The state charter commission held their organizational meeting on August 27, 2015.  At best, one can only conclude that they have conducted business since then in a very haphazard manner.

For instance, a close examination of commission minutes (some of which are posted on-line and some of which are not) shows the only election for chair and vice-chair was at the first meeting in 2015.  However, their bylaws clearly state that terms of both are for one year.  Which means there should be an election each year.

Ed Richardson was picked as chair at the first meeting.  Thomas Rains and Gloria Batts were picked as co-vice-chairs. But when Richardson became interim state school superintendent in 2017 minutes say that Mac Buttram moved from vice-chair to chair  But when was he elected vice-chair?  The minutes don’t say.

Minutes from April 25, 2017 say the commission would elect officers at the May 2017 meeting.  But if an election was held in May 2017, the minutes say nothing about it.

The only mention of another election came at the September 22, 2017 meeting when Mac Buttram called for a motion to elect a vice-chair since he had moved to chair.  Henry Nelson of Birmingham was elected.

Complying with by-laws is basic behavior for any organization.  Let’s hope the five new charter commission members just selected will insist on doing so.

And speaking of minutes, ones for the commission are simply not thorough enough for the public to understand what is really going on  For example, the minutes of February 4, 2019 say Mac Buttram introduced David Marshall as a new commissioner.  Who did he replace?  The minutes don’t say.

I am secretary of the board for the national Rural Schools Collaborative.  Minutes are not distributed to the board without me first reviewing them for accuracy and for making sure they reflect what happened at a particular board meeting.  The charter commission is a public body.  They should be held to a higher standard than they have exhibited in the last four years.

They should also post their agenda publicly at least one week prior to a meeting.  This has not been the case.  In fact, the agenda is not available to the public until they show up for a commission meeting.

When Woodland Prep was given a one-year extension on June 7, board member Henry Nelson asked why no one from Washington County  attended the meeting.

It was because they did not know discussion of an extension was on the agenda.  Had they known, they would have been there.  But it is 175 miles from Chatom to Montgomery and you don’t hop in your car and make that drive unless you have a good reason.

This is a 10-member commission.  Five new members were chosen August 8.  Two others have been selected since the first of the year.  In other words, there is a new sheriff in town.  Let’s hope he demands this commission show more accountability and act professionally..