Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Remarks The Circus Posse Prez Tried To Squelch ...

Frank Oberg's Comments To The BOE 7/14/09:

This marks the start of my fifth year on the board. I can not sit silently after what has transpired here tonight. I am making the following remarks because I have a desire for a better process going forward under our new leadership.

When I first ran for this board, I naively thought that elected board members could and would come together and work for the betterment of education in Greece. How wrong I was.

It is clear to me, and it should be to the community, that the infusion of $15,000 three years ago to win three seats on this "volunteer" board of education has resulted in the fact that big money politics is a factor in determining the educational outcome for our district's kids. It is abundantly clear that politics have been in play these past three years. It is has never been more clearly demonstrated than these past few days. The selection of board officers tonight was not based on merit but was based on all manner of back door deals, intense pressure, whispering, and the outright telling of lies by certain board members who were determined to control the outcome.

It is sickening to me but it is in keeping with the "finest" traditions of Greece power politics. The selection process was about determining who could be controlled, who could be counted on to march to the drumbeat of the "puppet master." It was not about who was best qualified to move our program forward.

Upon my first election to this board four years ago, I and my running mates came to this board with a list of approximately 60 items that we saw as necessary to bring change in this district. Most of that list was accomplished within the first year. Then came the politics! The stated purpose was to put an end to the so called "Majority/Minority way of doing business" and to put a focus on education! In the succeeding years more big money was employed by "special interests" to stack the board with "pliable candidates!" Behind the scenes, there is much "pressure" applied to various board members to get in line, usually to support whatever the superintendent's position is. The fact that it is going on is undeniable!

We now have a board that refuses to develop board goals, refuses to establish or enforce high standards of performance for our administration or for our kids. We have a board that has not bothered to develop a list of items that need to be fixed or worked on. Worse yet, this board has not insisted that our superintendent develop such a list nor require that the status of that list be reported on at periodic intervals. This board permits a system to function that I will label "pinball machine management!" This district bounces from pillar to post on the problems we tackle much like the playing of a pinball machine! This is a board that "lets things happen" as opposed to "making things happen!" As Beatle George Harrison's lyrics indicate, "when you don't know where you are going, any road will get you there!"

This board of education has no comprehensive plan to bring about needed improvements. The "School Improvement Plan" initiative has been running for two years yet this board does not require regular updates on its status or its results. Yet even that plan is not an all encompasssing plan to bring about improvement in this district. A glaring example is the absence of an overall comprehensive capital improvement plan. It was not even on our superintendent's list of goals when this board last set them until I made a point of it. I should acknowlege that such a plan is finally in the development stage. However, a recent study session on this topic revealed that the initial cut at developing a plan did not include any mention of the athletic fields or resources, a glaring omission!

This board rarely makes any attempt to have serious discussion about issues at our meetings. Often, parliamentary tricks such as "tabling motions" or "calling the question" are employed by the "NEW Majority" to limit or avoid discussion particularly if such might touch on sensitive matters that some do not want discussed. Apparently, "majority" is no longer a dirty word in this board's vocabulary when it works to their advantage. This board has also expended district legal funds to have district lawyers attempt to limit the ability of certain board members to introduce motions or discussion topics.

This board does not find it necessary, except when prodded by a lone board member or two, to express the will of the board legally by making and voting on resolutions as the law requires.

I wish to be fair. There are a few results produced over the past couple of years of which I am proud. Expenditure growth and property tax rate increases have been moderated, the board has wisely established some reserve accounts which enhance the financial viability of the district, and we have insisted on establishing labor agreements that help to contain future costs to the district. We have clearly made vast improvements in the openness with which we approach the development of our annual budget. We have positively addressed the findings of the Comptroller's Audit and introduced various improvements. The Special Education program has been improved. There are a few others I haven't mentioned!

I am also cognizant of the improvements in various test scores that have occurred these past two years. This improvement did not come about because of this board but because of the hard work of many, many of our district employees who diligently perform their jobs regardless of what occurs in this boardroom!

I think recognition should be given to the fact that not all of this board's members participate in the underhanded despicable board politics I have previously described. Julia should be given recognition for the fact that she has been trying her best to bring more focus and clarity to the efforts of this board over this past year. That is why I supported her election for another term as president.

Yet, there is much more serious work to be done by this board. We need to stop playing back door, big money politics. We need to get focused on determining and then addressing the significant issues of this community's school district even if those issues are controversial and might grab the front page of the local newspapers.

This morning, board members Julia, Anne Marie, Gale and I attended the first part of the district's annual retreat. We heard a very informative discussion on the district's draft vision by Dr. Euebbing, a vision that has finally come about because of Julia's persistence over a two year period. We also heard a presentation by Peg Portcheller on the "Professional Learning Community." Neither of these presentations made nary a mention of the need for power politics. Rather, both of these education leaders stressed the need for all stakeholders to be working together, the need for continuous improvement, modelling good behaviors, having high expectations, establishing a culture of trust and respect, and demonstrating high ethical behavior! It is a shame that the entire board could not have been there to hear this and then be able to put it all in practice for the good of our kids and community!

