Wednesday, June 19, 2024


Westport Teachers Settle for 2.5 Percent Wage Increase

After protracted negotiations, Westports school teachers have reached an agreement with the Board of Education for a new three-year contract calling for an annual wage increase of 2.5 percent.

The teachersҒ contract, which goes into effect July 1, is the largest among all town employees. Personnel costs account for about $56 million of the towns almost $71 million education operating budget.

The agreement was reached during an arbitration hearing between school officials and the Westport Education Association, representing the teachers, according to educators.

Service Set for Muriel Mitchell, wife of Mitchells Co-Founder

Service Set for Muriel Mitchell, wife of Mitchells Co-Founder
A memorial service for Muriel Mitchell, wife of Ed Mitchell, co-founder of Mitchells of Westport, is scheduled for Friday at 2 p.m. at the Saugatuck Congregational Church in Westport.

Mrs. Mitchell, who lived with her husband—whom she married in 1995—in Southport as well as Pompano Beach, Fla., died Sunday after a brief illness.

Tuesday, December 2, 2003

Tuesday, December 2, 2003

9:45 A.M. – Job Site – Public Site & Building Commission Center for Senior Activities Building Committee
10 a.m. – Town Hall Room 201 – Administrative Review Committee
6:30 p.m. – McMahon Field, Norwalk—Staples football vs Windsor in state semi-finals
7 p.m. – Town Hall Room 309 – Shellfish Commission
8 p.m. – Town Hall Auditorium – RTM

Freedom of Information Staffer Addresses Board of Ed

Members of Westports Board of Education peppered a staff member of the stateҒs Freedom of Information (FOI) Commission tonight with questions about conducting board business while complying with the FOI law.
Thomas A. Hennick, public education officer of the commission, addressed the board for more than an hour at its meeting in the Staples High School library and then answered questions from its members and the public.
Many of the questions from board members concerned the use of e-mail in conducting board business.  Mary Parmelee wanted to know whether it was okay to give and share opinions about agenda topics via e-mail in advance of a meeting.

FOI Commission staffer Thomas Hennick addresses the Board of Education tonight. photo

In general, use common sense and be practical,Ӕ Hennick advised. The idea here is not not to use e-mail. You just donӒt want to get into the deliberative area.
He said a simple message stating an opinion would probably be okay, but added that if the e-mails turned into a general discussion, that would be more like a meeting and that would not be okay.
Several board members said that they already have in place a system whereby all e-mails sent to and from board members are retained on a computer and the public may go to the office of Supt. of Schools Elliott Landon and request access.
Hennick said Westport seemed more advanced than some other communities in its use of and questioning about e-mail and the FOI law.
ԓSome of what you said tonight is groundbreaking, he told the meeting. ԓI havent heard it from many corners of the state.Ҕ
The FOI official also talked at length about what is properly discussed in executive sessions and when it is okay for the board to meet for a non-public meeting.
This was the second meeting of the board since the Nov. 4 election. Two new board members, Democrat Mark Mathias and Republican Lewis Brey, had successfully run for the board on platforms that included advocating better communication between the board and the public.
Westport’s Board of Education has been the subject of two FOI complaints in recent years—the latest in August when The Hour of Norwalk filed a complaint over delayed access to e-mail correspondence.
The newspaper withdrew the complaint three weeks later when the e-mails were supplied and school officials said they had established a system for the public to review e-mails subject to public inspection.
Hennick introduced his talk by saying he had an especially good feel for issues involving boards of education because not only was he an FOI staffer and a former journalist, but he also serves as a member of the Region 13 Board of Education.
Region 13 serves the Middlesex County towns of Durham and Middlefield in south central Connecticut.
Update (12/2/03): In its report on the meeting in Tuesday’s edition, The Hour played up Hennick’s positive comments about the board’s retention of e-mails policy, headlining its story “FOI spokesman applauds school board.” The newspaper made no mention of its August FOI complaint.
The Hour also reported: “Representative Town Meeting Moderator Gordon Joseloff,  District 8, said the RTM retains its e-mails in paper form in the Town Clerk’s Office, but it intends to place them on the Internet to give further access to the public.
“‘Inviting someone into an office to review e-mails is a half-step,’ he said. ‘You need to make a full step toward public access. You can make people think you are not open.’”
Editor’s Note: Joseloff is editor and publisher of WestportNow.

Westport Historical Society Offers Westport Gingerbread Reproductions

If you are looking for the perfect Westport holiday gift, how about a gingerbread reproduction of your favorite Westport landmark.

The Westport Historical Society Friday hosts a Gingerbread GalaӔ that features a silent auction offering gingerbread reproductions of Westport attractions.

They include the Westport Country Playhouse (donated by Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward), the Westport YMCA, The Inn at National Hall, Tavern on Main, the Remarkable Bookshop, and the Saugatuck Rowing Club.

“Paul and I are delighted to again support the Westport Historical Society’s Gingerbread Gala, Woodward said in a Society news release.

ԓPreserving Westport landmarks has been a passion of ours for years, and we applaud the efforts of the Westport Historical Society and thank them for the assistance they have been providing to the Westport Country Playhouse as we prepare for our expansion.

Woodward, a longtime supporter of the Society, is artistic director of the Playhouse.

All gingerbread houses will be on display at the Society beginning Friday morning.

The Gingerbread Gala will take place from 6:30 p.m. to 10 p.m. with tickets at $75 a person. All ticket and auction proceeds benefit the Westport Historical Society. Call (203) 222-1424 for information.

Monday, December 1, 2003

Monday, December 1, 2003

6:30 p.m. –  Town Hall Room 309 – Planning & Zoning Commission annual meeting
7 p.m. – Town Hall Room 309 – Planning & Zoning Commission/Zoning Board of Appeals training session
7:30 p.m. – Town Hall Room 201/201A – Golf Advisory Committee
7:30 p.m. – Staples High School, Room 516 – Board of Education anticipated executive session
8 p.m. – Staples High School Library – Board of Education