Lawrence Van Valkenburgh to Delores Perotti/Gary Brochu 1

Dear Board of Education Chairs in the Region 1 School District
These attachments for inclusion in the public record at the end of the meeting.  If my disablility with my lower left extremity is flaring up – I may not be able to attend.  Let me know if you need a call from my disablility advocate or from me.
Lawrence Van Valkenburgh
———- Forwarded message ———-
From: Lawrence Van Valkenburgh <>
Date: Thu, Feb 16, 2012 at 7:37 PM
Subject: When is the next ABC meeting?
Cc: Lawrence Van Valkenburgh <>,
Dear Delores,
The name Perotti means something to me.  I have always been proud of your family.  I come from a plumbing background and I am always so happy to see the plumbers.  Aside from that we do not know one another.  I was a plumber, fashion model, student of religion, politics, and finance, cooking, screenwriting, and social work.  I am so wealthy that I can afford to never have to lie (that plus the Catholic guilt thing and my mother is Italian).  And – I will not lie to you.
I am the guy who despite the long lasting side effects of chemo – climbed the stairs of CCS – and got to the place where I could 
help defend the woman who has become next in line to be bullied by Pat, Diane, and the typical gang they build which currently includes you. 
Last year I made the trip many times as they tried to ruin Susan Romeo for being too successful.  To quote Dr Fitz and Barbara Gold -(both women of God) –
“Susan is the best teacher in our school.” Susan Romeo is amazing, brilliant, honest. and one of the best teachers I have ever encountered, and she is a friend.  All of my friends meet that criteria.
I am not writing to insult you – yet I would not blame you if you took some of this personally.  As you witnessed last night, I say what I say directly to the person whenever possible.  The transcript of your January board meeting shows us that you prefer to deliver your hateful message behind your targets back.  When I read what you said at that meeting – I am terribly embarrassed for you.             It also reads like you rehearsed it in advance – it is not natural language.  You get your points out and you tried to hit the Pingpank report in the same way Pat and or Diane have gotten others to swipe at it.  Same words and delivered in an uninformed way that makes me (and many others) worried about your biased leadership.
For nine years I was a Board Member of the world’s first and largest AIDS Healthcare Agency.  I became the Vice Chairman.  I would leave my trading desk at Goldman, Sachs and help the most extraordinary and dedicated people assist the dying.  You could stay all night and work on a grant or a brief to help a mother who did recover from her fever and vomiting – to get back her children that were by now divided into the NYC family services dept – see if you can imagine yourself in that scenario.  Or I would stay in a suit at a party on Park Avenue practically begging for a thousand dollars for the Agency while over my shoulder on the wall there was hanging a twenty-five million dollar Rothko.  We spent every dollar we had every day, month, quarter because our clients were dying.  I have been off of that board for years but on the phone with them for hours even this past Sunday – because – I helped build it.  I won so much business for Goldman Sachs that if I won a deal I could have a Friday off to teach kindergarten at St Anne’s in the Bronx.  (The parish where I was born in the south Bronx).  The kids were so awesome and school still served the same food but the kids would mimic everything I did with my fork , manners, sloppy joe bun….hysterical. I speak French more than Spanish so we had our own language.  Through health crisis and reading to children born into addiction the most amazing thing I saw was the dedication and sacrifice of women.  I know what they do and can do – and I am humbled and in their debt.  When I know a woman is being abused – I make it stop.  When I see someone wasting our time in the board room like you do by not being objective at all times about Pat and Diane -( which means you are not doing what you are supposed to be doing) I find it infuriating.  Life, death, illness, education – help for which comes best from the boardroom.  I can not blame you for not having my experience but at least I can tell you:  Stop making friends and do the job right.
My hope for you is that you will rethink how and why you are where you are.  Your position is important and it seems that your standards are way too low.  If you like – you are welcome to come to Cream Hill and spend time with me.  I have a great deal to say about leadership.  The Pingpank report is something you will have to look at on your own.  Brilliant attorney, one of the Dioceses’ Attorneys I believe.  An extraordinary professional.  I watched him interview – and I was not allowed to speak.  I think it was fifty or so persons who gave testimony and risked retribution and their ability to feed their families so they could help improve the student’s environment and make work tolerable.  I do not know you.  Perhaps you do not know what that feels like.  I saw crying people going in and coming out.  I read a report that helped articulate the concern of a large number of employees – and gave them hope.  What risk did you take?      You said their testimony is nothing.     I am trying to figure out what makes you worthy of your position.  The one thing I really love about Catholicism is compassion.  Say that word a few times and then read the transcript of your meeting.
