RFP’s: Request For Proposal and Rationalizing For Procrastination

The goal of this blog is to provide a depository of information regarding the different issues facing the Clarkstown Central School District.  This is not to imply that the district has not made enormous strides in the past 5 years to provide information and transparency to residents.  One excellent example is the use of Board Docs which, among other things and when used properly, provides the public with the agenda of the scheduled Board of Education meetings in advance.   I encourage anyone considering attendance at the meeting tomorrow, October 5th, to view and print a copy of the agenda for the meeting.

Click on the October 5th Meeting on the left, then click on View the Agenda.  The actual agenda is all squished up on the left.  Notice the little Printer icon at the top of the main window to the right – click on that Printer icon, then click on the Detailed Agenda tab to view the entire agenda.

The great thing about the Detailed Agenda is the inclusion of relevant document attachments for public review.  The minutes from the previous meeting are worth reviewing, because the meeting ended in such confusion.  The minutes begin:

“Mrs. Ehrenberg moved, Dr. Lieberman seconded, unanimously approved, to adjourn to Executive Session at 7:05 PM for matters of negotiations and individual personnel matters.”  Dr. Lieberman?  Obviously there’s some confusion as to who was there.

Quite the mix-up.

The confusion continues because it is also noted in the minutes that the motion to adjourn the meeting was moved by Mr. DeGaetano and seconded by Mrs. Ehrenberg.  Take a look at the video record and skip on ahead to the last five minutes of that meeting and see if you see that happening.  Neither do I, because that didn’t happen.

This is important because it has a significant impact on Mr. Malgieri’s motion at the September 8th meeting to accept the Request For Proposal (RFP) and to appoint the Special Education Program Evaluator. 

If the meeting was not properly adjourned, then for all purposes the session – that is, the business of the meeting – was not concluded and this must carry over to the next meeting.  If the meeting and its session were adjourned properly – though it certainly was not adjourned in the manner described in the minutes – then because the motion did not carry in the September 8th meeting, Mr. Malgieri’s motion can only be reconsidered at the next meeting.  It seems a safe assumption that no matter what is argued, the last meeting will be considered properly adjourned by the Board as it opens the meeting tomorrow. 

This raises serious concerns regarding the fate of the RFP for the Special Education Program Evaluator.  Item 1.08 in the agenda includes a review and discussion of that RFP.  But if the RFP is to be acted upon, because it did not carry in the last meeting, it must be acted upon now.  Simply discussing the matter without taking any action is tantamount to killing the RFP entirely.  This scenario is described in Robert’s Rules of Order.

As I have pointed out in this post and in this post, the need for the Special Education Evaluator is not a new issue.  The purpose and scope of the evaluation has been thoroughly explained and will be summarized, again, at this meeting.  As the Board keeps stalling on a decision, they seem less like a Board of Education and more like the People’s Front of Judea.

Right!  This calls for immediate discussion!

This is not an attempt to be alarmist.  I am concerned that an action on this matter is not on the agenda, but the Board can, in fact, review and discuss the RFP and then vote on it.  What is important is that if that last meeting is to be considered properly adjourned, then the vote must take place at this meeting.  If the vote does not take place at this meeting, then it must, by the rules, be argued that the motion and the RFP are done.

I urge residents to come to the meeting tomorrow and insist that a vote take place.  If the RFP is going to be denied, then let it be denied in a decisive manner.  To let it die in endless discussion changes the RFP into a Rationalization For Procrastination that benefits no one.

It must be acknowledged that a number of people have discussed this matter openly with me since I first discussed it here.  This includes several Board members, whose efforts in a voluntary and complex position must always be appreciated.  No one values open discussion and due consideration more than I and, on this matter, I think we have achieved that.

Enough discussion.  Approve the RFP.

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