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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.

Nissim May 13, 2011 at 12:11 PM
I am new to Smithtown and have attended BOE meetings and regularly read the local diatribes. I am generally good at seeing things from both sides of the fence and am trying to give both sides the benfit of the doubt here but I find myself very disgusted with the BOE. How are we supposed to believe that the BOE has no responsibility in the current contract talks with the teachers? If I am not mistaken, they may be contractless with several other groups in the district at the end of this school year. What is the common component? The BOE. The teachers seem united and confident. To call them sheep is underestimating them. If the Board's President was a true leader, his BOE meetings wouldn't seem like something out of Keystone Cops. It is upsetting to think that that panal represents me. "In the best interests of the Taxpayers..." is a term that is thrown around too much. The charge of a BOE is not only financial. It is multifaceted and includes education, child welfare and sense of community. Why is it so outrageous to have a retired teacher on the BOE? Will her vote count as two? A balanced board is what we need.
Pam May 13, 2011 at 02:46 PM
I couldn't agree more, my husband is a graduate of St. Anthony's and he was outraged about the transportation referendum. All the parochial parents ask for are books and transportation. That's why we will be voting for Joanne McEnroy who has an understanding or both public and parochial education!
Extremely Concerned Parent May 13, 2011 at 03:54 PM
This performance is definitely a smoke screen to divert the public's attention from the Supt's coverup and Mr. Rossi could be complicit. All the ranting and raving about postcards and against the teachers, who we entrust our precious children to every day, makes no sense except as an explanation to distract the voters from the loss of millions that we are paying for with an inferior education and decreased opportunities, not to mention transportation, going forward. I hate to say this but it looks to me like Mr. Rossi has only 2 priorities, getting elected and protecting himself and his pal Ed Ehmann. I still can't understand why if the paperwork has been FOILED, Mr. Rossi can act as if he is clueless and continue to defend his superintendent.
Lisa May 13, 2011 at 04:45 PM
OMG, Bob Rossi's "performance" is a cover up of the cover up!
Smithtowncitizen4Truth May 13, 2011 at 04:54 PM
Call this outrageous performance whatever you like -- coverup of the coverup, red herring, smoke screen, or distraction. A spade is a spade. Rossi has no more interest in giving the people the truth about the building aid errors than Ehmann. We must all wonder why.
Norman May 13, 2011 at 11:08 PM
ANSWER: The Rossi/CArlin show is only intersted in the negative. What have the said positive about the district since they were elected? NOTHING. Only that employees are greedy, administrators are clueless, other board members are incompetent, the people who made this district what is are useless and that unions are conspiring against us to steal everything from kids- LOOK- we are not without our problems, but if these guys run out of "crisis and conspiracies" they won't have anything left to talk about, so it's the same old game- be loud, obnoxious and blame somebody else!
Carl Woodward May 14, 2011 at 02:36 PM
I HOPE THAT THE QUESTIONS RAISED BY CYRIL JENKINS WILL BE TAKEN SERIOUSLY BY EVERY VOTER AND ALSO BY THE MEDIA, AND NOT MR. ROSSI'S POSTCARD CAPER. FOR THOSE OF YOU WHO REMEMBER WATERGATE HISTORY, NIXON WON RE-ELECTION IN A LANDSLIDE IN 1972, BUT THEN HAD TO RESIGN TWO YEARS LATER BECAUSE OF THE COVERUP. EVEN THOUGH HE KEPT INSISTING "I AM NOT A CROOK," THE TRUTH FINALLY CAME OUT AND THE COUNTRY SURVIVED. SMITHTOWN WILL SURVIVE TOO WITHOUT THE CURRENT LEADERSHIP. WHOEVER WINS ON MAY 17 MUST FOLLOW THROUGH AND ANSWER MR. JENKINS' QUESTIONS. HE WROTE THE FOLLOWING: "As voters prepare to go to the polls, the following questions still haunt this community: 1. Why did the board wait until a week before the election to hire an outside auditor to investigate Ed Ehmann's incompetent administration? 2. Why is the board still unwilling to release the NYS documents relating to the $13.5 million boondoggle? 3. How does the Board President know in advance of the report that none of the errors occurred while he or Ehmann was in office? 4. Should the investigation find that any of the mistakes occurred while Ehmann was in charge, does the board plan to take any action against him or just blame underlings?"
Rob Onion May 15, 2011 at 01:17 AM
In a sea of insanity that is this thread "Norman" is one of the few life rafts.
Just A Mom May 15, 2011 at 02:32 AM
Too bad Mr. Rossi didn't show as much passion about the building aid mess, the dangerous transp. referendum, and the antics of his deceitful supt. as he did to this nonsense. Maybe then he would have the right to ask us to re-elect him.
