Last summer, School Committee member Ted Teichert accused his fellow committee members of violating the Open Meeting Law and filed a complaint with the Attorney General.

Last week, the School Committee was found not to have broken the state law.  

Teichert filed his complaint with the state on July 26, 2017, claiming that the committee held an executive session for "an improper purpose" on June 8 and that the description of that session on the agenda did not fairly identify a litigation issue the committee sought to discuss in private that night. 

"I never felt we violated the Open Meeting Law," said School Committee Chairwoman Susan McCready. "I personally take great care in making sure we do understand the Open Meeting Law and I just felt like the people in Andover deserve to know we did nothing wrong. They have elected us and they deserve to know that we did not commit any violation of the Open Meeting Law."

Teichert first filed his complaint with the committee on June 13, 2017, and received a letter in response from a lawyer representing the School Committee on June 30, 2017. 

During the executive session in question, the committee was speaking with legal counsel about litigation to possibly address multiple public records responses from Jeanne Teichert, wife to Ted Teichert. Ted Teichert felt the description of the executive session ought to have named Jeanne Teichert to be more transparent.

The office of the Attorney General ruled that the committee did not break Open Meeting Law (OML). This decision was issued on Nov. 21. 

Andover Records Access Officer Paul Szymanski wrote a letter on June 26 to the Supervisor of Records at the Secretary of the Commonwealth's Office requesting that the schools, including the School Committee, "be relieved from its obligation to provide copies of records to Ms. Teichert where her requests were frivolous and designed to intimidate and harass the schools."

Jeanne Teichert countered that "the School Committee is not transparent and they violate the Open Meeting Law virtually every meeting in one way or another. The information I request is really important for the public to know. They do not like anyone questioning anything they are doing."She added that she's not the only one trying to get information from the district.

"They got 19 (requests) in one month because there were issues going on at the school," she said. "Parents were not happy and they wanted the information about their kids. They did not feel their needs were being met."

Jeanne Teichert made four public records requests and a student records request between May 9, 2017 and May 30, 2017

"The School Committee, they are the ones who are harassing me," Jeanne Teichert said. "I am just a member of the public trying to get information that should be in the public. Because I am asking questions now they are retaliating against me."

According to Jeanne Teichert, Ted Teichert is considering appealing the decision on his Open Meeting Law complaint. 

The Andover Townsman also made an Open Meeting Law Complaint against the School Committee this fall, noting that executive session minutes released from discussions on Superintendent Sheldon Berman's salary and bonus negotiations had been overly redacted, with entire sentences blacked out so they couldn't be read.

The committee maintained they have the right to redact the minutes because according to them releasing the full minutes would jeopardize future negotiations and nullify the reason why they held an executive session at all. 

Follow Kelsey Bode on Twitter @Kelsey_Bode.


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