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Video: Candidate-Endorsing Postcards Lambasted By Rossi

Board of Education President Robert Rossi stood at the community podium to deliver a speech scrutinizing postcards handed out in schools with candidates names endorsed by the teachers' union.

Current Board of Education President Robert Rossi scrutinized postcards passed out in school buildings endorsing three candidates for the board at Tuesday night’s board meeting.

“I’d like to let the community know about an unfortunate situation that has taken place in our school buildings. The teachers union has been using our school buildings as a political stomping ground in hopes of getting some people elected to the school board which might lead them to a rich contract,” Rossi said at the podium Tuesday night.

Rossi chose to speak from the podium where community members address the board to make his speech rather than from behind the desk with the rest of the board. After the meeting, Rossi explained that he chose the podium so his personal views are not confused as the collective views of the board.

“I wanted to remove myself from the table, I didn’t want anyone to think that I’m speaking on behalf of any of the board members here,” he said. “It was my own personal problem and I felt the only way for me to handle it was to speak on my own.”

The names of two first-time candidates are on the postcard – Joanne McEnroy, who is running opposed to current board member Neil Carlin, and Grace Plourde, who is running opposed to Rossi – as well as current board member Gladys Waldron, who is running unopposed.

Rossi said when he asked Waldron if she was aware the teachers union was putting her name on the postcard she said she was not aware.

After the meeting, Rossi said campaigning should not take place in the schools.

“They [postcards] were passed out in the school buildings and I don’t find that appropriate,” he said. “I think that if you’re going to run for a position, run for the position where it belongs, out in the street not in a school building. They’re there to teach the children, not to advance anybody for our own personal gain.”

In a phone interview, Smithtown Teachers’ Association President Rich Forzano said he had no knowledge of the postcards being passed out during school hours and passing out postcards endorsing candidates is nothing new.

“Those [postcards] have been distributed at STA building meetings, which are always done before school or after school … every member of the board is very well aware the things the STA has done in the past when we endorse a candidate,” Forzano said.

Rossi said in his speech that Forzano declared impasse in the school and teachers union contract negotiations and said he is the reason there is no contract agreement. Forzano, in a phone interview, said he as surprised at Rossi’s comment and added, “neither side has made a move to push for another negotiating session at this point.”

“He made it sound like I was refusing and I could tell you that the district has not approached or asked for any more negotiations, it’s not like I’ve been asked and I said no,” he said.

Fred Stewart May 19, 2011 at 02:14 PM
Unbelievable... 6 posts in a row? replying to your own posts? You must be upset about Rossi's loss...ps, the president has satisfied his place of birth to almost everyone's satisfaction... and did so before your post!
Unbelievable. May 19, 2011 at 03:15 PM
Fred Stewart... Yes 6 posts in a row because (as any logical person would be able to evaluate...) what I had written was too long for one single post. Therefore... proper steps were needed to ensure that everything that I had to say was posted. So yes... 6 posts very nice observation. Upset about Rossi's loss... sure, I am because I know the man personally and have worked with him for countless years. I know how he operates and what he stands for and it's a shame that the lackluster performance of others was able to tarnish his reputation and his years of dedicated hard work to this community. But what I'm more irate with is the fact that people can be so closed minded and are swayed at the slightest change of winds. I'm irate that people don't get out of their homes and take the time to formulate their own opinions by venturing down to the meetings and gathering facts for themselves. Instead they rely on the media... which we all know... is one big game of "telephone" where the message or facts get tweaked along the way. An in regards to President Obama... I'm very aware that he has satisfied his place of birth. What I was pointing out was the fact that even with these discrepancies and questions from the start... he was even allowed to run before his citizenship was 100% clarified. It was to prove a point... one which you obviously didn't pick up on. So I'm sorry for that. I'm glad things checked out with the President and are moving upwards and onwards.
Unbelievable. May 19, 2011 at 03:18 PM
As far as the new members to the board... I commend them for standing up to make a change and I commend them for being elected. I wish them nothing but the best of luck. My only hope is that they make the right changes... not back to the way they were... because before Rossi and this board they weren't good either. I hope they make changes for the better. The better for our children, the better for our education program, and the better for our community.
Fred Stewart May 19, 2011 at 04:08 PM
then perhaps you could mitigate your pontifications, and be more concise! You seem to be as 'closed minded' as the people who voted your boy out... perhaps the electorate isn't as stupid as you think, and the professionals who've given my kids a great education deserve a contract... obviously, different people have different interpretations of what 'outright greed' and 'selfish actions' are. whatever, go have a cup of tea, and say hey to Mark Levin for me... you're a great american!
Norman May 21, 2011 at 12:24 PM
Unbelievable, Obviously you know Mr. Rossi personally and I respect your positive view of him. I certainly do not disagree with some of the positions he has taken. As his friend, however, you may want to pass along some advice so that would help him in the future if he plans to run again. Honestly, I would have voted for him had he not made such a spectacle of himself at recent board meetings. This tactic of trying to pain the employees of the district as the devil who are taking money out the hands of the kids has got to stop. These people are our friends, neighbors and even family members. If Rossi was a good leader he would have been able to settle outstanding disagreements without vilifying people and turning neighbor against neighbor. The who postcard thing from last week is what killed him. For all of his efforts to do the right thing it looked like Joe McCarthy was up there on a tirade and it made him look foolish. I for one did not want to be represented by someone with so little control over his emotions. A better leader would have reached out behind the scenes and gotten a deal done- not play to the few angry people in the audience who don't represent the community. The result now (at least from Rossi's perspective) is far worse. He is off the board and these new people are in. Would it not have been better to work with people and get a fair deal than to try to bulldoze everyone and end up getting nothing?

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