Edu-Board meeting violated Open Gov't Law - KUAM.com-KUAM News: On Air. Online. On Demand.

Edu-Board meeting violated Open Gov't Law

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by Michele Catahay

Guam - The vote to reprimand the superintendent at the Department of Education is now null and void - after it was determined that the December 7 meeting where the vote was made didn't meet the Open Government Law.

It took two meetings and hours behind closed doors to determine that the Guam Education Policy Board would take action against DOE Superintendent Dr. Nerissa Bretania Underwood following numerous reports of bullying were reported in the school system. But after seeking a legal opinion from the Attorney General's Office, it was determined that the education board didn't even follow the Open Government Law during its December 7 meeting where a vote to take action against the superintendent took place.

During a scheduled board meeting Monday night, Assistant Attorney General David Highsmith said the failure to follow the law means any action the board took that night is considered null and void.

Board chairman Ron Ayuyu told KUAM News, "We didn't meet the mandate because the advertisement was not proper within the five working days. He declared it that it was not proper for us to conduct the board meeting because the advertisement didn't go out within five working days."

Ayuyu says a meeting hasn't been scheduled for the board until new members are appointed by the Calvo-Tenorio Administration in January. He continued, "I don't know about the reprimand. It's going to be a new game ball for us. So we cannot decide anything right now. We just have to go forward to make sure this doesn't happen. Rest assured that we will advertise for our board meeting, five days."

Board member Joe San Agustin was one of five members who voted to reprimand the superintendent. San Agustin and had plans to make a motion to rescind his vote last night, but that didn't have to happen. "For me to make the motion to withdraw or make a motion to withdraw the reprimand in its entirety was not needed. It was null and void. Even our meeting last night was basically killed on the spot because it did not fulfill the Open Government [Law]," he noted.

With the reprimand dropped, San Agustin says DOE oe needs to move on and learn from its mistakes, adding, "We need to move forward and dust the dirt off our knees and our shoes and let's move on."

In the meantime, Dr. Underwood says although she's happy about not having been served the reprimand, work must continue to address concerns raised by the board and the community. She says she will continue to work to maintain a safe environment for all children.

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