of Education violated the Open Meetings Act on November 21, 2019 as alleged in a previous complaint filed the same day.
We should know in a couple of weeks the response to these allegations.