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Wednesday  •  December 18, 2019

HCPSS Redistricting Ratification Vote – Part 2

By Steven Keller

The discussion about the statement that Mavis Ellis made on behalf of the Board prior to the redistricting ‘ratification vote’ held on December 17, 2019 is so concerning that it deserves further attention. The full background on what transpired during this vote can be found here


Let’s dive into the details of some quotes from this discussion. In the ‘Part 1’ video of this discussion on the ratification vote statement, BOE Chair Mavis Ellis says the following:


“During the recess, Board members, at different points and at different times, went into the Caucus room to look at data and/or figure out what to do……… the Caucus room, one member said out loud something to the effect of “Now what are we going to do?” …..another spontaneously responded, “The whole plan for that area falls apart” “


There was no real discussion, but spontaneous comments were made by different members, and I think that there was a little question whether there was a quorum in the planning room for all or part of the brief exchange that may have impact Miss Coombs’ decision to request reconsideration of the vote.”

“A statement was requested…during a meeting that most of us attended by an individual board member, and a statement was written and then reviewed….by the people who wrote the statement….by the individual who wrote the statement, we learned very late that it would not be a statement given by one individual board member


Note that Mavis Ellis explicitly states that there was no discussion during the recess — only spontaneous comments. Also note that Ellis states that some mysterious ‘individual’ wrote the statement, and that it is unclear whether that individual was a Board member, a member of the legal team, or some other staff member. Regardless, this ‘individual’ wrote the statement on behalf of the Board and failed to share it with the full Board to receive their consent.


Let’s move on and examine feedback on this statement by other Board members. It was revealed that the statement had not been provided to Board members prior to Ellis reading the statement into the record.


As detailed in the Part 2 video, Christina Delmont Small states the following:

“The statement was made on behalf of the Board as a body and as of a whole, and as a member of that board, I would have appreciated the opportunity to have the document so that I could provide input if I so chose, so…..I do not think we should proceed


“I think perhaps if the Board members had been given the courtesy of seeing the statement prior to it being read on our behalf, there could have been improvements made to it…..I believe that the statement read misleads the community as to what occurred during the recess and….I do not think that it’s appropriate that it was read into the record and I do not support it. “


Later, Vice Chair Vicky Cutroneo states:

I do not believe that all of this is accurate that’s in this statement….I was in the room …. I was a witness to the conversations and discussion and so that’s why when Chair Ellis read the statement, I highlighted things that were not sitting well with me….that I did not think were accurate representation of what transpired


Finally, Chao Wu states:

“Since it’s written….I feel there’s some discrepancies between this one and the one we discussed last time…..I just want to say….what’s the consequence for this….if….this will come back and they say there’s a discrepancy with what’s written here……between what is written here and what we discussed in closed meeting……the discrepancy between this written document and what we discussed in closed meeting.


These statements from three distinct Board members establish raise serious concern over the veracity of Chair Ellis’s statement and over what actually transpired during the OMA violation recess.


Both Chao Wu and Vicky Cutroneo state that “discussions” occurred during the recess, in direct contradiction of Mavis Ellis’s statement that “there was no real discussion”.  Also, Christina Delmont-Small shockingly stated that “I believe that the statement read misleads the community as to what occurred during the recess”.


Instead of bringing closure to this concerning situation, the ratification vote and Chair Ellis’s statement regarding the OMA violation recess seem to have just raised more questions and made this situation even worse. It will be very interesting to see where we go from here.

Ratification Vote Discussion Part 1

Ratification Vote Discussion Part 2

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