Friday, July 23, 2010

Yet another shake up in the schools?

So our School Committees are rethinking expensive legal services for the four-town Regional High School (Amherst, Pelham, Leverett and Shutesbury) and Amherst Schools (comprising over 75% of the Regional) and, you know, wish to seek proposals for their lucrative "business" which state law requires for any supplies or service over $5,000--except of course for attorneys or superintendents who coincidentally all seem to cost taxpayers well over $100,000 annually.

The current firm, who has been handling legal advice forever, balked at the idea of entering a competition to maintain their lucrative contract; attorney Regina Tate sent (12/4/09) an "I object!" insubordinate letter to at the time newbie Region Chair Farshid Hajir, who apparently rolled over like a beaten puppy.

"I received your emails dated November 19,2009 in which you indicated that the school Committees are engaged in the periodic review of the services and costs of legal counsel, and you asked for the submission of materials. In view of the fact that none of the School Committees has ever engaged in a "periodic review" of legal counsel services and costs during the entire time this firm has represented the school districts, I have assumed that the School Committees are actually searching for new counsel.

On behalf of Murphy, Hesse, Toomey and Lehane, I wish to inform the School Committees that the firm will not be applying to continue as counsel."

She goes on (and you gotta hope she did not bill us for her time producing this insubordinate missive): "It is clear to me that the positive relationship which I have enjoyed in the past, and which enabled me to produce excellent results for the Committees, is probably not possible."

A small business owner would not have gotten beyond the first paragraph before picking up the phone and bellowing Donald Trump's patented line, "You're fired!"


Anonymous said...

What a wonderful advertisement for her services. Not!

LarryK4 said...


Of course it just occurred to me that the letter in question may not actually be a "public document" since attorney/client communications are immune.

Although it would be odd that such a nasty note from an attorney to their client (which is, after all, us taxpayers) would be consider legal advice covered under that provision.

Anonymous said...

She saw the end of her gravy train and was upset. And you have to wonder WHY there wasn't a periodical competition for the contract to supply the school with legal services? Whose bright idea was it to give these people the okay to just continue forever? No one conducts business like that. Oh yeah, I forgot, we're in Amherst.

Anonymous said...

In this economy, no attorney, no matter how thickheaded, would have sent an email like that unless there is something else.

Though school departments are (or were) a gravy train, you can't bill for every email and phone call to the minute. my guess is that the rate was cut, and due to the current turmoil, the law firm was spending way too much time, possibly detracting from other paying clients, handholding Amherst et al.

Every lawyer has a client that pushes you to the tipping point. Perhaps this happened here.

Ryan Morse (no relation to Rick)

Anonymous said...

Actually, if she didn't communicate with that attitude, no one in Amherst would understand her...

Anonymous said...

Don't let the door hit you on the way out.

Anonymous said...

she can work at "lumberjackers"

Anonymous said...

the letter you're talking about, at least the part you've printed, sounds very level-headed and reasonable to me. it says "it sounds like you're looking for something else, we understand, and will abstain from applying. it looks like, based on what you guys havce going on with your school committee, that a continued positive relationship won't happen." doesn't sound nasty to me. read it again. you all need to get thicker skin if you found that harsh and nasty!

LarryK4 said...

Then why did she send the email I posted early this morning a little while later?

Try to keep up.

Anonymous said...

well, i believe that was explained well by the chair of the regional school committee, after that woman's firm presented to them. she accepted the apology of the chair, and after it was explained that a mistake was made, she said in the second email "thanks for the frank discussion, we are now willing to throw our hat into the ring, in light of the clarifying info we received from that discussion." have you watched that school committee meeting? does her sending the second email that you posted somehow modify the first for you? does the second email PROVE that the first is angry, is that what you're trying to say?

it's not an angry email. both emails are very professional and to the point. i just don't understand what you're trying to get at and why. honestly.

i think perhaps you read stuff to yourself with an angry, insubordinate, sarcastic tone. seriously.

Anonymous said...


Is that you Kathy Mazur?