March 9/20 : Public Censure of Trustee Part II

This debacle started early in 2019. Not only was the entire Board criticized by  17 anonymous members of the Principals and Vice Principals Association of SD 61 – each Trustee (I assume) received a specific personal  criticism. My rebuttal is below the criticism. I apparently have no right to know my accusers. To every rebuttal, the reply was  “Well, seventeen people say you did”.  As this all started in early 2019 after the last election, I doubt that I had had any contact with seventeen members of PVPA by that time.

March 5, 2019  to me via email

You have been identified as one of the trustees whose behaviour toward other trustees and to District staff has been described as disrespectful.  You have been described as belittling staff about the quality of their presentations, unnecessarily pointing out small errors in printed material or power point presentations. You have also been described as someone who does not trust anyone and who repeatedly challenges staff when they present material.

Several witnesses reported that you questions the honesty and transparency of senior leaders.

You are identified as one of the trustees responsible for the creation of an “us vs them” dynamic between the Board and the District and of contributing to a negative and toxic work environment as described in the synopsis.

Several witnesses commented that your disruptive conduct seems to be escalating because there is no counter balance on the Board.

You are seen as not being supportive of District staff as evidenced by your public questioning of staff during meetings as described in the synopsis.

Several witnesses stated that they don’t believe you are personally vindictive but that you don’t appreciate the impact you have on people. You will not admit you are wrong and will “never correct the record”.

Witnesses report that you are not receptive to feedback about your conduct. When confronted your response is, “too bad, that’s the way it is”.

Witnesses do not find this acceptable conduct.

Witnesses have commented on your tendency to tweet during meetings

or to send out documents that although not confidential are not appropriate for public disclosure.

You are described as undermining the work of the District because of your opposition to inclusiveness which is part of the Board Strategic Plan and Ministry direction.

Although you are a seasoned trustee you are identified as one of the trustees who does not understand the roles and responsibilities of the Board and the District staff as evidenced by your efforts to become involved in operational matters and your detailed and inappropriate questioning of staff presenters in public meetings.

You are described as one of the trustees who does not respect the staffs’ expertise and witnesses claim you do not have any respect for their time as evidenced by the many requests you make for information and reports many of which are described as redundant or unnecessary.

Your response to staff is quoted as, “What’s the problem. Thesis an easy ask” even in circumstances when that is patently not the case.

You were identified as one of the trustees who attended the Victor school meeting.

 

My rebuttal:

You have been identified as one of the trustees whose behaviour toward other trustees and to District staff has been described as disrespectful.  You have been described as belittling staff about the quality of their presentations, unnecessarily pointing out small errors in printed material or power point presentations. You have also been described as someone who does not trust anyone

  • Staff have no right to psychoanalyze a trustee. This comment crosses personal boundaries.

and who repeatedly challenges staff when they present material.

  • Asking questions is not “challenging”. It’s asking for information.

Several witnesses reported that you questions the honesty and transparency of senior leaders.

  • This is a serious assumption with no backup or examples given; a very general unsupported statement.

You are identified as one of the trustees responsible for the creation of an “us vs them” dynamic between the Board and the District and of contributing to a negative and toxic work environment as described in the synopsis.

  • The Board and District do function as “us and them”. The Board is not a District “team”. Tension between a Board and administration is normal.

Several witnesses commented that your disruptive conduct seems to be escalating because there is no counter balance on the Board.

  • I have no idea what this means. My conduct is not “disruptive” by any measure. The Board functions by Robert’s Rules and Policy, and majority vote. It seems to me there is plenty of “counterbalance” on the Board.

You are seen as not being supportive of District staff as evidenced by your public questioning of staff during meetings as described in the synopsis.

  • Being supportive of staff seems to mean to staff “Don’t ask questions”, or “If you do have questions, ask them in private so the public will have no idea you had any questions”. I have been encouraged to ask questions ahead of the meeting via email to staff. This is not transparency. The public has the same questions I have.

Several witnesses stated that they don’t believe you are personally vindictive but that you don’t appreciate the impact you have on people. You will not admit you are wrong and will “never correct the record”.

  • No example of this purported behaviour is given. It’s simply an allegation. Analysing my personality as vindictive or not, crosses personal boundaries.  I do not expect to be personally evaluated by staff. Approval of staff is not what I seek in my role, nor should I. A civil relationship is what I expect.

Witnesses report that you are not receptive to feedback about your conduct. When confronted your response is, “too bad, that’s the way it is”.

  • I have never said anything even close to this. This is simply an untruth.

Witnesses do not find this acceptable conduct.

Witnesses have commented on your tendency to tweet during meetings

  • As they say in the vernacular, so what? Many meetings are live tweeted. That aside, I very seldom tweet during meetings.

or to send out documents that although not confidential are not appropriate for public disclosure.

  • If the document is not confidential, it is appropriate for public disclosure. [And in the case of the final report, even though confidential, a higher level of transparency demanded that it be made public.]

You are described as undermining the work of the District because of your opposition to inclusiveness which is part of the Board Strategic Plan and Ministry direction.

  • Inclusion is voluntary – a point on a slide from 2015 presented by Shelley Moore. Some parents have asked that their children not have to deal with full classroom environments, for good reasons.  No one should be forced to be ‘included” . The District is struggling  to provide EA support to students. EA support is not consistent. I do not  want inclusion to be problematic for parents, students, teachers, or EAs. I have been reluctant to close District programs that were are /  well staffed and provided a safe (some students with low incidence designations  would spend most of their day in a breakout space, or in a hall, if forced into “inclusion”) and consistent environment for students with low incidence designations whose parents saw them  thrive in that environment. One parent reported to the Board that since his child had been enrolled in a District program at Victor School they had not been called once to take him home, whereas in a “regular” school they were called daily to remove him from the school as his needs could not be met. I completely support inclusion properly funded and properly implemented.

Although you are a seasoned trustee you are identified as one of the trustees who does not understand the roles and responsibilities of the Board and the District staff as evidenced by your efforts to become involved in operational matters and your detailed and inappropriate questioning of staff presenters in public meetings.

  • This is vague. No examples are given of “efforts to become involved in operational matters”. How can asking questions of staff be “inappropriate?

You are described as one of the trustees who does not respect the staffs’ expertise and witnesses claim you do not have any respect for their time as evidenced by the many requests you make for information and reports many of which are described as redundant or unnecessary.

  • This is an untruth. I have not asked for “many reports”. I asked for a re-send of the French Immersion  report which had already been created.

Your response to staff is quoted as, “What’s the problem. Thesis an easy ask” even in circumstances when that is patently not the case.

  • This is an untruth. I have never said that, or anything close to that.

You were identified as one of the trustees who attended the Victor school meeting.

  • This was a school community meeting and as an elected official, I was invited by parents to listen to their case.
    What exactly is the problem with having attended  this meeting?

https://www.straight.com/news/1356941/patti-bacchus-how-tame-your-school-trustee

 

 

 

About Diane McNally