We, the members of this board, need to restore a sense of real leadership and direction in this district. It is up to the members of this board to put past practices behind us. It is time for a new beginning! I hope we can begin now!


SCATS ~~ Oddly, Sean McCabe's vitriolic response (Maybe he had a guilty conscience listening to Oberg's comments?) was well-tolerated by Mr. Tydings. Nope! No favoritism there, folks ;)

17 comments:

Anonymous said...

How did MCCABE respond to Oberg? What did he say?

Anonymous said...

Frank's remarks seem to the point and well within bounds. He didn't even call the board a clown posse!!!Why were they suppressed? What kind of dumbos are running the board?

Anonymous said...

When duly elected board members have something to say during a comment period there can be no violation of his/her right to free speech. if a board member is talking after a motion has been moved and seconded there can be no cutting off while he/she is speaking . There can in that instance be a motion to call the question but not while the member has the floor.
Apparently the board member that is having his speaking cut off has to continue speaking over the interruption of the president since the member has the floor. He should continue to say "I still have the floor" and keep speaking.
It will be interesting to see how the president handles that. It might be rude to speak over someone in private informal conversation but this is public office and there are different rules. It is the president of the board that was in error in cutting off this board member.

Anonymous said...

Ironically, the board president who is a lawyer attempted to silence Frank shortly after swearing to defend the Constitution of the United States. Go figure.

Anonymous said...

"Julia should be given recognition for the fact that she has been trying her best to bring more focus and clarity to the efforts of this board over this past year....


Believe me, nearly everyone I have spoken to in this school community would disagree! Julia has derailed the district to cater to her own agenda and and for this reason, she needed to be removed from office. Hopefully, our new BP will stay focused and represent the entire community, not his own bias agenda!

Anonymous said...

Honestly, Could Sean McCabe be a bigger boob? Before you answer that question, ask a few of his co-workers. He is pathetic on so many levels it's mind boggling!

SCATS said...

To 9:19PM ~~ Are you referring to Sean "I move the entire agenda so we can go home" McCabe??

Anonymous said...

I'll be the judge of "big boobs", thank you very much.
-S

Anonymous said...

Thanks Frank for standing up for your rights. Thank you for your thoughful comments.

Anonymous said...

Why did McCabe run for a BOE seat? It is painfully apparent he was unaware of the requisite duties.

Anonymous said...

Let's see, why did McCabe run for BOE: His family are winners of the Greece school lottery and will always vote to keep it in place. His wife is a Greece school employee and he will always vote for the HUGE raises they request, thus increasing his household income. Through his political duties with GFD, he has rubbed elbows with local Republicans who have him thinking he has a great future within the party (translation: he's an empty headed stooge that will do what he's told by Roger and the boys he looks up to).

Anonymous said...

I am very disappointed in you, Frank. You disparage the integrity of the rest of the board and tout yourself as the lone voice of reason and of the community. Frank you are just one voice, not THE voice. Shame on you. You are not God and not that special. How can you spit on them and then expect to work with them. Do you always lash out like this when you don't get your way?

SCATS said...

To 4:42PM ~~ The difference between Oberg and the rest of the BOE is that unlike you, he usually doesn't name names unless it's in a complimentary context (like his kudos for Julia). THAT is civil behavior in that situation. McCabe's remarks were directed at Frank personally making it an attack on him only, "uncivil" by definition.

Anonymous said...

Yeah Frank shame on you! Who the hell do you think you are speaking up trying to make this district work responsibly! This is Greece Frank, we need special interests taken care of above all else. You and your attitude about attepting to make this town functional have got to go!

Anonymous said...

You're right, Frank is a gentleman. He didn't name names. He just condemned the entire board and accused them all of being corrupt. What a guy! What a gentleman!

SCATS said...

To 10:45AM ~~ Sometimes it's necessary to call a spade a spade :)

Anonymous said...

I've been away for a few days and just came home today to find that Tydings has been elected President and of all people, Jeff Smith, Vice President. This says all that needs to be said about the present majority on that board.

Who in their right mind would elect Jeff Smith as an officer. He has been on that board for three years, has uttered about six complete sentences, none of which made any sense, has no clue what is going on and is probably, one of the worst board members ever in the history of the school district. He is told by Roger how to vote on every issue and has never asked one question and even if he did, I doubt he would understand the answer so it's just easier for him to ignore all the materials sent to the board and ask Roger how to vote.

This just proves once again that Roger the Dodger has done his dirty work and bought himself a board he can totally control. With Stenglein voting for Jeff Smith as Vice President and completing the majority of five needed along with the other four incompetents on that board, I have absolutely no hope for the future and, in fact, have totally given up on the hope that anything will ever be done to improve our schools.

Stenglein appeared once at a school board meeting in support of the hockey team and now, as a brand new board member she can vote for Tydings and Smith? She has been bought completely by the man who put her there. This is so sickening I can't stand it.