Letter to the editor: Missing the point

Posted:  Wednesday, December 27, 2017 - 10:15pm

Over the past week, there has been a lot of back and forth about the SAD 28 School Board meeting last Wednesday, some of which, has been spurred on by the letter to the editor I wrote last Thursday. 

Since then, I have read many comments, some other letters to the editor, including one from Lynda Chilton, vice chairwoman of the board, and a letter I received directly from Matt Dailey, chairman of the board.

I welcomed the discussion and looked forward to the comments from Lynda and Matt, but sadly they seem to be missing the point.

The primary point of my letter was not that Owen got removed from the committee.

The school board members are the ones making the decisions and while I may not agree with their decision, it was their decision to make.

The primary point of my letter was that the behavior of the school board chairman was simply unacceptable.

If you read the majority of the comments from those in our community who were at the meeting or have watched it online, they agree that Mr. Dailey conducted the meeting in a very unprofessional manner. With 30 years of experience sitting on various boards, I have never witnessed such unprofessional behavior from a board chair and I was amazed to see no corrective action from other board members.

Additionally, there seems to be a misconception that stating “you are taking this personally” means there is some personal attack or vendetta in play.

While some have commented that way, I do not believe that to be the case.

Mr. Dailey put forth multiple times during the meeting that he didn’t even know Owen, alluding that it couldn’t be personal because he didn’t know him.  

In my experience, stating that someone is taking something personally does not imply that there is some sort of interpersonal issue.

So, to be really clear, what I am stating is that the issue of Mr. Casas not telling those on the board and/or building committee that he was involved in the FOAA was a big issue for Mr. Dailey. He believes it to be very dishonest and based on his behavior, condescending attitude, body language and comments at the board meeting, it was crystal clear that he took personal offense to what Mr. Casas had done.

Similarly, I took personal offense to Mr. Dailey’s behavior at the board meeting, which led to my writing a letter. 

Let me add, that while I disagree, I understand and respect Mr. Dailey’s opinion. 

In Lynda Chilton’s letter, she states that she is speaking for the school board and that she hopes this wraps up the discussion on this topic, as they have made their decision and are moving forward.

I agree that the topic of whether Mr. Casas will serve on the building committee is closed. I think most people understand and agree with that point, including Mr. Casas himself. But the board is missing the point that has many like myself very concerned. 

It appears that at least some of the board members are OK with Mr. Dailey’s behavior.  A large portion of the local community is not, and with the various issues that have surrounded school issues recently, I think it is critical that Mr. Dailey as chairman and the board as a whole, address this embarrassing issue, so they can effectively move forward managing our schools and the construction of a new middle school facility.

While it is imperative that the community stands behind and supports the hard work and efforts of our publicly elected volunteers, it is equally important that the community asks the tough questions and demands the appropriate professionalism. So, the tough question is, how will the board address Mr. Dailey’s behavior and take actions to avoid this type of issue going forward?

Stephen Hand lives in Rockport