Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Board of Ed Starts Meeting On Sad Note

The Middletown Board of Education began proceedings Tuesday by noting some recent deaths of a school district colleague and of close relatives to administrators.

School Superintendent Pat Charles was absent from the meeting, still on bereavement leave as the result of her father's death on December 3.   In addition, Assistant Superintendent Enza Macri noted the passing of the father of Lynda MacPherson, Manager of Financial Operations, the death of Herb Paddock, Tuesday morning, the husband of Marcy Poppel, the districts adminstrative assistant to the superintendent.  Macri also spoke movingly of the death of Patricia Kukor a veteran school social worker who died unexpectedly at age 58.

The meeting proceeded to a technical dispute.  New board member Deborah Cain was on assignment in England for her company and asked to participate in the meeting via Skype.  Board chair Vinnie Loffredo sought a legal opinion on the request, and found that as long as Cain could hear the entire meeting, and her response could be heard that she could legally be seated for the meeting, and vote, via Skype.

Board member Linda Sczynkowicz questioned whether Cain could participate in an executive session, and she was assured by Loffredo that as long as Cain affirmed that she was alone at her location, that she could be privy to confidential discussions.

Vice chair, Sheila Daniels objected to Cain's particiapation, not on legal grounds but because the district has no policy or by-law to deal with remote electronic participation.

Giuliano receives recognition.
"I have some reservation in doing this in this manner because we don't have a policy or by-law," Daniels said.  "I wish we had tabled it for this evening, and had full board conversation.  I want to go on record that I am not in favor of this because we do not have a policy."

Loffredo indicated that by law, Cain was obliged to be seated, and the meeting continued.

Facilities manager Edgar Cintron-Rosa presented a recognition from facilities contractor Sodexo to Woodrow Wilson custodian John Giuliano for work beyond the call of duty.

On the topic of redistricting, Macri announced that there would be an additional public forum on redistricting at Snow School on Monday, December 14 at 6PM.

1 comment:

Karen Swartz said...

Thanks for reporting on this - we are in the 21st century and our government's use of technology should reflect that. Kudos to Ms. Cain for raising the issue and for demonstrating that distance will matter less and less and that participation from afar is possible. We need to continue to incorporate modern day flexibility into our governance practices.