Truett Falsified Meeting Notes on HPG Break

Published February 10, 2017 by justicewg

truett-at-visioningThe early morning board meeting at which the school board announced the break with Harrison Planning Group (a facilitates consultant) was the most important meeting of the year. The data that was produced by Harrison will be the base numbers that will be used for all future planning of the facilities at the school, they will also be used in future attempts by the board to push for high tax increases to build at the schools. It is vital that the community understand the relationship between HPG and the board, in order to know where those numbers came from.

The 10/18/16 morning meeting (Pdf link), one of the special meetings normally attended by no parents, was quickly noticed and alerts sent out, motivating 13 community members to show up. The meeting was video recorded by me. You would expect the board would be very careful to set down the full record of the meeting in the notes that are the official record. But new president Truett didn’t look good at all in the video of the meeting, as I pointed out in a past post. Truett’s solution? Falsify the meeting notes to removed important sections of the meeting, cuts that completely altered the record of the most important words spoken at that meeting.

Truett’s hack job on HPG

There was obviously some very bad conflicts between Truett and Harrison. Truett said HPG “took request for change personally, attacked members of the board and the task force in an unprofessional way, and said he didn’t want to continue working with us”. We don’t know if that is true, but it was the words of the member of the school board who was on the facility committee who worked closely with Harrison, and his report on what caused the break is the official explanation given to the rest of the board members, and the community. We are not going to hear HPG’s side of the story, he has no reason to re-litigate a bad ending. If what Truett said is true, it casts a shadow over all of the work produced by HPG – if he really is “unprofessional”, how can we trust anything produced by his company?

The way Harrison was attacked also throws Truett in a bad light, he comes off as petty and vindictive. He could have given the facts of why they disagreed, and left the personal attack out of his report.

Truett’s solution to a bad appearance in the meeting notes? Delete any mention of his attack on Harrison from the official meeting record. As president of the board, he has complete control over how the meeting is recorded.

The written record of the meeting gives some reasons for the break, but as Truett said at the board meeting, “we worked though those issues, and got to where we wanted to be”. Looking at the video of the meeting, it is obvious that the conflict with Harrison was the most important fact that lead to a break with HPG. By deleting it from the record, Truett has falsified the official record, and is deceiving the community.

https://youtu.be/PIPeDsfHNLU?t=2m51s

(the above video should bring you directly to the section where the conflict with Harrison is talked about, if it doesn’t skip to 2m 51s. Note, this YouTube video is a re-upload to a new account made for this blog, the original video had over 181 views.)

Any criticism of the board is bad decorum

Two different parents spoke up at the 10/18/16 morning meeting, and without personally insulting a board member, pointed out the poor choice in holding a special meeting on the same day as a regular board meeting, in what (correctly) looks like an attempt to hide information from the community. The words of those parents were recorded in the meeting notes, in a short but fair summary.

Truett sat in an uncomfortable 10 seconds of silence after hearing the criticism, and said the following: (Starts at 12m 32s)

You know at this point, I want to be cautious in the decorum of our meetings, I an certainly happy, and any board member will have those discussions off-line. I don’t wana … I don’t think a debate at the board meeting is the proper setting. I do feel that ah … I don’t want to enter that debate, I don’t want to get defensive on that … Jessie Truett

The official record of the meeting deleted those words – carefully chosen by Truett, after a 10 second silence. That was the official position of Truett as board president – criticism of the board is bad decorum, any critic should speak to the board members “offline” (where it can be ignored and swept under the rug).

Good luck finding full truthful info in board meeting notes

I have mentioned it often in the past, the board does a terrible job of recording meeting notes for these special meetings, often summarizing hours on discussion in a few short paragraphs, with no record of which member said the recorded words. Under Truett, if it is possible, it will get worse – we can’t be sure that he will delete anything that might show him in any bad light, not matter how much the facts of the meeting are distorted by his deletions.

Truett has a role model who has a similar disdain for the facts, it’s pretty discouraging to see public officials act this way. There is a difference though, this isn’t Washington DC, it is little Grandview. You can make your voice heard, and it might be possible for the words to register. If you don’t want to see more of this deception going on at the board meetings, call, email the board members, let them know you are watching, let them know you care.

Postscript – The board holds special planning meetings near the start of every year, spending hours in planning the long term future of the schools. Like other special meetings, the notes to these meetings are short and lack the names of the members who are proposing big changes for the schools. I asked Truett to make an audio recording of the meeting, the same way the board make audio recordings of monthly meetings. His response?

“Today’s meeting was not recorded and as in the past, we do not intend to record future work sessions. “ Jessie Truett

What a surprise. If you can’t get off work to spend a weekday attending a special meeting, you will be denied a recording, and they will never make a recording of their special meetings, because … they can get away with it. They will tell you to get lost, and the fact that they are ignoring open meeting laws will not stop them from telling you to take a hike.

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3 comments on “Truett Falsified Meeting Notes on HPG Break

  • The school board’s reputation in Grandview is quite weird. As you have accurately documented over the years, these guys simply do not follow the rules. Despite this, no one complains, and all are easily reelected. Furthermore, you and your blog are regarded as being weird.

    A large group of people do not want to tear down the old schools and build new. The school board wants it, but I do not believe the voters will support it. It’s been a long time since the community last disagreed with the school board on anything of significance.

    Will this issue impact the reelections of Truitt or Evans? Probably not. Grandview voters are extremely gullible. If you don’t believe this, look at the results of the last school levy. The voters were very obviously mislead by the board and their lackeys, but the levy cruised to a very easy victory.

    On a somewhat related note regarding the buildings, Andy Culp is doing a terrible job of selling the “broken down buildings” concept to the public on his little facility tours. I’ve attended two of these events, and it is very clear that the maintenance workers have been told to not repair or even paint anything. When Culp tells folks that the old equipment simply cannot be repaired or maintained, people are not believing him.

    • Gullible? I think “unwilling to spend the time to become knowledgeable” is a better explanation for how most of the people in Grandview Heights view the school board. As long as the new levies are similar to increases in the past, the public is willing to say “that’s the way it works”. There will be a big change in the way average voters view the school board when they try to push the huge levies needed to replace the school buildings.

      There were 13 community members who showed up at short notice for the HPG board meeting. That was unprecedented. There were two parents who stood up to the board, and spoke the truth. Also unprecedented. I think there is a possibility that the community will be ready for a change in the board this fall.

      • I agree with you about the voters and how they would respond to a huge levy. But I wouldn’t be surprised if the board came up with some “creative financing” to get these schools built with a more modest levy. This is how the dumb voters of Grandview would be tricked. They’ll publish some numbers showing how expensive it would be to keep the old facilities open. Then they’ll say they can build new buildings if the good people of Grandview simply approve a medium-sized levy. To make this work, the board will put us into debt for years to come. And if anybody asks questions about the debt, Jesse will respond that he’s already answered those questions. And people asking such questions will be regarded as enemies of necessary progress.

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