Killington, Local News

When is a meeting not a meeting?

By Curt Peterson

The Killington Select Board met as planned on Aug. 24, but the get-together was quickly converted to a “non-meeting” in the words of Select Board member Jim Haff. 

Haff, as a Killington representative on the Windsor Central Unified Union School District board, had attended a 2½-hour open meetings law training session on Aug. 16, education that was required following a complaint by a parent of two students in the district. The Aug. 24 meeting, Haff explained, was not warned according to the letter of the open meetings law, and, therefore, the board could not hold an actual meeting.

“We can’t vote on anything, or make any decisions tonight,” he said. “We can only discuss the issues.”

“Can we approve the agenda?” Select Board chair Steve Finneron asked.

“No,” Haff said. “And we can’t approve the minutes of the last meeting either.”

And so the evening proceeded with no action taken on liquor control licensing issues nor approval of town or golf course financial reports. A proposed procurement policy, required for the planning commission to move forward on the town improvement funding, had to be tabled, Haff said.

“We went over the financial for July, that’s all we did,” Haff added. That  type of work falls under the exception to open meeting laws, under clerical work category. 

“But this is important — we need to warn a special meeting as soon as possible to get that procurement policy approved, and the TIF process started,” he said.

Town Manager Chet Hagenbarth promised to properly warn a special meeting for Thursday, Aug. 26 at 3 p.m. so the business left hanging at the end of the non-meeting could be taken care of. 

There was no official meeting, so adjournment was also prohibited. The Select Board members said “Good night” and the Zoom screen went blank.

Was it a quorum? All three Select Board members were present, and they were discussing clerical work (July town financials), albeit not voting or taking action. 

There is no definition provided for a “non-meeting.” Haff assured the Mountain Times that every part of the discussion during the “non-meeting” was repeated for the public at the properly-warned Thursday redux.

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