In the October 26, 2017 edition of the TriTown Times, Hampstead School Board Chairman, Karen Yasenka, had this to say about three Timberlane School Board members, myself included:
“I find it deeply concerning that three Timberlane board members voted against a code of ethics that simply and clearly defines the way we do business as a board and how we interact with each other. It’s especially concerning to me that members of the leadership team at Timberlane have such little regard for ethical behavior. Brian Boyle representing Atkinson, chair of the Timberlane Board, Dr. Kim Farah representing Danville, vice-chair of the Timberlane Board and Donna Green representing Sandown, chair of the Timberlane Policy Committee voted against conducting business in an ethical manner. As leaders of public education and fiduciaries of public funds, ethical behavior on the part of all board members is of the utmost importance. One can only wonder why someone is reluctant to adopt a code that sets a standard for what is considered ethical behavior. It’s concerning, but not necessarily surprising. This behavior is typical of rogue board members who often refuse to support majority decisions of the board and who work both openly and subversively to disrupt and undermine board authority when it conflicts with their own interests and preferences. In general, rogue members do not subscribe to a code of ethics, instead they favor whatever actions further the cause at hand on their personal agenda. The real danger here is that a dysfunctional board ultimately impacts student achievement. The negative climate created by chaotic board meetings is not confined to the board room, but permeates the entire district inclusive of student classrooms. Given today’s political environment where anything goes, it’s time to stand up against actions that are not in the best interest of the common good. Voting against ethical behavior is certainly not in the best interest of conducting board business, nor is it in the best interest of the district’s personnel or students. And it is short-sighted to think it is in the best interest of the towns we serve.”
Three Timberlane board members voted against the proposed SAU Code of Ethics because it contained the following statement: “Final board actions will be supported by all members of the board. Members will take no private action that will compromise the board or administration and refrain from private actions which would undermine or compromise official board action.”
What Mrs. Yasenka wants is for elected officials to join hands and sing Kumbaya at the end of every meeting. Anything less is failing to act ethically and going “rogue.” Why, my very blog entry is a prime example of going ‘rogue, refusing to support majority decisions of the board and working openly and subversively to disrupt and undermine board authority when it conflicts with my own interests and preferences.’ Oddly enough, my own interests and preferences are to align my actions and those of all elected boards with the state and federal Constitutions. This provision in the “Code of Ethics” is clearly unconstitutional and violates the free speech rights of elected officials. Mrs. Yasenka wouldn’t know a First Amendment Right if it rolled off a lobotomy table and hit her on the foot.
It is an outlandish and dangerous notion that those who wish to protect their free speech rights are “rogue” and somehow deleteriously affecting student achievement. The next step is burning dissidents at the stake.
Ironically, the Code of Ethics also says this:
“Encourage and respect the free expression of opinions by fellow board members and participate in board discussions in an open, honest, and respectful manner, honoring differences of opinion or perspective. Final board actions will be supported by all members of the board.”
Mrs. Yasenka wrote the Code of Ethics with two others. Did she just not read the part about honoring differences of opinion? Who, by this policy, is acting unethically now?
The truth of the matter is that Mrs. Yasenka and her hand-holding, singing band of followers are using an unconstitutional so called “Code of Ethics” to silence dissenting board members and the voters for whom they speak. The SAU board majority is doing what they accuse me of, namely, “openly and subversively [disrupting and undermining] board authority when it conflicts with their own interests and preferences.” There is no greater harm to a board’s moral authority than taking unconstitutional action.
While Mrs. Yasenka is busy calling those who disagree with her, “unethical,” let’s take a look at Mrs. Yasenka’s own record of moral probity. She is perfectly happy with abusing the Hampstead board’s authority to persecute a man who effectively and repeatedly thwarts their bond ambitions. Hampstead local treasure, Mr. Mesa-Tejada, has a completely unfounded No Trespass order against him courtesy of the Hampstead Board.
This SAU Code of Ethics is scheduled to be given final approval on Nov. 15. Code of Ethics”