School board changes executive session practices

NORWICH – The Norwich City school board has adopted a change to its practice of executive session that will bring discussion items once reserved for behind closed doors into a public session, allowing parents and residents of the district to listen in.

Under recommendations from the New York State Department of State Committee on Open Government, the Norwich City school board will now hold grievance hearings during public session. These hearings will be held prior to the public comment portion of each school board meeting, permitting public attendees to chime in later on.

Routinely, grievances of district employees are heard at three different levels: first, to the employee’s immediate supervisor and if the matter isn’t resolved, it then goes to District Superintendent Gerard O’Sullivan. Should the issue still be disputed afterward, it’s brought before the school’s board of education. In the past, such grievances have been called for executive session, omitting the chance that it be heard in public; however, the new change in practice isn’t expected to drastically reduce the number of executive sessions called to order, O’Sullivan explained.

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