A special called meeting of the PEC board of directors today resulted in several actions or promised actions on the question of a member’s right to speak before the board. During open session the board unanimously adopted a resolution affirming the right to speak before the board as part of the open meeting policy. The board rejected the comments made at the August 18 meeting by President James Oakley who suggested that a member’s right to speak was “discretionary”, “a privilege” and “not a right”.
Several members spoke today to challenge Oakley’s assertions. Notably absent was member Ernest Altgelt, who was denied the right to speak by Oakley at the August 18 meeting.
Additionally, the board directed its General Counsel to draft language suitable for a change to the Member Bill of Rights for ratification by the members in June, 2016. This language will closely mirror the language in the open meeting policy. Passage of a change to the Member Bill of Rights will memorialize the right to speak–a right that cannot be taken away by any future board or board of directors.
Finally, the board directed staff to review and draft language for an updated decorum policy that reflects the changes considered today pertaining to the rights and limitations of speaking before the board. A draft of this policy is due for board review at the September board meeting.
ENOUGH! Mr. Altgelt’s whereabouts today was unknown but PEC Truthwatch has learned from multiple sources that several employees have recently complained about “inappropriate behavior” by Mr. Altgelt in interactions they have experienced with him while he is in the headquarters building attending board meetings. Mr. Altgelt’s activities includes uninvited questioning, badgering and other “in-your-face” nuisance-type activity that employees feel powerless to repel. Member Joe Summy brought this matter to the attention of the board today during his member comments. Mr. Altgelt has reportedly been warned on several occasions over an 18 month period about his actions. This news is particularly distressing in light of the fact that many members, including me, rose today to defend his right to speak. The free speech victory now largely won, Mr. Altgelt appears by his own actions, to have worn out his welcome. If the accusations are true, Mr. Altgelt, should voluntarily refrain from visiting PEC property and view the meetings from his home. It is impossible to defend such behavior.