Another Victory for Transparency
At the February 28 Board of Education meeting, the Chairman announced that BoE members have been granted access to an official town email network. Starting in the next week, BoE members will be required to sign the technology agreement issued by Glastonbury Public Schools and they will then be required to utilize a town issued, monitored, and archived email address for all BoE related business and communications. To date, these communications have occurred within personal email accounts, and are not protected, though in fact are subject to Freedom of Information (FOI) requests.
This prudent change has been achieved entirely as a result of Republican member Jenn Jennings’ tireless efforts. Since her inauguration into the BoE in November 2021, Jenn has repeatedly asked for a town email address, much like the Town Council members receive on day one of their respective terms. Jenn has continually met with resistance from the other BoE members, including weak excuses by Board Chair Doug Foyle, and little responsiveness from the town and GPS administration. With everything on the BoE forced to run through the Democrat Chairman, Jenn has been stonewalled at every turn. Thankfully, that did not stop Jenn from continuing to press for this sensible request. At last, during FOIA training in early February, Doug Foyle took Jenn’s request to the State’s Public Education Officer, Thomas Hennick, for his opinion. Not surprisingly, Tom emphatically supported the use of town monitored accounts for reasons of liability, accountability, and most importantly, transparency of all communications by BoE members about BoE business. From Tom’s perspective, it was a “no brainer”.
Congratulations to Jenn, as the lone voice on the BoE to advocate for this sensible resource. Dedicated email accounts is a major win and a much needed change to the BoE. Her perseverance is an outstanding lesson that one voice, persistent effort, and reasonable requests rooted in core values can lead to a justified and practical outcome. There is nothing extreme nor radical here, just common sense!