Dan May 15, 2011 at 08:34 PM
Everyone who has said anything against Mr. Rossi is absolutely ridiculous. This man has nothing but the interests of the community and the children of the community at heart. How anybody could have the audacity to write something as slanderous as what is posted above is absolutely absurd and uncalled for. To assume that there would not be problems in a district as large and complex as Smithtown is naive. Cut him some slack, if anyone else had the courage or intelligence to take on the responsibilities as board president I would love to see them try and do a better job than Rossi is doing now. The teachers union is a large and totally selfish organization. They have only their interests at heart and not that of the most important thing, the children of our community. Perhaps people should stop dwelling on the past and realize the problems at hand, the teacher's contracts. News Flash: Teachers do not make a lot of money. If teachers have a problem with that, they should have thought about not taking the easy route in college. Some have completely lost sight in doing their job, educating children. I invite any teacher who has a problem with that to leave the district. It is absolutely outrageous that there is a potential for the teachers union to take over the board. The effects would be disastrous. Mr. Rossi will make sure that the right things happen. He has in the past and he will continue in the future. I wish i could vote for him 10 times over. GO MR. ROSSI!
Dan May 15, 2011 at 09:10 PM
You truly don't see the gravity of the issues that "Norman" is mocking? These problems are monumental and should be the first things to be taken care of. It is not as though they are talking about small, unimportant problems in the district. Smithtown has a lot of problems and it needs to be cleaned up. Rossi is just the guy to do that. You clearly do not have children in the district and if you do, you need some serious work on your parenting. good thing your vote only counts once.
BBQBoy May 16, 2011 at 05:53 AM
simple point of clarification: Does President Obama "step out frim behind his desk" to "simply state my own opionon", does our governor, our legistlators, or other elected official. Certainly not. Mr. Rossi is a publicaly elected official. Why should he be able to do what he did? Certainly Mr. Rossi must mistake the residents of Smithtown as naive imbiciles not see past this, and not understand his little talk for exactly what it was: An attempt to derail an orgainiztion that endoreses someone other than his friends. I have a birthday, but it wasn't yesterday. So many things that are just so wrong with this: Why was Rossi's little "speach - me not me the president of the BOE" happen to fall "just in time" to be heard, but not responded to? gee, that's funny. Did rossi sign in to speak, like all other"pubilc" speakers? Why does the President of the BOE get to repsond "on my own personal behalf" - This is moronic. Cards printed by the Teachers union, distributed on school property, during meetings before school hours in locations approved for teachers to meet and converse. Does this mean that the district should not distribute announcements of administrators retirement parties, announcements of extraciruclar activities, and all other things? Absolutely rediculous. Mr. Rossi, leadership, PLEASE, stop. New negotiation ploy: let contracts expire, go years, do not attempt to resolve, blame superintendent, not BOE! and people will keep moving HERE? NOT.
BBQBoy May 16, 2011 at 06:11 AM
On a roll,Carlin: love it: Elected, works for the public. Spends meetings berating the public, WALKING OUT OF MEETINGS that he has been elected to attend, after insulting the public that elected him, AND he thinks WE should re-elect him. WHEN does the electoral public FINAL say, YOU CAN't TREAT US like that. Smithtown is not filled with morons. WHY would we ever re-elect someone who treats the people who elected him like that. DO YOU live in Smithtown? If you went into a store where the local merchant treated YOU like that, would you ever return? If YOU went into a local resturaunt and the owner TOLD you what what you liked best and that you would be a moron if you ate something else, OR he wouldn't serve you something else, would YOU go back.? Please, lets stop the nonsense here. We the public do have a choice. Our choice is NOT TO BE INSULTED. There can not be a more offensive and obnoxious piece of work around. If you have sat on a committee, been to a meeting, or heard him talk, you have expreienced the "carlin effect". His 15 mintues has lasted way to long. We need to deliver a strong message NOW. THEY WORK FOR US! Deliver it NOW.
