On Dec 23, 2010, at 10:54 AM, Debbie Westmoreland wrote:
Dear Mr. Aronson:
Thank you for bringing your concerns about the minutes of the December 21st Amherst School Committee meeting to my attention. As you know, minutes are not a transcript; but rather require a synopsis of any discussion that takes place at the meeting. I always attempt to capture the primary concern of the speaker when summarizing public comments. I believe you read from a prepared statement at the meeting. If you are willing to provide a copy to me, the minutes can state that you requested after the meeting that your comments be attached to the record (rather than having me try again to summarize your statement).
I do feel the need to address your statement "If the synopsis provided happens to be a deliberate misrepresentation, then these minutes are as disingenuous as Ms. Woodland's proclamation of 22 September and make a mockery out of any public comments received during School Committee meetings." I consider my job as the keeper of the public records for the Amherst, Pelham and Amherst-Pelham School Committees to be one of the most important aspects of my position and would never deliberately misrepresent anything discussed at a meeting. In serving under four different Superintendents/Co-Superintendents, I have always remained impartial in the recording of minutes--attempting to ensure that all discussions are portrayed accurately. I agree wholeheartedly that public records must be accurate and am dismayed at your suggestion that I would deliberately misrepresent them. If you have concerns about my job performance in the future, I request that you bring them to the attention of the Superintendent.
Administrative Assistant to the Superintendent
On 12/23/10 11:35 AM, "Michael Aronson" wrote:
Dear Ms. Westmoreland,
I am not questioning the quality of your job performance. As you may note, I suggest that the speed at which I speak perhaps impaired your ability to hear all that I had to say. The sole request I have is for you to revise your notes to reflect what was said. Feel free to use the email sent yesterday to inform your minutes.
What I observe is that upon recording others' comments - especially those similar to that of Ms. Woodland that provide glowing assessments of the interim superintendent - there seems to be no limit on the detail provided. But as I noted in my comments, Ms. Woodland's comments are colored by both her conflict of interest and Ms. Geryk's failure to clarify the nature of those conflicts. The focus of my comments was an ethical breach and fiduciary irresponsibility, yet this is not reflected in the minutes. My concern is that comments critical of administrative practice are not being fully aired. That harms public welfare.
I understand that in the highly politicized environment inside the District at this time there is a lot of pressure - not the least of which is on you. The fact that the event I described occurred and is easily documented, clearly shows this.
Please do not interpret my comments as an attack on your integrity - which I do not question. Should I have offended you in any way please accept my apologies. My comments were not focused on the messenger.
I remain committed to being represented accurately in the minutes. Thank you for your efforts in this regard.