Tuesday, July 21, 2015

School Committee Squabble

Amherst School Committee:  Katherine Appy far left, Vira Douangmany far right

Looks like the Amherst Regional School Committee -- made up of all five Amherst School Committee members, plus 2 from Pelham and one each from Shutesbury and Leverett -- is returning to the good old days of internal strife with a side order of bickering.

Regional  Chair Trevor Baptiste announced at the 6/23 meeting that he  is scheduled to meet with the Amherst NAACP on August 14 to "engage in mediation ... to hear their issues and to discuss their goals to see if we can reach consensus."

Obviously that did not sit well with Amherst School Committee Chair Katherine Appy, who lost to Mr. Baptiste by a vote of 7-2 when the RSC reorganized itself also at the 6/23 meeting.





32 comments:

Anonymous said...

The reason it did not sit well with Ms Appy is because it's against SC policy for him to negotiate on his own on behalf of the SC. Trevor continues to try to wield power he does not have. Ms Appy was not the only one upset at his actions. He is a loose cannon with no regard for the policies that govern SC actions. She was right to call him out. I am sure when the SC next meets he will hear an earful from other members on the committee.

Anonymous said...

And we were all told that peace and harmony would exist if only Catherine Sanderson wasn't there....

Anonymous said...

Here's the answer to Vira D.'s complaint:

Katherine A. sent her email to school staff.
School staff sent it to the Regional School Committee.

No violation. Case dismissed.

Larry Kelley said...

Well she did open with "Dear fellow School Committee members," so obviously she expected Ms. Westmoreland to forward it to the entire Committee.

Anonymous said...

Never mind the small ball matter of Open Meeting Law violations that Vira is bringing up, I'd like to know what issue or issues the school committee and the NAACP are discussing in mediation? Why haven't local news outlets (including this blog) reported on this before today? Were any members of the media present when Baptiste made his comments? Has the school committee discussed this in open session? Executive session? Why isn't someone demanding that the chair and the committee be more transparent? Appy might have violated Open Meeting Law, but at least she wants our elected officials to discuss it in public. Talk about missing the point.....Sheesh!!

Larry Kelley said...

I don't believe there was anything to report on. Came up out of the blue at the end of the 6/24 meeting.

And you heard it here first.

As you are now on this OML complaint.

Anonymous said...

Clearly Vera can't count: ONE person stating an opinion is not a violation.
Whom, exactly, was Appy meeting with?

Now as to meeting with the NAACP, that is a different story.

Anonymous said...

The whole point of Ms Appy's email is that the SC NEVER discussed the NAACP matter or any mediation. There was nothing to report on.

Anonymous said...

Why does the organization refer in its name to "Colored People?" You'd think in this day and age ...

Anonymous said...

Hello Larry at 3:09:

It is not a violation of Open Meeting Law to write to a staff member, even if your email will be sent to fellow/fella committee members. That is a common practice, and is discussed at all the OML workshops that Vira has not attended.

Walter Graff said...

Hence why Larry uses the term "squabble". Imagine if this group of pishers actually focused on the students, bettering the education system and not their own egos and imaginary fences.

Anonymous said...

You know, if we have to remove the Confederate flag, we really ought to demand that an organization supposedly opposed to racism stop calling itself the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.

Anonymous said...

Walter, what Vera knows (and Larry forgets) is that it is all about the color of your skin. She's a minority, Appy isn't and hence Appy's guilty. Of something.


It's like being male, Appy is guilty.

Mommy and Daddy, teach me about failure! said...

"bettering the education system and not their own egos and imaginary fences."



It

~friggan~

shows.

LOL!


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B748QwVne64


What a fking dump.


-Squeaky Squeaks


p.s. Flusssshhhh.

Anonymous said...

How ridiculous this is! Since when do SC members file OML violations against their colleagues. Does anyone remember how during her campaign Vira talked about how collaboratively she would work with her colleagues? Since the day she was elected she has proven time and again to be just the opposite. She is anything but collaborative. She is anything but for the kids. She has her own agenda and the kids of the region are not included.
Someone should do a public records request for all of Vira's emails in July. I bet you will find plenty of OML fodder in them. What's good for the goose is good for the gander.

Anonymous said...

Is this the same Vera who hisses at school committee meetings when she doesn't want the person speaking to be heard? I've heard of the Dragon Lady, but is Vera the Snake woman who used to do the carnival circuit back in the 70s?

