“I can tell you that once Ernie was given “provisional” recognition of his ex-officio status by the BOE when I was chairman, not once did he ever sit at the table with the elected BOE members nor did he attend any executive sessions.” Romeo Blackmer’s comment below
In his recent letter to First Selectman Margaret Wholean, the Town Attorney Robert DeCrescenzo states “Unless otherwise provided by law, the first selectman, in each town for which its board of selectmen is the executive authority, shall be the chief executive officer of such town and shall be an ex-officio member, without vote, of all town boards,commissions and committees”. (referring to General Statutes Â§ 7-12a). He goes on to say “The Woodstock Board of Education is a “town board” for those municipal functions delegated to it by state law. Local boards of education serve dual roles: they are agents for the state when performing those duties delegated by the State, and they are agents of the municipalities they serve when they perform those functions entrusted by the state to the municipality.”
The Town Attorney then gives an example of where a local board of education acts as “agents of the municipalities they serve when they perform those functions entrusted by the state to the municipality” as when local boards of education must comply with a municipality’s ordinances and established fiscal procedures. (referring to the case Board of Education of the City of New Haven, et al. v. City of New Haven, 237 Conn. 169, 18 1 (1996).
It seems quite interesting that from this opinion, Margaret Wholean and her supporters have concluded that she has absolute unrestricted authority to sit on the Woodstock Board of Education as an ex-officio member in all matters. Wouldn’t that position be contrary to what the Town Attorney has told her in the legal opinion she sought from him? His opinion would seem to suggest that it is ONLY when the Board of Education is acting as a local board that she has ex-officio status on the BOE. It seems equally clear from the Town Attorney’s opinion that if the Board of Education is acting, as it often does, “as agents for the State when performing those duties delegated by the State” (for example, complying with all of the state mandates for education) that Margaret would NOT have any authority to sit as an ex-officio member of the Board of Education. In addition, whenever she sits as an ex-officio member of the Board of Education, she can NOT vote as explained by the Town Attorney.
So, the question really is, why the heck is Margaret forcing this issue? She can’t vote and she also can not sit on the Board of Education at all in instances where the Board is acting in its role as an agent of the State. She is going to force the Woodstock Board of Education to rule in each instance that is acts, as to whether it is performing the role of an agent of a local board or as an agent of the state, in order to determine whether she is properly sitting on the Board of Education in ex-officio capacity. If the Board of Education doesn’t undertake this exercise of making the determination of whether she can rightfully sit ex-officio on the BOE, and thereby allow her to sit in all instances, even when she is not authorized, then how could they exclude any member of the public from sitting on their board, even if that member had no authority to do so? In an exercise of idiotic muscle flexing, Margaret has undertaken to confront the Board of Education for no useful purpose, because even when she sits, she can not vote. Even her authority to sit in executive session is limited as explained by the town attorney. Hasn’t Margaret proven that she already has her hands more than full trying to run the general government side of Woodstock? What is her real agenda in taking this foolish position? She seems to be taking all kinds of advice from Ernie Wetzel. Ernie tried to sit ex-officio on the Board of Education some years ago when Romeo Blackmar was Chair of the BOE and he was shut out. I guess he must have forgotten to tell Margaret about that.