BBQBoy May 16, 2011 at 06:44 AM
Love it! "the easy way through College"! Anyone elese want to jump on this? I wonder what college Dan went through and what that college must have imparted on him about a teachers education: "Want it easy, be a teacher" - anyone go to a college that sent that message? I am NOT a teacher. IF Dan went to college, I wonder if Dan's employer, WAIT,sorry, THE STATE, told Dan HE had to go back to college and continue to get college education JUST to keep his job? Dan: "Teachers do not make a lot of money" Anyone like making "not a lot of money? Rossi: GREAT leadership: I have lived here for 30 years. People MOVED here because eduation was king. NOW, UNDER ROSSI's LACK OF LEADERSHIP: BOE let the contracts expire with ALL the unions in the district, FORCE them to work without a contract because by state law they can not strike, DO NOT bargain in good faith. WHAT LEADERSHIP! Is this our new negociating tatctic under the "leadership" of Rossi? YIKES. I am not advocating in any fashion for "giving away the farm". This shows a lack of leadership & ability to know how to negotiate a good contract. Here it is:no contracts with any unions=people not moving in, people unable to sell their houses,retail prices fall,tax dollars fall. How do we get eduation experice on the BOE without electing ex education people? Business people are always the best BOE people? NOT! I WANT people with education experience on the BOE, doesn't have to be all of them. WAIT,I got it,DAN=rossi.
BBQBoy May 16, 2011 at 07:00 AM
Mr. Rossi spoke the truth? Mr. Carlin has "gotten up and walked out of not one, not two, but THREE public BOE meetings: ON THE PUBLIC THAT ELECTED HIM. I do not care what he thinks about what people say: HIS JOB, as elected by the publid that talks to the BOE ( not him ) is to sit an LISTEN. I do not care if he likes what peopel say or not. WE ( the public ) elected him to sit and listen to our opinon. That is his JOB. If he doesn\'t want to do that, then give up the job. IDEA: if YOU were a person that elected Neil Carlin, and YOU were standing at the podium speaking, AND he berated YOU and then WALKED OUT of a meeting, WOULD YOU elect him? Is this the rational behavior of someone WE want to elect to represent ALL OF US, AND make deciscions on the items that impact ALL of our pocketbooks? Sure, this sounds like open, and vialbe communication. How could any elected official expalin this irrarational and non-tolerant behavior? They couldn't. WHO would re-elect someone like this. I say: THERE is NO plausible explaination. I do not care how "smart" anyone is, IF YOU treated your electorate like that, YOU SHOULD NOT BE RE-elected. I Vote for a change: someone, anyone, who will actually sit through a BOE and listen to something they may not agree with, let alone be insluting. TIME FOR A CHANGE
Chuck May 16, 2011 at 11:35 AM
Which candidates will be independent of the current lame duck supt. and wisely choose a stellar replacement? That is the central question for voters tomorrow. Trustees are elected by the voters, and they choose a superintendent to get paid to RUN the district. Ehmann is no leader. He failed to step up to the plate in so many ways, for example: recommended a budget that hurts students and staff, proposed a transportation referendum that puts children in peril, covered up the loss of $13.5 million in building aid, failed to get his negotiations team to successfully conclude contracts with several unions, etc., etc. His ineptitude was displayed many times when he showed that he was unable to make an effective presentation to the public, e.g. his "fumbling" housing powerpoint presentation, as reported in the Smithtown News when he didn't know what he was talking about, and his budget presentation where he tried to take credit for "administrative efficiency aid," which is not a reward but an entitlement. The current board has been terribly handicapped by having a superintendent who does not have the expertise and background to advise them wiselyand propose solutions to problems. This community sorely needs an honest, intelligent and experienced superintendent as soon as possible. Which candidates are best equipped to choose wisely and well? The voters decide in a day.
Rick May 16, 2011 at 02:14 PM
Agreed, Chip.The # 1 priority is starting to find a qualified replacement for Ehmann right away. We've had enough of local yokels without a broader perspective running the district.
Dan May 18, 2011 at 04:02 AM
Okay BBQboy, you need to quit clicking away at the keys and realize a couple of things. You OBVIOUSLY did not go to a major university at which education was a major that was frowned upon due to their dearth of work and ease of classes. And since you obviously didn't attend a highly acclaimed university such as myself i'm sure that you don't have the IQ to understand a word as sophisticated as dearth, (which means lack of for those of us like BBQboy who have slight mental challenges). You're most likely some 9-5 pencil pushing desk rat who cares only about himself and not of others. Perhaps all you care about is the value of your home and how much money you're worth (which i'm guessing isn't very much) Word for the wise, don't go bad mouthing people you know nothing about. Mr. Rossi has more leadership in his right pinky toe then you have in your obese blubbery BBQbeer belly. So once you are able to get your wrap your large head around the fact that the ENTIRE COUNTRY is going through a real estate depression, and maybe it's not just Rossi who is making the value of your precious little trailer park go down, you'll realize that you voted out of office the last chance that smithtown had to make things right. Don't ever assume something about somebody until you know the cold hard facts. They don't teach you that in college.
