We hope Superior Court Judge Marguerite Wageling makes short work of a civil case in which taxpayers and their school boards are being denied their right to see a product for which they paid. (She may have made her decision even as we write this.)
Hampstead is part of School Administrative Unit (SAU) 55 along with the Timberlane Regional Board. The chairman of the SAU board, Kimberly Farah, commissioned an investigation into an alleged hostile work environment within the SAU offices.
She did this without a vote of the SAU board and now she has refused to share that $28,600 report with the Hampstead or Timberlane board members, some of whom were interviewed for the report and all of whose taxpayers shared in the cost.
The SAU attorney claims this “work product” is confidential internal information protected by attorney-client privilege.
But as Judge Wageling noted, “if the client includes the board then that client should be entitled to look at what they apparently authorized and paid for.”
Hampstead’s lawyer, Michael Eaton, pointed out the obvious. He noted that withholding the report from the Hampstead and SAU boards leaves the public with no ability to hold its elected officials accountable.
Hiding the public’s business from the public behind a cloak of “personnel” and “legal” privilege is Orwellian. It must be stopped before the public loses all faith in its own institutions.