Halton Hills and North Halton newspapers
OPINION... Quorum concerns
Independent & Free Press (Georgetown, ON), 4 Apr 2007, p. 6

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Failure to attain a quorum for a recent special meeting is the latest indication of a widening rift among trustees of the Halton Catholic District School Board. Director of Education Lou Piovesan said last week's failure to meet quorum marked the first time in his 25 years the board couldn't conduct its business due to poor trustee turnout. While the hastily called March 27 meeting was short on agenda details, all nine school board trustees were sent notice of the meeting at least four days in advance. The special meeting was called by board chair Al Bailey (Burlington), who wanted fellow trustees to receive a legal review of their roles and responsibilities. Bailey believes a recent board decision may have violated the board's own policies. At the centre of this gathering political storm is a pilot school uniform project planned for this fall at two Halton Catholic elementary schools -- St. Gabriel in Burlington and Guardian Angels in Milton. While Bailey has accused fellow trustees of ignoring policy in order to push the pilot project through, Burlington trustee Bob Van de Vrande disagrees and is very frank about his decision not to attend last week's special meeting. "We can't continually be asked to revisit decisions that have been made. I don't see any point for the meeting. I don't see any point in (resuming) it," Van de Vrande said. Of the nine trusteees elected to the board last fall, only Bailey and Oakville's Alice Anne LeMay and Ed Viana showed up for the meeting; at least two more trustees were required to conduct official board business. Four of the other five absent trustees-- including Halton Hills' Rosanna Palmieri-- said they had prior commitments, while Milton's Rev. David Wilhelm never returned a reporter's calls. Regardless of their differing points of view, trustees owe it to students, parents and fellow trusteees to attend meetings-- if only to uphold their position. The sudden absence of two-thirds of the board's elected officials seems suspicious, and in Van de Vrande's case, a difference of opinion does not justify skipping a scheduled meeting of the board he was elected to serve.

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4 Apr 2007
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OPINION... Quorum concerns