A.B.C. votes NOT to open administrative contracts at their meeting June 10 Reply

The purely advisory A.B.C. voted this evening NOT to re-open the administrative contracts

From The Republican-American

Re­gion 1’s All Board Chairman Committee voted Monday against asking the superin­tendent, assistant superinten­dent and business manager to reconsider the three-year contracts that give them 2 percent raises in each of those three years.
After the Region 1 Board of Education’s budget proposal for 2013-14 was rejected in two referendums, board members voted to ask the three top administrators to reopen their contracts in re­sponse to taxpayers’ con­cerns.
The board referred the is­sue to the committee, an advi­sory group made up of the chairmen of the region’s sev­en school boards.
That group makes recom­mendations to the board on contract issues.
During the meeting, which followed an executive ses­sion, Kent Chairman Paul Cortese said that because the committee negotiates the contract with the administra­tors, it should be the body to ask to have them reopened. The motion to do so was de­feated unanimously.
The vote came on the eve of today’s budget hearing at 7:30 p.m. in Room 133 of Housatonic Valley Regional High School, during which the board will seek comments from taxpayers on their rea­sons for turning down the budget.

So Now The Board Chair and Former Chair Know They Acted Illegaly, So, It’s Once Again Time For The Region One Board of Education To Hold A Special Board Meeting 6:30 PM Tuesday Central Office Conference Room To Make It Legal Reply

philhartMr. Moore and Mr. Hart should both resign from the board immediately and be replaced by their towns Board Of Education.This last act at the last board is just the tip of the iceberg. We need to start holding this board accountable for their improper actions. You can right a wrong, but that does not take away the facts that this board has incompetent leadership.20130529_175353

Region One Board of Education
Special Board Meeting
Tuesday, June 11, 2013
6:30 p.m. Central Office Conference Room

Call to Order
Discussion and Possible Action on Board Chairmanship

No Chairman? Very Interesting…. Reply

It seems maybe Region One DOES NOT have a chairman…this is a developing story…..see the emails below (all public records) in this latest saga of The Region One Board.


From: Gale Toensing
To: Sam Herrick ; Jonathan MOORE ; Laura Freund ; Phil Hart ; Marilyn Yerks ; Scooter Tedder ; pchamberlainXXXXXXXXX
Cc: Pat Mechare ; Lou Timolat
Sent: Thursday, June 06, 2013 8:52 PM
Subject: Election of a chairman


The board needs to vote to elect a chair at our next meeting because Jonathan was not properly installed as chairman.

Patricia, I assume you will prepare the meeting agendas until this issue is resolved. Please either amend the agenda of the Special Meeting on June 11 tomorrow to add “election of chair” or include “election of chair” on the agenda for our Special Meeting on June 17. If the election of chair is not included on next Tuesday’s meeting, the board will have to vote to appoint a chair for that meeting alone. Here’s why:

At our meeting Monday, June 3, Phil resigned as chairman and said, “In fairness to our vice chairman, I would prefer to follow our bylaws which state that if a chairman resigns the vice chairman becomes an active chair.”

There is no board bylaw that says if a chairman resigns the vice chairman becomes an active chair.

The bylaws say at 9121, “In the absence of the chairman, the vice-chairman shall perform the duties and have the obligations of the chairman.” That means when a seated chairman is absent from a meeting or for a period of time, the vice chairman will take on the chair’s duties and obligations. When a chairman resigns, as Phil confirmed he did last Monday, he’s not “absent” – his seat is vacated and therefore there is no chairman.

There is no parliamentary procedure or common law that empowers a former chairman to appoint his successor. So since the position of chair is vacant it needs to be filled by a nomination and a majority vote.

This is important and crucial especially since the region is dealing with a lawsuit. Jonathan sent us an email on May 25, about the litigation, telling us he had the litigation, telling us he had met with the superintendent and the attorney from Howd & Ludorf, the firm assigned by CIRMA to the case. Jonathan had no authority to meet with the attorney even if he had been properly elected as chairman because there was no action of the board by a motion, second, and majority vote to authorize him as the board’s representative to ,eet with the attorney. These unauthorized actions put the entire board at risk of liability. As a duly elected member of this board, I and every other member have a legal right and responsibility to be briefed regularly and in writing about the progress of the litigation and not have to rely on filtered information from anyone.

I’m hoping for the courtesy of a written response to this email.

Thank you.

