She argues that the possibility of critical comments being made is the same as the actual disciplining of the superintendent - thus justifying a closed meeting - even though her own superintendent thought the whole experience was positive. If Superintendent Sheldon Berman was disciplined, he didn't know it.
I can certainly think of many reasons why a district would want to operate in confidence. A public meeting in a place like Jefferson County (or anyplace, really) could become very difficult to manage - what with the public clamouring for accountability over the Max Gilpin tragedy. Perhaps 1000 disgruntled union teachers would want to add a grumbling voice to their recent survey. Surely there are a few hundred parents who might want to spend an evening expressing their displeasure over not getting their child into the school they wanted.
But on the law? This looks like a winner for the Courier to this casual observer.
This from Toni Konz at C-J:
JCPS board defends closed session on Berman
JCPS says opinion isn't binding
The chairwoman of the Jefferson County school board said Thursday that board members did nothing wrong when they evaluated Superintendent Sheldon Berman in a closed session in June, despite a state attorney general's opinion that such evaluations should be public.
After The Courier-Journal filed a complaint Monday about the closed-session evaluation, Debbie Wesslund issued a letter saying the attorney general's opinion "is not binding on the Jefferson County Board of Education."
The board "complied with (the attorney general's opinion) and the Kentucky Open Meetings Act, since there was reason to believe that there would be discussions conducted by the board that might have led to discipline of the superintendent," Wesslund wrote.
Jon Fleischaker, an attorney representing The Courier-Journal, said Thursday that the newspaper will file an appeal with Attorney General Jack Conway.
"We do not believe it is adequate to say that certain things might come up (during the closed session)," Fleischaker said. "They have to have more than a slim possibility that something could come up in order to go into closed session."
The newspaper's complaint stems from the June 29 closed meeting, in which board members discussed Berman's job performance during the past year as part of his annual evaluation. Following the session, the board issued a public statement commending Berman.
In a telephone interview Thursday night, Wesslund said that the board "did not discipline (Berman) on any specific issues."
"We pointed out areas of improvement," she said. "There was a possibility of discipline because there are seven board members and we each have different
Berman said Thursday he thought his evaluation was positive. He also said he was "not aware of any consideration of discipline."...