"Real liberty is neither found in despotism or the extremes of democracy, but in moderate governments.
Alexander Hamilton

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Change to "Non-Meeting" Under the Right-to-Know Law Proposed.

As the BoS met in a " non- meeting" this past Thursday prior to our regular business meeting, this proposed legislation is timely. The Right to Know law states that meetings do not include strategy or negotiations with respect to collective bargaining or consultation with legal counsel. Hence when we discuss the Collective Bargaining Agreement it is a " non meeting."
Not an easy concept to grasp. We're meeting, but not really meeting but we do make decisions by consensus on strategy for these negotiations. In reality it is a "meeting" just not one as currently defined by the Right to Know law. 
The proposal under HB 181 adds the following to RSA 91-A: "A public body which holds a non-meeting for the purposes of subparagraphs (1)(A)-(D) shall state the reason for the non-meeting, limit discussion to only the stated topic, take attendance, and keep a record of when the non-meeting began and ended."
I believe that this is a good idea and should be adopted. It places no additional burden on the public body and enhances transparency while still maintaining the necessary confidentiality. 
The sponsor of the bill,  Rep. Cali-Pitts, Rockingham district 30 is a Democrat, so the likelihood of it passing the house or even getting out of committee in the current partisan climate is not very good. Hopefully, our legislature can learn to work together just a bit more and remember that they were elected to represent all their constituents and that sometimes, good ideas can come from across either side of the aisle.

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

This BOS has to go into closed door session and come to grips with our Town Administrator problem. It is a shame that two members are leaving the board, and leaving us stuck with our Mis-Match. Both worked hard, but their legacy will not be pretty if they don't step up to the plate.

Josh Bartlett said...

Has anyone checked with our reps? I think this is a good idea; anything that increases transparency while protecting privacy when necessary will give us more confidence in our government.

Joe Cormier/jcormier2@myfairpoint.net said...





HB 181 text:

http://www.gencourt.state.nh.us/legislation/2015/HB0181.html

Due out of committee in March:

http://www.gencourt.state.nh.us/bill_status/bill_status.aspx?lsr=96&sy=2015&sortoption=billnumber&txtsessionyear=2015&txtbillnumber=HB181

Sponsor: only

http://www.gencourt.state.nh.us/house/members/member.aspx?member=376191