It looks like Gail was harassed by Scott Fellowes.  I will let other people prove that out.  Would you let that happen to your daughter?  If true –  he is like a digital Klu Klux Klan.  A biased, lying, woman hating bigot with no balls to reveal his identity and a healthy gang of bullies with power backing him up – people behaving like you actually.  I think Gail has been insulted enough.  I hope that your apology is appropriate and public.  Oh yes – Pat was saying “point of order” and shutting me down – not her role – that is your role – so take note and try to see what she is doing.  So wait – who was running the meeting – you or Pat?  Either way – still better than Becky.  Allegedly – Pat was shutting me down before I could remind you all of some of the stuff they got caught at like the petition that Diane Goncalves wrote against Susan Romeo and got other people to put their name on it to conceal the true author.  Well – those Diane loyalists had big mouths.  In any corporation – a boss creating a petition against their own subordinate would easily be a $25 million dollar lawsuit.  Plenty of lawyers want a crack at 30% of that.  The ABC committee did nothing to help.  Open your eyes and ears and help our students by being a real and independent leader.  I will help you if you ask.
Lawrence Van Valkenburgh
At least you and I use our own name. 
I have to add some cc’s since Pat cannot create a system that is not biased against certain peoples emails.  Do you really believe that those three emails did not get to their intended?  Really?  I do not believe Pat. 
From: Lawrence Van Valkenburgh <>
Date: Sat, Feb 18, 2012 at 11:45 AM
Subject: Caution
Dear Delores,
I gave you a little bit of what some of us know of the things that Pat and Diane would not want you to know about.  Would you prefer that I send the
petition statement that I told you about in my last email to a larger group?  All ABC perhaps?  Becky knows about it.  It was stated in the public grievance of January 2011
here in Cornwall.  You can listen and view that on WHDD web site.  It was not stated in the minutes – I will get that corrected – the paperwork was scooped up
by Meuser so the Board would not see it again (allegedly) It was a board member who told us that it was scooped up.  I had to file an FOI complaint to get the paperwork back so the public can request it..  Not all of it came back though.  Pardon me if you know all of this – for you to put your reputation in Pat and Diane’s hands – they probably told you all of this.  I wonder what sort of a “spin” Pat and Diane put on it?
If I were you I would get it squared as to why Marie Wilbur allegedly told a few too many people that she knew her complaint would be denied but Pat and Diane insisted she file it just to put Gale in a bad news cycle.  I kept hearing that.  Once again – watch the spin – protect yourself. 
There is so much more.  Tell me who to include.
Be certain that you are not discussing a word of the legal bill discussion behind closed doors.  I will know and I will tell.  Pat said one person called in and suggested that the bill be paid by the individual.  If Pat knew about Scott Felloes, Diane writing the petition, the Wilbur thing and more – then she is going to be reimbursing alot of legal expenses out of her own personal checkbook.  I hope that doesn’t spill onto you for being so unaware.  (I assume you are innocent in this – we can all be lied to).  That is why I said you need a good Director’s and Officer’s policy.  You do not want to be liable if Pat and Diane are disingenuous.  There were probably some smart people that left that 7000 series language vague.  Vague can be good.  It leaves you with options.  My guess is that Pat does not want the 7000 series language changed – she just wants this conversation to drag out for as long as possible since it is about Gale – somewhat.  Please please try to see when you are being played like this. 
You can dislike me if you want – but I am giving you the best advice I can.
There are bcc’s attached for my own protection.
Lawrence Van Valkenburgh
From: Lawrence Van Valkenburgh <>
Date: Tue, Feb 21, 2012 at 10:11 AM
Subject: You
To: “Brochu, Gary R.” <>
Dear Mr Brochu,
You have probably seen the two pages that I left with the Board Members that indicates that Scott Fellowes – Teacher and close friend of Pat and Diane – was the purchaser of the
Aeron Watson email address in 2001.  I left it to them to prove if it is true. Someone using that email address abused Gail Toensing terribly and non sensibly in the local media and only used that name.  Even reporters were sucked in. 
So – that is – if Scott admits it – a sample of what we go through.  The most sinister hidden lying and character/reputation assassination.  It is a bit of the “retribution” that Pingpank referred to.   It was as bad with Meuser in your role I think – but you don’t know about that.  We thought you represent the BOE because your title is “Board Attorney”.  You did not tell us in your presentation that you were also going to be Pat’s private attorney paid for by me and my neighbors.  Can you please explain that?  Why didn’t you protect the BOE from Aeron Watson?  Why did you throw your firm and Gale under the bus?  What makes you so sure that Gale’s emails were not ignored or erased by Pat?  Why wasn’t the server checked?  Was it someone who is paid by Pat or Diane?
What is it that you do?  I do not think any of us who paid for you are sure.  Does your boss know how you offered such a misled opinion of Gale without a remote check for the truth?  I am starting to think that you did not speak to
Gale.  You spoke to Gale – right?

