Snuffy is not correct. Tax payer committees seem to be legal and they certainly do have a point…how quickly we forget the Farmer’s Tax Abatement Committee who seems to have now become the precedent for community action. This committee was able to pass through an ordinance with remarkable ease, remarkable bias, and remarkable impropriety without a peep from anyone except for a few people who paid attention, but to no avail.
This committee was led by an independent “taxpayer group” filled with completely biased and one-sided members who developed an ordinance that was passed at a town meeting after letters were admittedly only sent to Farmer’s (not non-farmers) informing them of this meeting.
When the selectman’s office was asked about this committee’s questionable improprieties they turfed inquirers over to the chairperson of the committee, Reva Seybolt, who by her own admission stated that mistakes were made. This Harvard MBA claimed “she didn’t know” but apologized after the inquirer persisted.
So in this case of a politically expedient interest, this group was readily supported and given carte blanche by the elected officials, to process their agenda without an oversight to ensure fairness, transparency, and accountability. Under the noses of all of us, they successfully managed to pass their ordinance without completely vetting the many questions that were asked by an interested few.
So Snuffy is incorrect after all, Special Interest community run action groups seem to be legal and most definitely are not pointless.
I find it a little amusing that some of the same people who are so opposed to the Dr. Fusco auditing committee didn’t seem to have a problem with the Farm Abatement Committee. This is not only a sign of bias but of complete hypocracy.
But mark my words, I am opposed to any group who is run like the Tax Abatement committee being full of like-minded and biased individuals having a personal agenda to drive home at the expense of everyone else.
Yet this is not what Dr. Fusco recommended.
In fact, he highly supported a committee that was acknowledged by the BOE, worked along side the BOE, and where both were on the same page as far as what the objectives were of the committee.
Dr. Fusco emphasized that the intent of the committee must not be to uncover suspected corruption (the “C” word as he called it) but rather seek to prevent inefficiency.
Dr. Fusco made it clear that the BOE was not to be held completely responsible for such inefficiencies for the simple reason that they are inundated with immense state-mandated responsibilities and are not properly educated by CABE to handle the complexities and the liabilities that fall upon them unknowingly.
Mr. Andrzeicik (sorry for the spelling), Mr. Sowka, and Mrs.Rapose all mentioned and supported the need to to avoid the bias of looking only at K-8 and that the Academy held equal responsibility to the taxpayers when remarks persisted in the audience regarding K-8 only.
Mr. Sowka also commented that the problems in question (repeat, in question) were not unique only to local BOE’s but should be suspect to all other forms of government at the local, state and national level that were in need of community attention. Remarks were made by several attendees that attention to these issues were being lost on the younger generation who failed to become engaged.
Mr. Sowka also stated that an auditing committee would only be successful if it was composed of diverse members who’s goal was to assist the BOE who, if Mr. Fusco was correct, had need for community support due to the overwhelming inability to address the multitude of issues they are faced with. Dr. Fusco supported the BOE’s objective that the community take ownership of their schools and that this may be one way of doing so.
Ironically, Mr. Sowka was also a member of the MFATF committee who according to Jeff Gordon seemed to run with fairness and balance, but as Snuffy is right in saying, never had their recommendations fully implemented.
I resented the article written by Jennica Heifer (Tee-hee) who under the guise of journalism offered anything but journalism. Rather it was an article of slander and misuse of her freedom of speech. If Heiffer spent anytime after the meeting speaking to any of the attendees she would have seen that there were plenty of people, mostly “gray-heads” as one gray head pointed out, who were genuine in their interest on this issue, possessed a light sense of humor in knowing that these were issues that perennially plagued local governments, who acknowledged the responsibilities of the BOE, and were simply enjoying an event in town that piqued their interest. But Jennica seems to be the type of individual who is only looking at the sinister side of the community without realizing that as she slanders some, she slanders all.
Since I relish in the moments that Snuffy and I agree, I will gladly say that I support his two points that insist on 1) the implementation of the MFATF recommendations and 2) Get a real commercial zoning plan out of the discussion phase. As far as the issue of educational funding and the need for an auditing committee, I will repeat his statement by saying, “I would like to see things actually done – not just crowed about” all for the simple reason that this persistent education battle…a ruse or not…is standing in the way of a child’s opportunity.
I do not pretend to know the motivations of individuals as Jennica Heiffer does, but do recognize the reality of the situation that seems to suggest that there is some consensual need on the part of taxpayers to better understand where and how their money is being spent. If there is false suspect and false indignation that all is not well, than so be it. This will always be a part of any community. But if there is a sincere wish to make wrongs right, to partner with our locally elected officials, to become involved and enhance ownership with more than just words, to come together despite our politics to reach an end that serves everyone, then the false suspect and false indignation must become only a secondary concern and not lead the way for how our politics and our government is run. This is the keyhold to where change must first occur. Without it, doors will never open.