During last night’s reorganization meeting of the Colonial School Board, four new members took the oath of office and joined the five remaining current members on the board. Felix Raimondo was elected president and Leslie Finegold was elected vice-president. Raimondo won by a vote of six to three over Susan Moore (the board’s most recent president) and Finegold was unopposed.
Once the new members (Jennifer D’Amato Dow, Eunice Franklin-Becker, Rosemary Northcutt and Adam Schupack) were sworn in and the leadership selected, the only thing left on the agenda involved signatures plates. At this point (20:50 in the video), new member Eunice Franklin-Becker made a motion to amend the agenda to allow a motion that would authorize the superintendent to issue a RFP (return for proposal) for the position of solicitor.
The motion was very detailed. The motion only allowed for school board members to have input on the questions that would be within the RFP up until noon today (so less than 24 hours). The RFP is to be issued by close-of-business today (so less than 24 hours). Potential solicitors only have until December 11th to return a proposal and a special meeting is to be scheduled on December 13th to consider the proposals.
Incumbent members Cathy Peduzzi, Mel Brodsky and Susan Moore questioned why there is a rush to issue the RFP. They also believed that the four members, along with Raimondo and Finegold, had discussed the change among themselves and did not include all school board members.
This was followed by more discussion between the board members and public comment. Parents, and even a student, strongly questioned this action being taken by a faction within the school board. People weren’t necessarily questioning the idea of a RFP, but how it appeared it was being conducted behind the scenes. One parent was brought to tears. To watch this video click here and start at 22:00 (you really want to watch this video).
In the end, the Gang of Six (that is what we are going to call the new members, along with Raimondo and Finegold) voted to support the motion that the RFP be issued.
This was all very strange. Why the rush? According to school board member Mel Brodsky, the current solicitor has a contract through June. With that timing, is it really necessary to rush a RFP and hold a special meeting just to select a new lawyer? Why not involve everyone in the discussion that obviously took place prior to the meeting? They still would have had the votes to make the change.
Is this why the new members of the school board decided to run? Nothing happening within the school district is more urgent than awarding a contract to a lawyer? Is nothing more deserving of a special meeting?
Again, why the rush?
Let us know what you think about all of this in the comments.