One comment

  1. Partial Transcript from North Canaan Elementary School Board of Education January 12, 2012

    Delores Perotti Those emails that have been circulating about with that one board member from Falls Village all over the place to all different people isn’t that a non meeting or a meeting that’s not scheduled if anybody that responded to her, I mean, didn’t we do that in the nutmeg, isn’t it an unscheduled meeting if there’s a discussion?

    Diane Goncalves It’s a grey area. I think there’s some members of the board that feel that if they write an email they can write the email and it only becomes a meeting is is when someone replies. Or voices in. I think it puts any board at risk when massive emails go out. I think what happened last week rose to an extraordinary level of going back and forth. Patricia and I made a decision that if she was emailing everyone in an email our response had to go to everyone because how could you leave that chain not addressed? So that’s what became a series of emails that went out. There’s even more than just running a meeting, there’s statements being made that are, can compromise the board, there’s evaluative statements being made about people.

    Perotti Plenty of them It’s very upsetting.

    Laura Freund One of my concerns is the tone that’s been taken on and I’m sorry but I really feel that our central office is a very strong and I think they’re really pro-child and the time that’s being taken away from them to have to deal with what’s going on um and the and the demeaning tones.

    Perotti How can somebody treat a secretary the way those emails treated a secretary? I’m just disgusted!

    Laura Freund I presented those emails to … I just felt that…those emails are public and I presented them . . .

    Perotti These are (inaudible) too as much as they’re Region I’s and I don’t know how you guys feel that those emails… Did you think that the tone was . . .?

    (unidentified) yeah yeah inappropriate

    Perotti Rude!

    (unidentified) yes

    Perotti I just think they’re extremely upsetting.

    Laura Freud I mean, I . . I just didn’t know if you guys, . . . I mean I gave them to you guys to do . . . I mean, to do with as you please. I think that, number one, we need to support our central office and I don’t know if this needs to be taken to another . . .

    Perotti I don’t know either. I don’t know what we’re allowed to do but I mean why do we have to call in a lawyer and pay a lawyer to do some because . .. I mean. . .I can say I’m upset that this is going on and it just seems we should be able to say if we’re upset or not without calling a lawyer and spending all this money and worrying about someone throwing it all over the news (hand gesture in the air) but to read these emails that are public information and not to be shocked especially the way they’ve been going on and on and on

    (unidentified) and they don’t make any sense

    Goncalves Yes, there is that!

    Perotti And what is this improving student teaching and learning – it’s in quote

    Susan Warner It’s just a gratuitous statement to justify the emails and I think this is the proper forum to air these concerns

    Goncalves Well let’s go back to the initial email that started all this. I know all of you well enough by now to know that if any of you had made a request to any of us at central office and you did not get a response in a reasonable time because you know Patricia is responsive, you know our secretarial staff for the most part is responsive, you know that I’m responsive, a couple of days went by when you didn’t hear from us would you not pick up the phone and say, ‘Gee, would you…’”…

    Dot Cecchinato Would you not pick up the phone in the first place and do it?

