So, the Buffalo News has decided to take the six School Board member majority to task, as does Board member Larry Quinn, for supposedly holding a “secret meeting” with our attorney. But, where was the Editorial Board of the News in 2014 when the then Board majority, comprised of Larry Quinn, Carl Paladino, Patti Pearce, James Sampson and Jay McCarthy, hired Donald Ogilvie as Superintendent, without the involvement or the knowledge of the four minority members? Mr. Ogilvie’s appointment as Superintendent was already à fait accompli when he was brought to the first meeting of the new Board and voted in by the 5 member majority over the objections of the minority members. Not only did this appointment result from secret meetings of that Board majority, Mr. Ogilvie and a Board attorney but this unethical and illegal maneuver was never called out or condemned by the News.
So much for the Editor’s irate observations and sham watchdog reporting when it comes to the ethical or legal actions of this current Board majority. Secret meetings and decision making was a hallmark of the old Board. Yet, even when pointed out, those Board members were not singled out, admonished for not playing fair or for “insulting the voters” as the News does in their January 23rd. editorial.
Contrary to this editorial or the comments of the oppositional Board members; the meeting was neither secret nor illegal. In fact, Mr. Paladino knew about the meeting because one of his Board cohorts, who attended the meeting, breached confidentiality to inform him. There was no attempt to hide the fact that a meeting was taking place; it was held in the Board room, during the day, with the knowledge of staff. Members met with their attorney to receive legal advice in the matter of the petition to request Mr. Paladino’s removal from the Board. Following their reporter’s research, the News’ article (January 22) had to admit that the members were following legal protocol in the conduct of this meeting:
“When The News contacted Freeman, he said that elected boards are allowed to meet privately to seek legal advice without publishing notice of the meeting to the public.” (January 22, 2017)
In spite of the facts to the contrary, a day later the News resorts to name-calling to bolster their claims of wrong-doing by the six Board members calling us “chickenhearts” and “cowards”. Talk about being disingenuous! The Buffalo News has never been supportive of the minority/Minority members of the Board. This editorial is another in a series of editorials that have been thinly veiled attacks on our accomplishments, our competence, and our commitment to the children. Chickenhearts! Who even uses that word anymore? Cowards?! HARDLY! We are six working class women, taking on men of means and choosing to seize and maintain the “moral high ground”. Our wealth and our strength come from the support of thousands of men, women and children of all ages, races and backgrounds and national origins, who are standing with us, against intolerance, against racism, against misogyny, against homophobia, against xenophobia and against the distorted and biased editorials of news organizations masquerading as “fair and balanced” publications.
We call ourselves, “Upstanders”, and will continue to confront bullying whether from individuals or mega organizations attempting to shape public opinion.
These comments are my opinion and not made in my capacity as the Buffalo Board of Education President.