HIssssssssss.

Larry Kelley said...

Sticks and stones ...

And I believe she spells her name Vira.

Anonymous said...

They talk about bullying in the school all the time. What they don't talk about is bullying in the committees, subcommittees and other semblances of adult-run organizations. They're worse than the students!

Anonymous said...

Vira is a manipulative tool that uses "victims'" indignation to fuel her own personal advancement. NAAVD should be her organization.

Anonymous said...

I hope that the SC will mend its fences, and that the NAACP and the SC will Stand Together, Against Imaginary Racism.

Anonymous said...

A-ha, I knew she had a spear hidden in her clothing when she told us so calmly that she didn't bring a spear.

Anonymous said...

I have founded a new organization: the National Association for the Advancement of Colorless People. Fair is fair , sfter all. Won't You advance a colorless person today? Please?

Anonymous said...

Stand Together Against Imaginary Racist Acts as well, like racist notes that only their intended victim ever tends to find.

Anonymous said...

Anon 5:05 pm, under the description of the OML included in this point, it seems to me that Appy violated the following: "The expression of an opinion on matters within the body's jurisdiction to a quorum of a public body is a deliberation, even if no other public body member responds"

plus the idea that the OML wasn't violated because the email went to school staff first seems like a red herring since as others have pointed out, the email is clearly intended for Appy's fellow school committee members.

Larry Kelley said...

Of course the irony is she violated the Open Meeting Law to shed light on a CLOSED meeting the RSC Chair is planning to have with a PUBLIC group on a matter that could be of great concern to the general PUBLIC.

Anonymous said...

You got it wrong Larry. What Ms Appy is pointing out is Trevor announcing to the SC that he is negotiating with NAACP before the SC even discussed whether it wanted to negotiate with the NAACP. The chair has no authority to negotiate anything with anyone unless the SC votes to give him that authority first. That is what she was calling Trevor out on. That is a far more egregious matter. And I'll say it again. Do a public records request for Vira's July emails. I think you will find them interesting as well. Filled with opinions sent to the entire SC.

Anonymous said...

anon@9:14: shouldn't/couldn't have Ms Appy simply called for an emergency SC mtg? It does seem she possibly crossed the line on OML even though her concerns seem very pertinent and urgent. Was there another option available? It sure is worrisome that Ms. Baptiste seems to be meeting with the NCAAP regarding school matters without the entire SC aware of the context of that meeting and without their approval. Why can't Ms Appy call a meeting? I seem to remember it happening in the past...

Anonymous said...

Hello 8:26 and 8:30

She-who-shall-not-be-named expressed all kinds of opinions on her "My School Committee" blog, and that was not a violation of OML

Ms. Appy did not violate OML. She wrote to a staff member. That staff member forwarded her email to the SC.

You might not like that practice. It might seem evasive. But it is NOT a violation of OML.




Anonymous said...

I don't think Ms Appy expressed an opinion. I think her email merely stated several facts. It was a fact that trevor announced he was going to negotiate with the NAACP. It was a fact the the SC has never discussed the matter or authorized Trevor to negotiate. It is a fact that that is against SC long standing policy. She did not offer any opinions. She stated several facts.

Anonymous said...

I completely agree with Larry's point that "the irony is she violated the Open Meeting Law to shed light on a CLOSED meeting the RSC Chair is planning to have with a PUBLIC group on a matter that could be of great concern to the general PUBLIC," but I'd like to point out one more bit of information that makes this situation even more interesting.

Vira's husband, Ed Cage, is Vice-President of the local NAACP, the group that Chairman Baptiste was having that closed meeting with. If you think she wasn't in on this with Baptiste, then I have some ocean front property here in Amherst to sell you.

So, did Vira file this OML complaint because she is truly concerned about honest government or because it's retaliation against Appy for interfering with Baptiste's secret, mysterious negotiations with a group that she has a rather close relationship with?

Never mind the OML, what about the possibility of a conflict-of-interest violation by Vira? If the committee ends up discussing this, will she remove herself from that deliberation?

Anonymous said...

anonymous July 24 9:38 AM: "She-who-shall-not-be-named" and "the 'My School Committee' blog" are mine, come up with some of your own material.

Larry Kelley said...

Although it would be nice for my sitemeter if you mention Catherine Sanderson early and often, is it then becomes a hit magnet.