Haverhill School Committee to Answer Open Meeting Law Fail Relating to Last Fall’s Strike

Haverhill Education Association President Tim Briggs at press conference during October of 2022, outside of union offices. (WHAV News photograph.)

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Three items on the Haverhill School Committee’s agenda tonight center on the body’s apparent closed-door vote to end legal action against the Haverhill teachers’ union to recover costs related to last fall’s strike.

At least one of the items is required because WHAV challenged the legality of the so-called executive session, arguing the Committee failed to state the specific purpose and union on both its agenda and chair’s statement before the executive session, contrary to law. WHAV asked the School Committee to nullify action taken during the executive session, make all related records public and participate in training.

According to a press release from the Haverhill Education Association shortly after the vote took place, School Committee members Scott W. Wood Jr. and Toni Sapienza-Donais lead the effort that resulted in a 5-1 vote to end litigation. The decision came shortly before a state Department of Labor Relations investigator cleared the city of violating labor laws and charged the strike illegally “interfered with, restrained or coerced the School Committee.”

The only active Superior Court case is one brought by the Commonwealth Employment Relations Board and the Haverhill School Committee against the Haverhill Education Association, Massachusetts Teachers Association, Briggs and Christine Hickey in the union roles.

School Committee members Paul A. Magliocchetti and Richard J. Rosa placed an item on tonight’s agenda to discuss Massachusetts Open Meeting Laws and the 10 purposes of executive session, while Wood has items calling for ratification of vote from the last executive session and “discussion and response to open meeting law violation complaint from WHAV by the chair.”

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