January 9, 2023 School Board Meeting
I was sworn in prior to the start of this board meeting. The first board meeting of the year requires the selection of officers. I did feel I had no real choices as I was not in a place to put myself in the ring and be an officer. However, due to the nature of the election and subsequent information, I would vote differently if held today.
Warrick and Boyn chosen as Primary Corporation School Attorney.
I was given glowing reports about this law firm prior to this vote. I no longer believe those are accurate. Next year, I will consider this differently. Some notes on the issue of school attorneys for the public to consider:
Indiana has a Public Access Counselor who provides insight and determinations on compliance with Indiana's Open Door Laws. "The Open Door Law (“ODL”)(Ind. Code 5-14- 1.5), originally passed by the Indiana General Assembly in 1977 and most recently amended in 2016, was enacted to permit the public access to meetings held by public agencies." - Office of the Public Access Counselor, Handbook on Indiana’s Public Access Laws, Pg. 5
In their handbook on Public Access Laws, they provide case examples showing how compliance is maintained in different situations, including correspondence with attorneys. "Public agencies may not seek legal advice from their attorneys in private about matters which are not related to litigation. Simon v. City of Auburn, Ind., Bd. of Zoning Appeals, 519 N.E.2d 205 (Ind. App. 3d Dist. 1988)." Handbook on Indiana’s Public Access Laws, Pg. 23
Under Indiana Law, a public agency is:
IC 5-14-3-2 (q) "Public agency", except as provided in section 2.1 of this chapter, means the following:
(1) Any board, commission, department, division, bureau, committee, agency, office, instrumentality, or authority, by whatever name designated, exercising any part of the executive, administrative, judicial, or legislative power of the state.
(A) county, township, school corporation, city, or town, or any board, commission, department, division, bureau, committee, office, instrumentality, or authority of any county, township, school corporation, city, or town;
(B) political subdivision (as defined by IC 36-1-2-13); or
(C) other entity, or any office thereof, by whatever name designated, exercising in a limited geographical area the executive, administrative, judicial, or legislative power of the state or a delegated local governmental power.
(3) Any entity or office that is subject to:
(A) budget review by either the department of local government finance or the governing body of a county, city, town, township, or school corporation; or
(B) an audit by the state board of accounts that is required by statute, rule, or regulation.
(4) Any building corporation of a political subdivision that issues bonds for the purpose of constructing public facilities.
(5) Any advisory commission, committee, or body created by statute, ordinance, or executive order to advise the governing body of a public agency, except medical staffs or the committees of any such staff.
This is a subject I am looking at in reference to our openness and accountability with the general public as our attorney does not regularly attend board meetings.
Responsible Bidder Policy
This topic has been heard twice and has not been brought forward for a vote. My concern is the union support of this and the self serving nature of it, evidenced by the fact that in areas where the policy has been put in place there has been a marked increase in unionized workers over non-unionized ones. This is largely tied to the requirements for contractors to have an approved apprentice program. See: "That’s why responsible bidder ordinances increase the market share of union contractors by between 9 percent and 13 percent." Source: The Impact of Responsible Bidder Ordinances on Union Contractors in Illinois and Indiana, pg. i. I believe a good policy on how to handle bids is advisable and provides safeguards for public agencies. However, I believe this can be done without the union implications and without association with Indiana, Illinois, Iowa Foundation for Fair Contracting.