    Goncalves Right! Right!

    Dot Cecchinato I find this email thing sometimes is wrong and this particular stuff I feel it was wrong. It should have been done with a telephone first talk to a human being and get it done!

    Goncalves It would have been resolved.

    Dot Cecchinato . . . the way it’s been done in the past hundred years! Why all of a sudden do we go to this . . . (waving hand in the air)

    Perotti And this is going to cost us… Are we going to be paying the expenses because of someone from Falls Village who having to call lawyers and commissions and getting all this stuff checked out… . . . ? Are we going to be billed for part of this because evidently there are some expenses…

    Goncalves I can tell you from me what frankly and honestly and I think all of you are very well aware I am at my limit at the attacks that I have taken. I’ve done a good job. I’ll continue to do a good job but I am not going to sit here and defend Patricia, she needs no defense , she does her job for six, seven boards in this region responsibly. It takes its toll to be continually attacked, to be continually accused of things that just honestly are not true.

    (unidentified) The question at hand is is that costing us the money that Delores asked about not having to defend you because as you say we all know well enough but is it costing all of us?

    Goncalves I don’t …I think it would go back to the Region 1 board, if your legal fees go up if the legal fees go up all share in the cost . . .

    (unidentified voices, comments)

    Dot Cecchinato That’s why that we’re (inaudible) . . . Why should we have to pay for some of this? To me this (inaudible )

    Susan Warner That’s just it. If there were a pattern of complaints from all six town but the pattern is not that, it’s the pattern is one individual against a few individuals

    Goncalves Patricia and I answer to 45 board members. This is one person, not 45 and Ithink I’ve come to know the region and as you said if there were others who we upset this was in invitation to (inaudible)

    Perotti You know I am really upset about what this is doing to our high school, ll that whole thing that went on with the Pingpank and all that terrible, terrible stuff in the newspapers about the school that we love. Why? Because somebody had all these complaints so we had to spend all that money that we could have spent on the students for this Pingpank person to write a report that nobody could use anyway and all it did was put a bad name on our school and that’s what I hear from people — ‘so how are things down there now? Are they getting any better?’ — They were never bad! And now we’ve got a new principal and he’s getting attacked too! It’s ridiculous!

    Goncalves Well, he’s getting attacked by one person.

    Perotti Well, let’s hope that he can withstand this, let’s hope the rest of central office can withstand this stuff because its . . . (shakes head.)

    Susan Warner I are… Why should people have to tolerate this? Why should professional educators that we want to come be treated be treated that way? Laura, I would imagine it’s difficult to go to a Region 1 board meeting.

    Perotti I know. I’m so impressed that you’re staying on this.wo im so impressed that your staying on this

    Laura Freund I know. I wasn’t named specifically but I felt that fingers were being pointed in the fact that the Region 1 budget was voted down by four votes and this meant that I was not taking care of the wishes of the constituents of my town…um. . .

    Perotti (loud) It’s all innuendo! Why doesn’t she just say ‘Laura, this is what’s happening in your town ba ba ba ba ba?’

    Laura and you’re not responsible . . .

    Perotti Why don’t people just say what they think? Using these tones in emails!

    Karen Ricadelli And calling in lawyers! Why cant we just sit down and . . .?

    Perotti (shouting) And carrying around recording devices! Do you carry around recording devices when you go to pick up papers?

    (unidentified) No! no!

    Perotti I mean, really!

    Dot Cecchinato To me these recording things are getting out . . . are so far out of hand. They disgust me!

    Goncalves You should know it was brought out of a pocket already on (inaudible)

    Perotti Well, I just wanted all you guys to know these things that Laura’s been going through and that I’ve been reading and why isn’t it everywhere? Why doesn’t it show up so that every person in Falls Village knows who they voted for?

