So, it seems that 10 years in as an elected official and I still am learning the ropes. Tonight, to my amazement and surprise, I was to learn that a board corporate can remove an elected trustee’s motion from the agenda by a simple majority vote, rendering their views silent to the constituents they were elected to serve and to whom they are accountable. To date, I was under the impression that democracy would not only allow but would demand that those whom the public has charged with representing them would grant a trustee the absolute authority to bring any issue into public board for discussion, regardless of views held, rational behind the motion or stance on a given issue. Apparently, this is not so or at least not with our board. This begs the question, am I wrong? If so, I would like to gain a better perspective of how such a process works to support ones elected voice in a society built on democratic ideology.
This leads me ponder a concept that I have often deliberated on. Many times in my capacity as trustee I have felt the need to have access to independent legal council, one that is removed from both school board administration and from the board itself. I believe that such a model would be the best avenue to promote a mechanism to access unfettered, objective legal advice. It is my opinion that in-house council is often put in a compromising position as they try to balance the wishes of an administration to which their employment is tied and that of board members. Similarly, board members often find themselves with opposing perspectives from their colleagues, often with one perspective aligning more with administrative goals and objectives. Hence, this scenario has the potential to once again place in-house lawyers in a potentially uncomfortable and conflicted position. As such, I think boards and trustees across the province would benefit immensely if a system were put in place that would provide elected trustees full access and opportunity to consult with an independent lawyer(s) to garner legal perspectives pertaining to important governance, legislative and democratic principals. Additionally, such avenues would help to promote and ensure access to unbiased, and objective perspectives regardless of internal organizational dynamics. Along these lines…consider this my request to government to implement this as not only an important resource but a critical resource to strengthen and better empower boards to govern with authority; authority backed by law.