Tax Watch on Saturday will revisit the situation at Southern Westchester BOCES, where the district’s Chief Operating Officer, Sandy Simposon, has found a way to exceed the state salary cap on those who lead BOCES districts. The cap applies to district superintendents; she’s a chief operating officer, so she can be paid a higher wage by the local district.
Since Tax Watch broke the story on Sunday, the BOCES board has run for cover. Its board president, Georgia Riedel, didn’t return phone messages left at her home and business on Monday and Tuesday. And finally on Wednesday, she asked for questions in writing. But on Friday, we got word that there would be no answers.
I showed up at the emergency BOCES board meeting on Thursday night when they were to discuss their response to the story. The meeting hadn’t been posted on the district’s website, as required by the state Open Meetings Law. And then the board voted to go into executive session to discuss “personnel matters,” which, according to Robert Freeman, of the state Committee on Open Government, are not a reason to close a meeting to the public.
The law allows for a closed-door session to discuss the work history of a particular person, but doesn’t permit secret meetings to discuss policy issues. I tried to discuss the law to the board, but was ordered out of the room.