In a Letter to the Editor, Anne Reilly raised questions regarding Berlin’s Board of Education. Democrats have been objecting to the BOE becoming partisan under the new Charter; however, Anne observed that the Superintendent of Schools and other administrators donated to Berlin’s Democratic Town Committee, and that many BOE members were members of the Democratic Town Committee, suggesting such constituted partisanship.
In addition, she observed that historically the votes on the BOE have been largely 9-0 in agreement, with some votes after private, closed door discussions as opposed to public discussions.
Annie also was critical of the BOE keeping secret a BOE report regarding its defense of a former BOE Chairman, costing $100,000 in legal fees.
Isn’t it somewhat disingenuous, hypocritical, and insulting to taxpayers for one to claim that the BOE has been nonpartisan?
Below is a transcript of her letter as it appeared in the Berlin Citizen, October 20th, 2016.
More transparency, accountability
To the editor:
During last November’s town election, the Republican candidates pledged to create a Charter Revision Commission to review areas of our Town Charter, including greater input on town budgets and a reformed Board of Education.
I am thankful to the commission members. I find it sad that Democrats who appointed their members to the commission now reject every proposal which their own members passed.
The commission made its best effort to be fair and nonpartisan as it grappled with key issues. It is telling that nearly all their key issues received unanimous support. Many residents feel these changes will make the town more accountable and more transparent to the residents.
Why is this needed? Did you know that the Berlin Board of Education has spent almost $100,000 on legal fees to keep secret a report concerning intimidation charges made by a coach against former BOE Chairman Gary Brochu? Why has the board supported Mr. Brochu when the coach was trying to do his job?
Did you know that the superintendent and other administrators donate to the Berlin Democratic Town Committee even though he doesn’t live in town? Isn’t the BOE supposed to be nonpartisan? Many former and current BOE members are also members of the Democrat Town Committee.
Why does the BOE feel it is necessary to have discussions in private and the votes in public? Why are all votes 9-0? Why do they not allow other opinions to be voiced publicly? This does not sound like a school system that supports and teaches respect and diversity.
With the charter amendments, there will be a healthy debate of the issues decided in open session. Neither party can have a “super-majority” on Town Council. This will lead to compromise and communication across party lines.
Please vote “yes” on the five questions for transparency and accountability.