Behind the Scenes of Policy Committee

It is my deep seated conviction that administrators should not have voting rights on school board standing committees in order to ensure that your elected officials are in charge of their own committees – not the administration. If you don’t think Timberlane’s current arrangement is a symptom of diseased governance, please continue reading.

As the assigned school board head of Timberlane’s Policy Standing Committee, I have been trying to hold summer meetings.  Policy formation is one of the principal duties of the School Board, yet the established schedule of Policy Committee meetings is one hour, once per month, for 10 months out of 12.  By current policy, a majority of the committee consists of administrators, which means administrators can block a quorum and stonewall meetings. At the June 29th school board meeting, it was agreed that Mrs. Belcher would do a poll of the 3 school board members and 5 administrators to determine dates and times when a quorum (of five) would be available.  I made it clear that I am available throughout the summer both day and night.

By some oversight, neither Dr. Metzler nor his admin assistant, Mrs. Belcher, mentioned to me or the board that immediately following the June 29th school board meeting they would both be on vacation for 10 days.  The polling was thus needlessly delayed for 10 days, though it could have easily been sent out by Mrs. Belcher’s stand-in.  It didn’t much matter, though, because no administrators seem to be available at all in July except for Dr. Metzler on the evening of July 31.   This means the Policy Committee is deprived of a quorum through the unavailability of the administration for all July.  The same appears true of August although not all administrators have filled in their August availability. School board member from Plaistow, Mr. Bealo, is available for only 3 dates in July and not on July 31 – and for one hour only.

Add to this is the following email exchange initiated by a unilateral decision of the superintendent, made without conferring with me (the Superintendant and I are designated as “co-chairs” of the Policy Committee).  Please do read the exchanges. They are tremendously revealing.


 

July 11, 2017   To the Policy Committee

Due to the number of initiatives and duties associated with preparing for the start of the 2017-18 school year, Dr. Metzler (co-chair) has reduced the policy sessions from 3 hours each to two.  Please see the updated schedule below.

Thank you,

Cathy


July 11, 2017   To the Policy Committee

Dr. Metzler did not have the authority to change the length of meetings.  Pls. disregard his notice.  Thank you!

[Donna Green]


July 11, 2017  To the Policy Committee

Either way,

Please bear in mind that when I fill in the chart later tonight I am filling it in for a 1 hour meeting only, not 3 hour blocks. And they will be for any 1 hour block of time between the hours of 11:30AM and 1:30PM (that will be my morning availability) and again between 3:30PM and 5:30PM (that will be my afternoon availability). So me checking AM on some date will NOT mean I’ll be there for 3 hours, only 1 hour within that 11:30 to 1:30 window.

Peter B.


July 11, 2017   To the Policy Committee

Mrs Green has absolutely no authority to direct district staff. Please disregard any direct communications from her. 
Respectfully,  Dr. Earl F. Metzler


July 11, 2017    To the Policy Committee

What are these “initiatives” that are taking up so much time? 
If administration isn’t available for the alotted meeting time, maybe the policy should be changed to remove them from the committee.  

[Stefanie Dube]


July 11, 2017   To the Policy Committee
Thank you for your commitment to the work, Peter.  Similar thanks to Dr. Metzler.

[Donna Green]


July 11, 2017   To the Policy Committee
Thanks for the comic relief, Donna!  

[Stefanie Dube]


July 13. 2017   To a quorum of school board members only

Good morning! I have received several complaints from staff members regarding these sarcastic emails. I am going to request that you refrain from contacting district staff directly especially with sarcastic communications. They find it unprofessional and distracting. Thank you in advance for your cooperation.

Respectfully, Earl


July 13, 2017  To a quorum of school board members only

It is not your place to reprimand school board members.  Thank you in advance for your cooperation.

[Donna Green]


July 13, 2017    To Green only

Nor is it yours to direct or contact staff. Thank you in advance for your cooperation.


