A capsule of last nights meeting Reply

From this mornings Republican-American…..




FALLS VILLAGE — Most of the questions raised at the Re­gion 1 Board of Education budget hearing Wednesday fo­cused on administrative con­tracts.

As in years past, the turnout was low. Of the approximately 25 people who attended the ses­sion, about 10 weren’t school employees or members of the press. The region covers the six towns of Canaan, Cornwall, Falls Village, Kent, Salisbury and Sharon.

Business Manager Samuel J. Herrick took the audience through the document, explain­ing the various line items that cover the three components.

Marshall Miles of Salisbury and Falls Village First Select­man Patricia A. Mechare reiter­ated their concerns about extending the central office ad­ministrators’ contracts again by one year, so they would now end in 2015. The two have been outspoken during the budget process about their disagree­ment with the procedure, which was done last year as well.

Mechare again talked about the letter written by Town At­torney Judith Dixon at the be­hest of the Falls Village Board of Selectmen last year calling it “a poor business practice.” Mechare said she spoke with her again earlier in the day and “she hasn’t changed her mind. She said the playing field is not level with the advantage to the administrators, not the taxpay­ers. I’m disappointed the board will not listen and come back and discuss it.”

Dixon is also the town attor­ney for Canaan and Sharon.

Both this year and last, some board members said not giving the administrators contract ex­tensions gives them the mes­sage their performances are in question and they should start to look for jobs elsewhere.

“My beef is the extensions,” said Miles.

“When you start adding more things, like vacation days and annuities, that’s not an exten­sion.

It’s a new contract.”

He noted that according to the assistant superintendent’s contract, she can leave with 45 days notice, but the board has no such option. “That’s wrong and it bothers me.”

Herrick was questioned about Superintendent Patricia Chamberlain’s annuity, which this year is part of her salary line, rather than in the pension line where it was in the past. Both Miles and Mechare said the procedure appeared to be in conflict with the way the state Teachers Retirement Board suggests.

Miles said having the salary and annuity in two separate line items “would make the public feel better.”

Herrick said the procedure was reviewed by two attorneys and someone from the TRB and everyone agreed it was appro­priate.

Falls Village resident Louis Timolat wanted to know, “Is there something wrong with the teachers’ retirement system that an annuity is necessary?”

Just like in “Survivor” the Tribal Council met tonight and in a few minutes after public comments agreed to send the budget on to voters. We will post video here tomorrow after CATV 6 has the video up on-air, probably by late afternoon tomorrow. 3

It’s official! The budget will go to referendum after the Board of Education agreed to send it on its merry way. Questions about annuities, the non-certified employees contracts not being settled, questions about the  new three year contracts of last year being torn up and new ones issued one year later be dammed. The Region One Board is full speed ahead with a budget that has questions for all administrators, but apparently, no answers to those questions.Image

                     The Tribal Council

Superintendent Patricia Chamberlain salary is right in “upper third” of area superintendents..by her own admission…the question is..do the others tear up a new three year contract EVERY year and get a new one…ANSWER…NO! 2

From this mornings Republican-American


FALLS VILLAGE — A local radio personality and blogger’s concern about the salary of Re­gion 1 Superintendent Patricia Chamberlain led to her defend the figure at a meeting of the Region 1 Board of Education Monday.

Marshall Miles, a local radio commeImagentator on WHDD FM in Sharon and operator of a blog called regiononereport.com, has been outspoken about the contract raises and extensions that have been approved by the board for the five central office administrators. During the pub­lic comment period Monday he raised the issue, explaining he’d done a survey of surrounding area towns and the salaries they paid their top school adminis­trators.“Our superintendent’s salary is top of the scale and comparable to others,” Miles said. “To take a 2 percent raise in these times is unconscionable.” Chamberlain later provided information about other area superintendents’ pay. Most of them have salaries higher than hers. Chamberlain’s salary is $148,360 plus an annuity of $8,902 for a total of $157,262. The board is proposing 2 percent wage increases for her and two others (3 percent for the remaining two), plus a contract extension to 2015.

The proposal calls for Chamberlain to receive next year a base salary of $151,327 plus an annuity of $9,080, for a total of $160,407.

She is also slated to get five additional vacation days and two more personal days.

Chairman Philip Hart asked Chamberlain if she’d like the opportunity to respond to Miles. She said she had called around that day to several other area districts and received salary information for superintendents.

According to Chamberlain, the Winchester system, which is pre-kindergarten through grade six, is small and has one school board. That superintendent’s current salary is $130,000.