ProudDaughter May 18, 2011 at 04:13 AM
BBQBoy, you don't know much when it comes to Mr. Rossi. I've known him... oh that's right, my entire life. And you know what I am damn proud to call him my father and to say he impacted our district positively while he was on the board. You can gladly view that differently, but you will NEVER (mark my words, NEVER) find someone as passionate about our community as my father. So please, before you go throwing your opinion around (which you have every right to do), at least know a little bit more about Mr. Rossi than just his name. But after reading this, it just made me happy that I know who my father really is and so do the other 3,007 people who voted for him and saw the passion he has to better this community. But Congratulations to the ladies who won, and best of luck to the both of you. My heart goes out to them and their families and the time they are about to dedicate to our community, I have nothing but respect for them.
Unbelievable. May 19, 2011 at 08:22 AM
Dear BBQBoy, I don't know who you are nor do I really care. I, and I'm sure many other people, have no interest in your "I know everything" mentality and your obnoxious ability to excessively type words in CAPS. Just so you know... "REAL" men hold down the shift key during entire words and phrases. I'd hate for you to be lesser of a man than you already are for using the CAPS LOCK key… just saying'. I also thoroughly enjoy the fact that with such an " extensive knowledge" and "grasp" on how to handle...well... basically everything... you yourself did not run for a position and try to make a change for the better. No sir. Instead, you feel that it's more beneficial to sit at home (or possibly at work where you are not only wasting my time but where you'd also be wasting your employers time and hard earned money) to write these one-sided opinions of yours. Which, by the way, I'm sorry to say that I've read… and will never get this wasted time back. So thank you for that.
Unbelievable. May 19, 2011 at 08:22 AM
You ask if President Obama has ever stepped out from behind his desk to simply state his own opinion... directly, he has not. However, I guarantee that more than 75% of his public addresses indirectly state his personal opinion through his actions. And don't you dare say that's a lie because we all know that President Obama isn't interested in being a "glorified spokesperson" on behalf of what a separate group of collective people think. He's stating/carrying out what he feels needs to be done to get this country back on track. Rossi did the same thing in a little different fashion.
Unbelievable. May 19, 2011 at 08:23 AM
After being frustrated with Forzano and the teachers disgraceful actions and outright greed, Rossi felt he needed to clear the air of some miss-informed rumors and state his opinion openly. Honestly, I commend him in doing so. I don't know of anyone else who has the balls to stand up for what they believe in… especially knowing that it wouldn't push him to win any popularity contest in regards to many people. That… my dear BBQBoy is DEVOTION… with a capital 'D' and a capital 'EVOTION'. Everyone else, including blind/ignorant people such as yourself, can state their opinions so why can't he? Last time I checked It's called Freedom of Speech… "the right to hold opinions without interference. Everyone shall have the right to freedom of expression." Ever heard of it? I'm guessing no because if you did… you wouldn't have asked such a stupid question.
Unbelievable. May 19, 2011 at 08:23 AM
Even though I've already answered your stupid question once I'll answer it another way. "Why should he be able to do what he did?" The answer… my naive compatriot is Freedom (in general). Yes, that's correct… Freedom. The same Freedom that allowed a man to run for Presidency with ambiguous uncertainties of his American born Citizenship… and win. The same Freedom that pulls foolish/ill-informed citizens such as yourself off of their couches and away from their plasma TVs to vote for men with ambiguous uncertainties of their American born Citizenship. And your concern is Rossi openly stating his opinion (which is truth by the way) openly to the public? Good word.
Unbelievable. May 19, 2011 at 08:23 AM
"Does this mean that the district should not distribute announcements of administrator retirement parties, announcements of extracurricular activities, and all other things?"… no you fool. What it means is that teachers should not distribute cards (that are in direct relation to their "wanted pay increases" and overall greedy nature) to our children. They need to keep their own personal advancements outside of the classroom. The classroom is a place of education for our students… not unionized greed/bullcrap. Leave the kids out of this and stop using them as pawns. Lack of leadership… before Rossi came to the BOE it was being run by a bunch of PTA Moms who had no damn clue as to what they were doing. Rossi and a few other people came on board and things were looked at more carefully than ever before. As far as contracts not being negotiated… people are greedy so Rossi and the majority of the BOE saw that and decided to do something about it instead of just giving in like the ways of the past.
Unbelievable. May 19, 2011 at 08:24 AM
My suggestion to you BBQBoy… is to pull yourself away from your BBQ for a bit and attend BOE meetings regularly and stop formulating your own opinions based off of brief/skewed media. You are a person who APPARENTLY has all of the answers and a fair deal of talk. Well kind sir... let's see you walk the walk. I dare you to do better in that hopes of one day I get to witness you struggle with every ounce of your being and realize that not everything can be accomplished as easily as it can be said. Example… you're precious President Obama.
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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