Justin Q. Public, Unwanted
Apparently — as the janitor informed me when I hopped out of the minivan with bloggerbag (aka a canvas briefcase) in hand — the union and the Tiverton school committee have decided to take eleven days off. So, no school committee meeting tonight.
The way things operate ’round here, it’s as if the interested citizen is meant to learn to decipher, over the course of a few months, some hidden message in the town’s meeting schedule saying, “Participation not encouraged.”
I’m sure that town officials of various stripes have sat through their share of meetings with no public participation and have therefore decided not to waste their time meeting for the benefit of empty rooms. But the flip side of that decision is that the public has ever less reason to attend.
Couldn’t the school committee have announced (and publicized) an opportunity for interested citizens to comment on the contract negotiations? It might be that the first effort at that sort of a meeting would feel like time wasted, but if such opportunities were expected, they would be better attended.
In the meantime, I guess I’ll chalk it up to a victory for the union — albeit a minor one, as modesty requires me to admit — that there will be no first-hand observations of hostile behavior posted on Anchor Rising this evening. (Of course, a backfire could be seen in the fact that I now have more time tonight to ponder broader matters and to do some organizational-type thinking.)