Region 6, which has 1,036 students and one board of education, pays $162,000, while Region 7, with 1,007 students in grades seven through 12, pays $149,940. The superintendent in Region 10, which is a K-12 region, and has one board of education, gives a salary of $184,000 and Region 12, with 880 students and one board of education, pays $182,000, she said.

Region 7 does have separate local school boards in its member towns, although they have their own head administrator.

Chamberlain pointed out Region 1 has seven boards of education and seven budgets. Student population from the six towns totals 1,740.

Miles noted that Torrington, which has 5,000 students, is paying its new superintendent $142,000.

He said there is no question that a school superintendent needs to be fairly compensated, “but I don’t want people to think you’re drastically underpaid.”

Just got back from the Region One Board of Education Meeting…..and boy do I feel honored, for the first time in memory, the superintendent got to rebut a comment made by me during “public comment”! WOW! 2

Wow, I feel honored! During the “public” comment section tonight, the Region One superintendent got up and spoke to rebut comments that I made about pay in the area, the comments were not even addressed to her, they were made to the board! The Region One Chair, Phil Hart allowed it, but, I am not really sure if it was appropriate! The superintendent has her own time to give a report..she is NOT part of “public” comment…she is NOT the “public”, she is the superintendent! Oh well…they just don’t get it…tearing up three-year contracts every year and writing new ones is just plain WRONG. Period.

Register Citizen story on FCC dismissing Goncalves complaint 1



FCC sides with WHDD in complaint from Region 1 Schools administrator


Monday, April 2, 2012



The Federal Communications Commission on March 30 sided with Sharon-based WHDD radio and its co-founder, Marshall Miles, in a complaint filed by Region 1 Schools Assistant Superintendent Diane Goncalves.

“This was an attempt by the Region 1 administration to bully,” Miles said in a phone interview Monday afternoon. “They might be able to get away with it in their own school system, but they’re not going to bully us.”

In the complaint, filed on December 5, 2011, Goncalves contended that on multiple occasions Miles broadcast on-air endorsements of specific candidates running for public office and also criticized specific members of the Region 1 Board of Education. She contended that such action were a violation of the Communications Act of 1934, and specifically Section 399 of that act. That section specifically states, “No non-commercial educational broadcasting station may support or oppose any candidate for public office.”

On January 13, Miles filed opposition to the complaint by Goncalves arguing that the specific section cited in Goncalves complaint addresses endorsements or opposition by the station itself. Miles counter-argued that his on-air endorsements stated at the beginning and at the end that the endorsements were his personal opinion and did not reflect that of the management, underwriters, staff or WHDD. He cited legal precedent to back his argument.

Gonclaves responded to Miles’ opposition with confirmation that he did use a disclaimer of personal opinion to accompany the endorsements, but that they came only at the end. Additionally, she said on the station’s most recent ownership report that the stations officers are Miles and two appointees. She argued that Miles involvement in the station equated to him being a spokesman for the station as an entity.

The FCC letter from Mark L. Berlin, Policy Division of the Media Bureau, clearly sided with Miles on the issue of criticism of school board members. The letter states, “At the outset, Ms. Goncalves’ contention the station criticized various members of the Region 1 Board of Education on the air is not prohibited by any law or policy.”

The letter goes on to cite a 1973 opinion on Section 399, stating, “…we concluded that it would be an unnecessarily broad construction of Section 399 to prevent all personal expression of views on public issues by employees of a noncommercial educational broadcast station.”

On the issue of endorsements, the letter concluded, “We also believe that your endorsement of certain school board candidates on the air was permissible – as long as you clearly indicated that it was your personal opinion and not that of the station. Section 399 applies only to formal station support or opposition of a candidate for public office, and you should take care in the future that your personal views over the air continue to be clearly labeled as such.”

Miles said the word ‘continue’ in that last sentence adds validity to what he has been doing all along. “The FCC, with that one word, validated what we’ve been doing and said we’re following the rules,” he said.

He added that the decision came as no surprise, but it came at a cost.

“This was a free speech issue,” Miles said. “I’m not surprised at the decision because the FCC’s rules clearly state that employees or hosts at independent, not-for-profit stations can make personal opinion statements. But the ruling came at a cost to us. We had to hire a lawyer to fight this.”



The Federal communications Commission today rejected the complaint by Diane Goncalves against Marshall Miles, and Tri-State Public Communications asserting that

FCC rules were violated when Miles spoke out against certain Region One school board members, and endorsed candidates in the school board elections.  And the FCC went on to clearly state that the practice of personal endorsements can continue by continuing to state and label the opinion as Miles own.

The administration of Region One may be able to bully and muzzle opposition in the school system, but not out in the real world where free speech, and free thinking is not restricted and banned, but cherished.

Attached please find the FCC decision.