New Catholic trustee push­ing for some change

Medicine Hat News - - HOMETOWN NEWS - TIM KALI­NOWSKI tkali­nowski@medicine­hat­ Twit­ter: MHNTimKal

Newly-elected Medicine Hat Catholic Board of Ed­u­ca­tion trustee David Leahy wasted no time in chal­leng­ing the sta­tus quo in his sec­ond full public meet­ing as a board mem­ber.

Leahy in­tro­duced four sep­a­rate no­tices of mo­tion for the next public meet­ing on Dec. 12. These in­cluded the elim­i­na­tion of the $65 monthly sub­sidy trustees get for cell­phone us­age, the re­quire­ment for trustees to now sub­mit writ­ten re­ports for public dis­sem­i­na­tion from all their com­mit­tee work and board-re­lated meet­ings, and he sug­gested us­age of a “Catholic Ed­u­ca­tion” cat­e­gory in ev­ery board agenda pack­age to ex­plic­itly high­light ef­forts the district is mak­ing in its schools in that re­spect.

And fi­nally, Leahy in­tro­duced a no­tice of mo­tion to re­quire all district em­ploy­ees take a “Vi­o­lence and Ver­bal Abuse Risk As­sess­ment” ques­tion­naire to help the board ad­dress any po­ten­tial con­cerns about vi­o­lence or ha­rass­ment in the work­place.

None of these items were dis­cussed at the board meet­ing on Tues­day night; as they will not be voted on by trustees un­til the next public meet­ing in De­cem­ber.

Leahy also made a sub­se­quent mo­tion which would elim­i­nate the closed-door pol­icy at the board’s monthly “Com­mit­tee of the Whole” meet­ings so they would now be open to the public and the press. Com­mit­tee of the Whole meet­ings usu­ally take place prior to the public meet­ings, and al­low the trustees more time to dis­cuss, in depth, spe­cific ar­eas of con­cern in district pol­icy or prac­tices.

Leahy said his mo­ti­va­tion for want­ing to make these meet­ings public was about cre­at­ing greater ac­count­abil­ity and trans­parency at the board level. Leahy re­ceived sup­port on this change from fel­low trustee Peter Grad.

“We have been clos­ing the door for years, but of­fi­cially it is a public meet­ing,” he said. “We would still go in cam­era for the usual things any­way. I wouldn’t be op­posed to mak­ing it known to the public these Com­mit­tee of the Whole meet­ings are not in cam­era ses­sions.”

The other trustees also ap­peared to be in agree­ment on mak­ing the change, and Grad sug­gested first read­ing on Leahy’s mo­tion be held on Dec.12.


MHCBE trustee David Leahy used his sec­ond full meet­ing as an elected mem­ber to push forth an am­bi­tious agenda for greater trans­parency in the board’s public deal­ings.

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