John Mauer’s letter to the editor of The Republican-American, and our response to Mauer’s foggy view… 1

Mauer’s letter:

Region 1 board is unfairly treating its superintendent

The Region 1 Board of Education always seems to put its foot in its mouth. Last week, during the budget meeting, the board voted 4-2 to ask the three top administrators to reopen their contracts. The board does not have the authority to take such an action. And because this action was in response to vicious attacks on Superintendent Patricia Chamberlain, the board’s majority exhibited a complete lack of integrity.

The authority to negotiate the contract for the superintendent lies with the All Boards Chairmen (ABC) committee, made up of all seven chairmen from the seven school districts in Region 1. Ms. Chamberlain is superintendent for all seven districts, not just the high school represented by the Region 1 board. This board can ask the ABC committee to consider its request but cannot take unilateral action.

The three administrators involved would be well advised to inform the Region 1 board of its legal limitations, and refer the action to the ABC committee. Actually, the board would be well advised to just say no, the same way the teachers would respond if asked.

But there is a deeper meaning to this action. The Region 1 board has about 150 employees. When any employee of the board comes under public criticism, the board must respond by protecting that employee, even if subsequent private correction is needed. The board must provide consistent, ethical leadership.

For example, consider the situation when a teacher is criticized in public by a group of parents, the news media, or worse yet, a board member. That teacher rightfully would expect the employer to defend his or her public reputation. If the situation required correction, it would be done through the confidential evaluation process. But the public reputation of the teacher would be maintained. Any board member who does not respect this ethical position should be asked to resign.

The key here is to understand what it means to lead by example. When a public criticism of one employee is allowed, all employees are threatened. This is an intolerable situation.

The position of superintendent is no different. She is an employee of Region 1. She received excellent job evaluations from all seven boards of education. Recently, she has been the subject of a lawsuit by an employee, based on unproven allegations. Any responsible board should stand behind her while the legal process plays out, notwithstanding that it seems without merit. That it did not do so demonstrates a complete lack of integrity. The board failed its test of moral character.

Naturally, the source of the motion was board member Gail Toensing, who should be encouraged to resign before she can do more damage to the board’s reputation.

John Mauer
South Kent

My response:

” Mr. Mauer is wrong in this statement…
The authority to negotiate the contract for the superintendent lies with the All Boards Chairmen (ABC) committee….the ABC has no legal can only RECOMMEND to the regional board. But that does not surprise me, Mr. Mauer has been wrong on many different facets of this budget process, way to many to print here! As a reminder, the last time Region One had multiple votes (more than 2) on a budget was, you guessed it, when Mr. Mauer was Chair of the Board Of Ed! Whats the old saying? Misery loves company. ”

Please write your responses to the Letters To The Editor of the Republican-American as we can not let dis-information like this go un-rebutted!