Validity of Motion to Revive LBI School Referendum Unclear

By Gina G. Scala | Nov 27, 2019
Photo by: Jack Reynolds

Ship Bottom — The admissibility of a September motion to reconsider one defeated three weeks earlier when a majority of the LBI Consolidated Board of Education failed to garner enough votes to advance plans for a $7.68 million referendum is up for interpretation, according to the tenets of the 19th century parliamentary procedure manual used by the school board.

In the simplest of terms, Roberts Rules of Order, the most widely utilized reference of parliamentary procedure in the country, includes a time sequence for when a motion that is being reconsidered can be revived.

“It can be made only on the day the vote to be reconsidered was taken, or on the next succeeding day, a legal holiday or recess not being counted as a day,” according to section 36 under Article VI of the manual.

At the time, board attorney Anthony Sciarrillo explained that board member John McMenamin could bring the failed motion back for consideration because he was part of the majority that voted it down. The manual does confirm Sciarrillo’s explanation, noting any board member, regardless of how they voted initially, can second the motion to be reconsidered.

Sciarrillo did not return phone calls as of press deadline, but in September he did not endorse the board’s action and instead offered an opportunity for board President William Fenimore to shut down the meeting.

“I am kind of embarrassed by what has gone on here tonight,” Sciarrillo said at the Sept. 17 meeting after recommending the board take a step back to learn more about what direction taxpayers want to see the district take. “This is not legal advice, but the recommendation of someone who has more than 37 years dealing with school boards and who has attended more than 3,000 board meetings.”

He recommended that the board schedule three or four public meetings, without agendas, to gain a better understanding of what the public would like to see from the district going forward.  —G.G.S.

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