The Superintendent Knows that the ABC Committee is Only Advisory Reply

The Superintendent Knows that the ABC Committee is Only Advisory —
But She Uses It to make End Runs around the Board’s Authority

First, here are the Region One Board minutes from September 28, 2005

In the discussion of examples of tasks and charges to the Region One Board,
Superintendent Chamberlain stated that “authority” cannot be delegated to another
committee, but “tasks” can be delegated.
The insurance coverage for Region One
Schools was an example of an issue that was of a concern for all seven schools and the
results of the recommendation from the RSC to the Region One Board was engaging an
insurance consulting firm to come in and analyze the schools’ needs/costs.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005
A special meeting of the Region One Board of Education and R S C was held on
Wednesday, September 28,2005, at 6:00 p.rn. in the HVRHS Library. A quorum was
present: Vice Chairman, Judge Manning, Sharon; Jane Sadowski, Kent; Susan
Warner, North Canaan; Philip Hart, Cornwall; Virginia Kruger, Salisbury; Margaret
Ruotolo, Falls Village. Present from RSC: Roger Rawlings, Salisbury; Barbara Gold,
Cornwall; Kent Allyn, Falls Village. Karren Garrity, Kent and Martha Scott, North
Canaan were absent.
Also present were: Patricia Chamberlain, Superintendent; Thomas P. Gaisford,
Assistant Superintendent; Samuel J. Herrick, Business Manager; Theresa Terry,
Director of Pupil Services. Two candidates for Region One BOE were also present:
Gale Toensing, Falls Village, and Vivian Nasiatka, Salisbury.
Mr. Manning called the meeting to order at 6 :00 p.m. There was no public comment.
The packets distributed to those in attendance had included, Region One Board’s 7000
Policy Series, Public Act 405 (Legislative).
Superintendent Chamberlain gave a power point presentation on the RSSC (Regional
School Services Center/Central Office). She then had all in attendance form a team to
answer five (50) questions, using the materials is their packets:
What is the purpose of RSC?
What are the responsibilities of RSC?
What is the RSC relationship to the Region One Board?
Questions you have generated: Concerns? General Comments .
What is ADM?
The consensus of the group: “What is the purpose of RSC?” was “advisory
committee to the Region One Board”
. “What are the responsibilities of RSC?” were
Evaluation of the superintendent, establish superintendent salary, personnel
recommendations, receive disburse grants, policies that govern RSSC, present annual
RSSC budget, receive requests for new programs or withdrawal from programs. “What
is the RSC relationship to the Region One Board?” the consensus was “advisory”
“What is ADM?” Average Daily Membership.

By Gale Courey Toensing

Yes, the Region 1 Board of Ed has the statutory responsibility and authority to act on all issues regarding Region 1, that is, the high school, pupil services and the Regional School Services Center (aka “central office”). That responsibility and authority it CANNOT be delegated — and the superintendent knows it.

The attached minutes above are from 2006 when the ABC Committee was still called the RSC–Regional Schools Committee. The minutes are from a joint meeting of the board and committee — and the superintendent clearly says that the board’s authority cannot be delegated and the ABC/RSC committee is strictly ADVISORY. Furthermore, she clearly states that “tasks” can be delegated to the ABC Committee — meaning the Region 1 board IF IT CHOOSES may ask the committee to do something — but the committee does not automatically get to weigh in on all board decisions.

So what changed to the point that the superintendent and her unconditional board majority supporters — board chairman Jonathan Moore from Kent and representatives former chairman Phil Hart from Cornwall and Laura Freund from North Canaan — now continue to spew foolishness about the ABC Committee’s alleged power? Around four and a half years a ago a few board members, myself included, began to question the actions of the superintendent and her assistant. When the Pingpank Report was issued, concern about the top two administrators began to spread to the public throughout the district. That’s when the superintendent and her assistant began to cultivate the support of the ABC Committee, particularly the chairs from North Canaan and Cornwall, in order to create a buffer between herself and those on the board who were asking questions — and she also cultivated the board majority to back up the committee. The public needs to ask these questions: What do the chairs from North Canaan and Cornwall get in return for their undying “loyalty” to the superintendent, which allows her to call them out any time she needs them to attend meetings and read letters of praise for her or condemnation for board members who seek accountability from her, or have them write logically questionable and bizarrely written letters of support to local newspaper. How does she get the board chairman Jonathan Moore from Kent and representatives Phil Hart from Cornwall and Laura Freund from North Canaan to unconditionally support her? What do the four of them talk about when they allegedly hold what would be illegal meetings before board meetings and decide who will make what motions and how they will vote?

But the main point of this posting is to show that the superintendent knew in 2006 that the ABC/RSC is an ADVISORY committee that can only make recommendations to the Region 1 board and the board can’t delegate its authority, even if the majority wants to. She knew that in 2006, so either she’s forgotten in which case she may be unfit to carry out her duties as superintendent or she’s lying to the public and making an end run around the board’s authority when she empowers the ABC Committee as she did recently by asking it to act on a board motion to reopen the administrators’ contracts. It’s time for the superintendent and especially the chairman of the Region 1 Board of Ed — who churns out supercilious nonsense about the ABC Committee representing “the autonomy of the towns and it’s backed up by six special acts and two statutes” — to stop the foolishness. Watch the video at to see all this play out.

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