In post-election Kittle House conversation, BoE members decide to write in support of Shapiro

Monday, June 9, 2014

Editor’s Note: In a May 28 press release, A Thank You to Town Administrator Jill Shapiro, Supervisor Rob Greenstein wrote, “It should be noted that we recently received an email from the entire school board in support of Jill.”

That same day, NCNOW requested from the Town, through the Freedom of Information Law (FOIA), a copy of the email, and—the following day—requested a copy of it from the School District.  Neither entity has supplied the letter, though both have acknowledged that the requests were received. [FOIA requires an acknowledgement of receipt within five days of the request and then allows another 20 business days in which to fulfill it.] 

NCNOW has since obtained a copy of the email, sent May 21, the result of a conversation among Board of Ed members and administrators at the Kittle House, where they traditionally meet up after budget votes.  Last night NCNOW informed Board of Ed President Jeffrey Mester that the letter would be published today—with a statement from him, if he wished.  Below is the entire text of the May 21 email sent on behalf of the Board of Ed to the Town Board in support of Shapiro.  Mester’s statement appears in a separate article, with a link to it in this piece.

May 21, 2014 Email from Board of Education members to Town Board members:

From: Mester, Jeffrey []
Sent: Wednesday, May 21, 2014 10:53 AM
To: Robert Greenstein; Lisa Katz; Elise Mottel; Jason Chapin; Adam Brodsky
Cc: McKay, Lyn; Chow, John; Kiesel, Alyson; Messner, Warren; Mester, Jeffrey; Tipp, Vicky; Visser, Karen

Subject: Town Administrator

Rob, Lisa, Elise, Jason and Adam,

We are writing to you in light of the blog posts in NCN by Christine Yeres and Robin Murphy regarding Town Administrator Jill Shapiro.  We recognize and appreciate the unusual nature of this email.  It is not our intention to in anyway interfere, influence or “butt into” the Town’s business.  We also do not want to set precedent of responding to every or any of the sometimes outrageous posts on local blogs.

I had originally planned on writing to the Town Board as a private citizen.  I still may, but know the message will be the same.  Last night, following our budget vote, as is tradition, we went to the Kittle House to wind down from the long budget process and to watch returns of other districts.  Of course, local goings on also become part of the discussion.  It was apparent that the entire group of school board members and school administrators were unanimously in agreement that the two blog posts had “crossed the line” (again).  When I mentioned I was going to send one of my email rants for which I am sort of famous within the board for doing, to a person, we all thought it appropriate to write as a Board as well.

We are writing to offer our unqualified support for Jill Shapiro as Town Administrator and for the Town Board’s right to make personnel decisions without outside interference or influence.  In fact, we believe that is the very reason the residents elect a board, to oversee the running of the Town’s business and make personnel decisions.  We do not believe that every item that comes before the Board should be decided upon by public opinion or by those who scream the loudest.  John Kennedy put it best when he said in his remarks to the Sigma Delta Chi Journalism Fraternity Dinner on October 27, 1955:

“I cannot believe that the people of Massachusetts sent me to Washington to serve merely as a seismograph to record the ups and downs of popular opinion.  I believe instead that those of us in public office were elected—not because the people believed we would be bound by their every impulse, regardless of the conclusions directed by our own deliberations—but because they had confidence in our judgment, and in our ability to exercise that judgment from a position where we could determine what were the best interests of the voters as a part of the best interests of the nation…”

With respect to Jill, her understanding of and appreciation for all the issues that face both the Town and the CCSD and her willingness to work together with our administration has returned the relationship between the school administrators and town administrators back to its historical norm, that of cooperation and in the event of disagreement, civility.  In addition, with the mandate from the state to find joint municipal savings, she is uniquely qualified to work with the CCSD to find those savings.  Jill’s long time service to the community in various capacities is an asset not a liability.


Jeffrey Mester
CCSD Board of Education

Related: In post-election Kittle House conversation, BoE members decide to write in support of Shapiro,, 6/9/14

Board of Ed response to publication of its letter to TB supporting Shapiro,, 6/9/14

TB member Jason Chapin objects to appointment process for administrator position,, 6/5/14

Op-Ed: Our TB has a duty to conduct an open search to fill the Town Administrator position,, 5/24/14

Was Jill Shapiro appointed town administrator for six months or for two years?,, 5/19/14

L to E: Transparency?  The town administrator’s contract was supposed to be for six months,, 5/19/14

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