Westport Resident Mr. Camilo Riano retained the law firm of Marino, Zabel & Schellenberg to address a recent action made by the Westport BOE in appointing two students to serve as representatives on the Board.
In making these appointments, the BOE has given these new Board appointees the privilege of participating in BOE meetings, with the "right and expectation to contribute to the Board's decision-making process."
The new BOE policy places no limits on the student appointees involvement, which means they could attend executive sessions and negotiations. The student appointees are also encouraged to speak on any issue that comes before the Board.
Mr. Riano alleges that the creation of ex-officio positions is not authorized by the Westport Town Charter, Connecticut state statute, or the Westport RTM, and that the BOE has no authority to elevate the ex-officio positions to de facto members of the Board, whether they have voting rights or not.
Therefore, Attorney Marino, on behalf of Mr. Riano, is asking First Selectwoman Jennifer Tooker to rule the policy out of order and void ab initio.
Upon learning about Mr. Riano's letter, one concerned Westport parent said, “this illegal move by Westport Democrats involves two key tactics from their playbook. One, flout the town charter and illegally pack town boards with their own appointees, as we saw with TEAM Westport. Two, use kids as pawns to press their ideological agenda, as TEAM Westport has been doing for years.”
If you know of any other towns in Connecticut using this tactic, we would love to hear from you.