~~ Gale Courey Toensing

From: Jonathan Moore
To: Gale Toensing
Cc: Sam Herrick ; Laura Freund ; Phil Hart ; Marilyn Yerks ; Scooter Tedder ; pchamberlainXXXXXXX ; Pat Mechare ; Lou Timolat
Sent: Friday, June 07, 2013 6:57 AM
Subject: Re: Election of a chairman

Dear Ms. Toensing,
Once again you violate FOI with this email. What even remotely gives you the authority to “order” the superintendent and the board to take action, from behind closed doors.

I am glad that you have stated your opinion but that does not make it fact. Your comment about my email is blatantly false, especially considering your definition of “absent”, because Phil WAS absent due to health reasons. And where did you find the clause that states the board must take action to allow the chair to perform his/her duties. This board passed a motion into policy to have the chair and the superintendent interact with the attorney. Cirma is the board attorney in the matter of this particular lawsuit.

The board has been briefed on the legal action. You received the email. Nothing else has happened. If you continue to publicly claim that I am in some way lying to the board, I may be forced to seek legal action against you.

As for impropriety, the special acts for this region and our bylaws clearly state that we have yearly elections. The bylaws clearly state that if the chair is absent then the vice chair assumes those duties. No where do either define absent as vacate or any other specific condition. I know that you and others prefer to manipulate the law or our bylaws whenever they do not produce a result to you liking, but I believe following the law or rules is important.


Jonathan Moore
From Hesiod: Before the gates of excellence the high gods have placed sweat.


From: Gale Toensing
To: Jonathan Moore
Cc: Sam Herrick ; Laura Freund ; Phil Hart ; Marilyn Yerks ; Scooter Tedder ; pchamberlainXXXXXXXX ; Pat Mechare ; Lou Timolat
Sent: Friday, June 07, 2013 4:01 PM
Subject: Re: Election of a chairman


For your own sake as well as the board’s, I suggest you dial it down a notch or two. Your hair-trigger responses to recent queries make you sound angry, unreasoning and out of control.

First off, I didn’t violate the Freedom of Information Act in any way and if you think I did, please provide a citation for the violation and/or file a complaint against me with the commission.

Second, what gives me the authority to request — not “order” as you claim — that the superintendent add “election of chairman” to the agenda is the board’s bylaw 9323, Agenda Construction, which says, “Any member of the Board of Education may request an item to be placed on the agenda no later than 72 hours prior to agenda formation.”

I can’t quite untangle your second paragraph, but my comment that you were unauthorized to meet with Patricia and the attorney for Howd & Ludorf is accurate. The resolution allows the board chairman “to communicate” with the board attorney. The attorney from Howd & Ludorf is not the board attorney by any stretch of the imagination, any action of the board or any document. Our board attorney Gary Brochu advised us that we need to be neutral and not do anything that might be perceived as taking one side or the other in the lawsuit. By meeting with the Howd & Ludorf attorney with the superintendent you have given the perception that the board is siding with the superintendent just as it would have given the impression that the board sided with Lucille Paige if you had met with her and her attorney – that puts the board at risk of liability. I would say the same thing if Phil had met with the Howd & Ludorf attorney with Patricia.

Regarding your third paragraph, I have not called you a liar yet and I hope I never have to, but as a public official who is subject to all sorts of name-calling slings and arrows with little recourse in the law, you may need to reflect on Harry Truman’s timeless advice: “If you can’t stand the heat, get out of the kitchen.”

In reference to your fourth paragraph, you are correct in saying that the bylaws clearly state that if the chair is absent then the vice chair assumes those duties. Your statement that “No where do either (special acts or bylaws) define absent as vacate” is also true – and that is exactly the argument I made in my first email — because to define “absent” as “vacate” or conflate the two as you seem to be doing would be incorrect: Absent is not the same as vacate. When a chair resigns, as Phil confirmed he did last Monday, he’s not absent; he has vacated the chairman’s seat. Meaning that there is no incumbent in the position because the office is vacant. There is no chairman. You can’t fill in for someone who is not there.

The amendment to the Special Act does indeed mandate that we have elections annually but it is not restrictive, meaning it doesn’t restrict the board from holding additional elections if needed. Your implied claim that we can only have elections once a year is absurd. For example, if both the chairman and the vice chairman resigned, by your reasoning the board couldn’t vote to fill their vacant seats until the November elections.

The law is for everyone; it’s a good thing and should be followed. Proper elections and lawful procedures are what allow the public to trust their elected officials, a trust that is now lacking regarding this board. I’m certain that every member of the Region 1 board intends to proceed lawfully, so let’s do the right thing and elect a chair to finish Phil’s term until November when a full election for officers will take place.

Thank you.
~~ Gale