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INDICATORS

Smoke-Filled Room

Indicators: Oct. 19

October 19, 2011, 12:00 am

 Feb. 15  was the originally scheduled date for the Santa Fe Public Schools Board of Education meeting in which Superintendent Bobbie Gutierrez’ contract was renewed for an additional year.

Feb. 17 was the date the meeting actually took place.


"The meeting wasn’t moved at the last minute. We knew the meeting was changing dates two weeks prior, at the previous board meeting. That’s why it’s unusual that it wasn’t properly noticed."—-SFPS BoE Member Steve Carrillo


A complaint filed with the state Attorney General’s Office this month could have implications for Gutierrez’ contract length.


The compliant, filed Oct. 1 by Santa Fean Peter McCarthy, alleges that SFPS violated the state Open Meetings Act by failing to provide required public notice of the Feb. 17 meeting. The BoE holds its regular meetings every other Tuesday, and the meeting in question was posted on the website as taking place Tuesday, Feb. 15, McCarthy’s complaint alleges. McCarthy claims the correct date also wasn’t published in a newspaper, as required under the school district’s Open Meetings Resolution. A Santa Fe New Mexican article referring to the meeting taking place Feb. 15 is among McCarthy’s submissions supporting his argument.


Under the state Open Meetings Act, any action taken by a policymaking body at a meeting that wasn’t properly noticed is invalid—raising the question of whether Gutierrez’ contract extension should be declared null and void.


Carrillo confirms that the meeting wasn’t properly noticed, saying, “Some things are black and white.” 


BoE President Barbara Gudwin tells SFR that, as far as she knows, the meeting was properly noticed, but she “can’t respond on the legality of what we did or didn’t do.” Gudwin says she can’t remember why the meeting date was moved, but Carrillo can.


“The meeting was changed so President Gudwin and the superintendent could attend a conference in Denver,” Carrillo says. 


He also says his understanding is that Gutierrez’ contract extension was invalid, “but it’s an issue we would certainly have to revisit as a board.”

 

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