By Sara Toth, email@example.com
10:08 PM EDT, May 22, 2012
As the Board of Education went into dinner recess during its meeting Tuesday, Allen Dyer served four of his fellow board members with legal complaints, suing them over alleged violations of the Open Meetings Act during the board's recent search for Howard's next superintendent.
The complaint, filed May 4 in Howard County Circuit Court, claims that five times over the course of six days in March, the Board of Education interviewed superintendent candidates "at a hotel close to BWI Airport" and with the search firm Ray and Associates at the Department of Education without providing notice to the public or the student member of the board.
Dyer has asked the court to fine Board Chairwoman Sandra French, Vice Chairman Frank Aquino, Ellen Giles and Janet Siddiqui $500 each — $100 for each violation of the Open Meetings Act.
Aquino, French, Siddiqui and Giles all voted to approve the minutes taken from those meetings which, according to the complaint, did not include dates, times, places, people present or the subject matter of those meetings.
The board announced the appointment of Renee Foose, currently deputy superintendent of Baltimore County schools, as the next Howard superintendent March 27, 24 hours after first introducing her to the public as a finalist for the position. She signed her contract with the board April 26.
Aquino said he had not had the chance to look at the lawsuit yet, but added: "The fact that it's filed against us individually causes me to question: Can he sue me as an individual for an action we took as a board?
"I'm seeking advice from counsel, and it will be at board expense."
This is not Dyer's first legal complaint against his fellow board members. In fact, his repeated litigation was among the reasons the board majority voted to request his impeachment in June 2011.
That ouster case is currently before an administrative law judge in the Office of Administrative Hearings. It will resume June 6, with the judge set to hear Dyer's motion to dismiss the case.
The board's arguments, the judge had said, had not been made clear after five days of hearings earlier this month.