    Goncalves There’s another issue that Patricia if you’d like to see the. . .when the emails got submitted at the end of the evening attached to the statement that the Falls Village representative read, um, upon review of them they are not complete so again it’s a mission of what individuals want to submit but not complete string of who responded and how. . .

    Perotti Why should anyone have to spend so much time . . . ?

    Goncalves We did…Patricia and I spent time . .

    Perotti CALL IF YOU WANT SOMETHING. IF YOU DON’T GET IT CALL AGAIN. TALK TO TWO DIFFERENT PEOPLE OR SAY uh! I can’t believe . . .I didn’t get through to you. JUST DO IT, don’t make people read these things a million times.

    Laura The funny part of the whole thing was the documents that were being asked for were already given to every board member, you know, so that was like. . .

    Perotti So we’re all waiting for that public apology to Patricia and Matt and Diane and the whole board. I mean, I don’t know how you guys . . . we have such a congenial board and we treat each other with respect so we all don’t mind coming to meetings even thought it’s not (inaudible) sometimes, but I can’t imagine. . .

    Goncalves And you respectfully disagree and that is the process. .. um There was a discussion at the budget workshop . .. Phil Hart.. . . he talked about the budget. .. . if the budget is approved at the board level beyond that by majority you speak as one voice. You know that you take a vote at your board meeting, you put forth a budget, you speak in one voice. There was some exception to that and the board didn’t agree I made a statement at that time that I’ll state here is that you have to respect the democratic process and that’s part of the democratic process. . . when you bring something to a vote and you vote even thought your vote is recorded but beyond that if there is a majority pass f that, well, in a democracy where majority rules it isn’t to say your voice is taken away but you hope that when you function as a board you move forward. . .

    Laura Freud I feel that as we put together the budget I bring to the table the wishes of the Town of North Canaan and I expect to see it pass, you know. We want to see the budget pared down as much as we can but we are all looking for the best possible education for our students …our biggest bang for the buck. Whatever the board votes on and decides to send to the public I support that whether or not I didn’t agree with some of the nuances that are inside that budget, I still have to come forward because I am speaking with the same voice as the rest of the board. And I will support that budget because it is something that we put together as when you guys put together a budget everybody in this board will come together….

    Perotti (inaudible) And we all speak as one. We can talk it over and talk it over and talk it over but once w e come to the final decision we all )inaudible)

    Laura Freund And there’s some members on our board, well, there is a member on our board that does not feel that that is well…if you feel the budget is not what they, they want it to be , well, then it needs to be voted down. . .

    Perotti Well, thanks for explaining all of this and I’m glad you gusy got to say something because I just . . .

    (unidentified) What can this board do? Can we go to Falls Village and voice our concerns?

    Goncalves Well, it would really be the region 1 board, She’s a representative to the Region 1 board.

    Perotti But it’s Falls Village people that elected her or this person.

    Laura Freund I think number one you need to show support for the central office and the principal because they, they you know a lot of times all they hear is this, this other stuff uh I think they need to hear your support, any public support that they can get, um I just think it needs to be made known to the public and the public needs to hear the good stuff and the public needs to know, I mean Diane has presented some beautiful programs and staff developments and the things she comes forward with, that’s all taken a back seat because this other stuff is right in your face, it’s got to stop. She’s got to be lauded for the things that are (inaudible) to our district.

    Perotti ABSOLUTLEY! I know the (inaudible) work that’s being done is all (inaudible) sper and it’s all important and it distracts from it and even just the emails that I read. . .(inaudible)

    Laura Freund for all the time that people are putting into the appeasement of this situation that’s one more minute that’s being taken away from what can happen for the kids and the energy tat goes into it is not positive energy and it’s not good for any boyd, it’s not good for anybody and I just thing we have to make people aware and we need to give people the positive attention that they need

    Goncalves But we continue to do good things like your kindergarten . . .(inaudible) Theyre wonderful, as a matter of fact I have a friend at the state who has asked for our kindergarten binder as a prototype for the common core …

    (unidentified) oooooh!

