FARMINGTON – Regional School Unit 9 Director Craig Stickney of Chesterville has raised concerns that his confidentiality has been breached in a Freedom of Access Act request made by a citizen.
On Nov. 7, Scott Gray of Chesterville requested copies of emails RSU 9 Chairman Cherieann Harrison sent to Stickney between Oct. 1 and Nov. 4. According to information provided by Gray, the request was filled on Nov. 26.
Included in the request was an email dated Tuesday, Oct. 23. The email informed Stickney he was the subject of an executive session that had been added to the agenda for that evening’s meeting.
“I wanted to make you aware, in advance of tonight’s meeting, that we are having the second executive session to go over some recent incidents that you have been involved in,” Harrison said in the email.
The original agenda was released on Friday, Oct. 19. An amended agenda was released on Oct. 23 at 11:40 a.m. The email informing Stickney the executive session was in regard to him was sent at 3:49 p.m.
With just over 3 hours to prepare, Stickney said, “I was not properly notified or given enough time to respond. I did not have enough time to have my attorney present, if needed.”
Stickney left the Oct. 23 school board meeting following regular business. The board went into executive session. No action was taken following the session.
The school board policy states: The superintendent, in cooperation with the chair, shall prepare an agenda for each meeting and have it delivered with supporting information to each board member so that he/she will typically have this material at least 48 hours prior to each regular meeting or work session meeting or 24 hours prior to each special meeting except an emergency special meeting.
The amendment to the agenda did not indicate the executive session was an emergency.
In a phone call on Dec. 10, RSU 9 Superintendent Tina Meserve said, ““It is unfortunate that information which potentially should not have been made available to the public was not redacted.”
After conferring with RSU 9 legal counsel about Stickney’s concerns, Meserve said “I have been told there was no violation of confidentiality. That email would have had to have been turned over. Confidentiality has to do with students and employees, not board members.”
Meserve said the district is careful to not release confidential information in FOAA requests.
“It is never our intent to include confidential information in FOAA requests,” she said. “We will continue to work to ensure confidential information is redacted so personal information is not made available to the public.”