The first Fall River School Committee session of the new year with a brand new set of freshly elected members produced a first of their own in terms of committee precedents.
In the past, the school committee in Fall River would have a finance sub-committee to deal with financial issues. As opposed to the city council which hosts every member of council as one real committee.
"I think the committee as a whole should weighing in on financial decisions,” Vice Chair of the School Committee Mark Costa said to the gathered. “We've had a standing finance sub-committee made up of three members for many, many years.”
Last night, the new group of six with some returning faces and some fresh faces along with Chairman of the Committee and Mayor Paul Coogan, decided to adopt the city council format and have all seven be apart of a finance committee so a full spectrum of contributions can be made to the budget process.
”I think that oftentimes what happens is that questions that may have been asked and answers that may have been given, often times, don't make it to members who don’t serve on that committee,” Costa said. “Quite frankly, in the interest of being fair to every member whose responsibility it is to make financial decisions by way of votes, I strongly support the fact that this will not be done as a committee as a whole."
Costa, a returning member of the school committee, was voted in as Vice Chairman of the committee once again as he's held post for several years, now.
He said this is something that can be changed later on if needed, "hopefully each member will have an opportunity to participate and ask questions. If we need to tweak it, we can revisit it.”
The Vice Chairman asked his colleagues to join him in supporting the change-of-format.
“I think it's a great opportunity for each member to watch the process unfold, ask the questions and be a part of the discussions, as a group, as opposed to a small subcommittee,” he said. “So, I certainly support and ask my colleagues tonight to support it, as well."