    Goncalves And again I sit here and I appreciate what Laura says . . I don’t do what I do alone though. I just facilitate meetings, I bring your wonderful teachers across this region together to do the work that they do so I don’t want to sit here and it’s them coming together and they come together and they feel bad about all this stuff too

    Perotti Do you guys want to write a letter in support of central office and say something . . . ?

    Karen Ricadelli You are squandering our children’s money. Our job is to educate not to sit here and have high school bickering over the Internet. It’s such a waste of time and resources and then to pull a lawyer in to boot, that’s, that’s gross negligence on her part if that’s what she’s doing.

    Perotti What do we do? Do we write a letter, a letter to central office in support or do we write a letter to Falls Village and say “Get a grip”?

    Karen Ricadelli I would do both. I would do both.

    Laura freudn put it in the paper

    (voices) yeah yeah

    Perotti Their Board of Selectmen and their Board of Education?

    (voices) yeah yeah

    Laura Perotti And since we pay the biggest share I think we need to speak with the loudest voice,

    (unidentified) How is it that they’re allowed to go ahead and do that without our approval? Shoudn’t we have to approve (inaudible) spending like that?

    Laura Freund It’s a vote at the meeting, no I mean whether or not the lawyer comes, it’s’s (inaudible) . . .

    (unidentified) the board just meets?

    Laura Freund yes yes

    Goncalves Patricia has put forth for that board a lot of workshops on FOI and…

    Perotti I KNOW!

    Goncalves ….roles and responsibilities… Tom Hennick has been out. Gary Brochu has been out. Tom Mooney has been out. There has been attorneys…our current attorney, our previous attorney who has advised your board on roles and responsibilities, conduct and you know your role and responsibility. . . .

    (unidentified) if it takes a lawyer to get this stiff to stop, I would say it’s money well spent but enough is enough and it’s a new year . . .

    Dot Cecchinato But it’s not going to . . . a lawyer’s not. . .


    Perotti Remember that person that Falls Village tried to censure, that one person on the board that got censured? And they all got sued and they all ended up losing even thought they censured this person who was doing debilitating things to their school, they all got in trouble because there was some loophole. I say we just we just speak like plain people like we are and say “Cut it out!” Just say what you think. Say what you think. If you don’t like someone, say you don’t like them and stop all this innuendo and emails! It’s ridiculous. If you’re going to put emails in the Internet, put them in the newspaper. Put them on the radio. Let everybody hear the tone. Because everyone in Falls Village needs to read these emails.

    (voices) yeah yeah

    Dot Cecchinato Plus we might suggest ot them to stop using them because it takes up a lot of our paid people’s time to take care of them etcetera and say “Cut it out” it would cut the cost, well, it wouldn’t cut the cost, it would cut down on time and stuff, problems

    Susan Warner I was wondering if the Region 1 board is also working on school climate and bullying issues?

    Laura Freund Absolutley, we just passed our . . .

    Goncalves. (laughs) No, she meant the board. ..

    Laura Freund Oh

    Goncalves That’s what I find very interesting, we get accused of things we’re victims of. . .

    Perotti All right, so we’ll write a letter to the board of selectmen and Falls Village and the board of ed. . . .

    (unidentified) someone mentioned the newspaper. . .

    (unidentified) Uideint s maybe we should go read it at the board meeting?

    Perotti so is that the consensus then write to the board of selectmen and the board of ed? Now because we don’t want to break any rules, we can’t put this over the Internet. What we’ll do is if you guys have anything you want in it just give Rosemary a call and tell her and she and I’ll put together a letter and you guys . . .

    (voice) no Internet, no nothing

    Perotti You guys can come down and look at the letter before we send it

    Rosemary We’ll do a draft,

    Perotti We’ll do a draft. All right we can stop now. Do we need a motion to write a letter? Are we all in favor of this?

    (unidentified) Well, you’d know if we did a motion.

    Perotti All right, let’s do a motion then.

    Laura Perotti I make a motion that we write a letter about the topics we just discussed and send it to Falls Village board of selectmen and board of education and the Regin 1 board to be read at public comment.

    (unidentified) Second.

    Perotti All in favor?

    (voices) Aye

    Perotti Opposed?


    Perotti Alright

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