July 13, 2017  To School Board Chairman, Vice Chairman, and Green

See policy BHC. You should know since you are currently the Chair of the Policy Committee. I would appreciate the Chair and Vice-Chair’s assistance with this Board members direct policy violations even after a reasonable request from staff to stop with the harassment.

[Dr. Metzler]


 July 13, 2017    To a quorum of school board members and Dr. Metzler, Mrs. Belcher

Dr. Metzler,
Thank you for your email.  I don’t believe the emails were sarcastic, but were matter of fact.  I would also add that emails pertaining to the scheduling of Policy Committee meetings should originate from the Policy Chair, Donna Green.  I would also expect that any communication of this subject would be vetted through either Donna and/or the School Board Chair, Brian Boyle. 
Further, what I find unprofessional and distracting is receiving an email from you and not from the two mentioned above. 
Please refrain from doing so in the future. 
Sincerely, 

Stefanie


July 13, 2017  To School Board Chairman, Vice Chairman, Stefanie Dube, and Attorney Richard Lehmann
Dear Mr. Boyle:
Dr. Metzler has contrived to insert the word “harrassment” into his communication with me. This is clearly being done in order to create a paper trail for use in the future.
I am an elected official and I will not be intimidated by an employee. What is going on in this exchange is a clear attempt by the superintendent to interfere with my efforts to conduct the policy committee to serve the interests of the board. 
The superintendent should be instructed to cooperate with me and be made to understand board members are not his employees subject to his abuse or reprimand.

[Donna Green]


July 13, 2017   To Peter Bealo, Stefanie Dube, Brian Boyle, Kim Farar, Donna Green, Cathrine Belcher

See BHC!       [Dr. Metzler]


July 13, 2017   To Peter Bealo, Stefanie Dube, Brian Boyle, Kim Farar, Donna Green, Cathrine Belcher
Please do not email me again on matters pertaining to the Policy Committee Schedule.  I expect that communication to come from the Chair, Mrs. Green or the SB Chair, Mr. Boyle. 

Thank you.   [Stefanie Dube]


My goal is to change policy so that administrators have no voting rights on any school board standing committees.  Now why isn’t this every elected member’s goal?

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9 Comments

Filed under Sandown Issues

9 responses to “Behind the Scenes of Policy Committee

  1. Mark Richards

    “…administrators should not have voting rights on school board standing committees”

    Why have elections?

  2. Mark R Acciard

    Mr Metzler is an employee of the District. The Board of Governors of the District(School Board) are his bosses.

    Traditionally the CHAIR of a committee, handles the administration of said committee, NOT an employee who happens to have a seat on said committee.

    In other words, The megalomaniacal, Superintendent, once again, appropriates for himself the authority of his employers.

    HOW LONG WILL THE VOTERS ALLOW THIS GROSS INSUBORDINATION TO CONTINUE?

    • Ah, and here is the beauty of the whole diseased ball of wax, Mark: the superintendent is the “co-chair!” Jack Sapia on the previous board complained bitterly when the Business Administrator, George Stokinger, cancelled a Facilities Standing Committee meeting without conferring with Jack, the school board co-chair, and against Jack’s desire. Jack believes they did it to stop some unflattering news from getting out.

    • El Logan

      When I was on the local school board, one of the long-time members told incoming (elected) members that “we all work for the Superintendent.” When I said that I was pretty sure he worked for us, since we could fire or hire him, she was more than a little miffed. She was a State Rep. also. I wondered whom she thought she worked for at that job.

      Unelected admins should not be on the school board. The Superintendent is answerable to the board, should attend meetings and provide information, but should not have a vote and certainly should not try to rule over the board at all.

      • “We all work for the superintendent.” That is, sadly, what many, if not most, elected school district officials think, which is why the School District Governance Association of NH is so very badly needed.

  3. Pingback: Donna Green: Behind the Scenes of Policy Committee | The New Media Militia

  4. Pingback: Donna Green [updated]: Behind the Scenes of Policy Committee – Metzler Meddles | The New Media Militia

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