THE SAUGUS ADVOCATE – Friday, July 5, 2019 Page 3 The Public’s Right to Know Privatization should have been discussed publicly, newspaper alleges in second Open Meeting Law complaint L ast week’s public vote by the Saugus School Committee (3-2) to privatize custodian services – after emerging from a three-hour Executive Session – was based on private discussion that should have taken place in public, The Saugus Advocate has alleged in an Open Meeting Law complaint against the School Committee and Superintendent of Schools Dr. David DeRuosi, Jr. “Discussing the concept of privatization in secret and then voting on it in secret is not covered by any exemption under the Open Meeting Law,” Saugus Advocate Editor Mark E. Vogler wrote in a complaint he filed last Friday (June 28). “We suggest that this discussion that took place on privatization in Executive Sessions on May 8, June 26 and possibly other times was akin to a budget discussion and should have taken place only in Open Session,” the complaint continues. This was the second recent complaint filed by The Saugus Advocate in response to the School Committee’s decision in secret session to authorize the hiring of a private company to replace 21 school custodians. It is also the latest of nine complaints that have been filed against the School Committee which allege that their decision to privatize violated the Open Meeting Law. Vogler alleged in the document filed with the School Committee and the Town Clerk’s Office that his latest complaint is separate, but related to the June 17 complaint. “Again, we believe there are multiple violations of the Open Meeting Law involved,” the June 28 complaint says. “Following an Executive Session meeting on June 26, 2019, the School Committee convened in Open Session. School Committee Member Linda Gaieski read a motion which she represented as the action taken by the committee at its May 8 Executive Session meeting. The motion was to: ‘Outsource the custodial duties of the Saugus Public Schools with a private cleaning company due to the substantial savings accrued that will be applied to a multifaceted plan to restore and create new educational programs and to continue impact bargaining over separation and termination on June 30, 2019 based upon our discussion today,’” the complaint notes. “We believe that this clearly shows that the School Committee deliberated over budget and performance issues and apparently [took] one or more votes in Executive Session,” it continues. The latest complaint also notes that language in an April 2019 Request For Proposal document suggests the committee had already taken a vote on a matter that should have been put on the agenda and discussed in public session. “Please note the document states: ‘The School Department has decided to outsource the custodial services once the collective bargaining agreement expires,’” the complaint says. “The public vote taken at the June 26 Open Session was based on discussions that took place in private that should have taken place in public. And, as a result of all of these procedural errors, a company was hired to replace 21 custodians in a process that wasn’t public,” it continues. “A decision had been made to privatize before public discussion and a public vote was taken. Decisions were made based on analysis that wasn’t shared with the public.” The newspaper noted in its June 28 complaint that there were similar issues in the recent two complaints that were raised in a complaint against the Saugus School Committee last year, “which were also validated by the state Attorney General’s Division of Open Government.” “Rather than correct previous process errors, this School Committee has become more willful in its effort to skirt the state Open Meeting Law,” the complaint says. “The Committee needs to acknowledge the errors of its ways, invalidate its vote of June 26 and start the process anew.” The School Committee has 14 business days to meet and review the complaint and must respond to the complaint in writing, sending a copy of the complaint along with a description of any action taken to address the matter to the Attorney General’s Auto repair business faces new obstacle By Mark E. Vogler businessman who seeks an auto dealer’s license to go with an auto repair shop at 74 Hamilton St. faces a new obstacle in his dealings with the town. Zalam Daaboul learned at Monday night’s Board of Selectmen’s meeting that he may need to obtain an S-2 permit before he can proceed with future plans at Saugus Auto Repair. The business had been grandfathered as a gas station in the past, but the fuel pumps no longer exist, meaning the primary use of the property has changed, according to Building Commissioner Fred Varone. “The repair garage has had a business certificate for repairs in the past, but because the Use A has changed and the gasoline pumps no longer exist, I feel as the Zoning Officer that the Principle Use Automotive Repair requires an S2 permit,” Varone wrote in an opinion he provided this week to Board of Selectmen Chair Debra Panetta. “Also, if the sale of vehicles is required, the same article requires an S2 permit from the B.O.S. [Board of Selectmen].” Selectmen voted to allow Daaboul to continue the public hearing on his Class II Auto Dealer’s License again, to the board’s next meeting, which is set for 7 p.m. Aug. 14. But Anthony Cogliano, who represented himself as a friend of Daaboul, said he disagreed that the principal use of the property had changed. For 60 years, the business has always been auto repairs, CogliDivision of Open Government. The School Committee must also send The Saugus Advocate a copy of its response. If the newspaper is not satisfied with the School Committee’s response, it can file a copy of its complaint with the state’s Division of Open Government. We Carry... * Lifetime Waterproof Warranty * Ceramic, Porcelain & Stone Tile * Hardwood Prefinished and Unfinished, Do-it-Yourselfer Products! Drop by our Showroom and check out our 250 styles of area rugs and other products! 31 Osprey Rd., Saugus * 781-289-9676 Contact@Russoflooring.com dine drink gather enjoy Live on the Patio Thursday, July 11 at 6 PM THE GROOVE TRIO Friday, July 12 at 9 PM BACK TO THE 80'S Saturday, July 13 at 9 PM Friday, July 19 at 9 PM WILDFIRE ano said. He requested a continuance of the hearing because one selectman was absent and Daaboul’s attorney was not at the meeting. The business has come under criticism from town officials. The main things that have angered the neighbors are numerous cars allegedly being sold illegally on the premises, increased traffic and potential safety problems. Daaboul has said he’s willing to buy the property from 94 Hamilton St. LLC and Selliah Anapayan if his license is approved. He also said he wants to work with town officials in making improvements to the property, which has been the subject of numerous complaints filed by Saugus police over a period of several years. Saturday, July 20 at 9 PM Led Zeppelin Tribute Show IN THE LIGHT THIRD MAN IN w/ Guests: CHARING CROSS Coming September 14th Boston's legendary.. THE STOMPERS Advance Tickets Now on Sale at: www.breakawaydanvers.com 221 Newbury Street, Danvers For Tickets call (978) 774-7270 or www.breakawaydanvers.com

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