Saturday, February 6, 2010

BOE Weinberg Appointment Causing Controversy

“Murphy expected to recommend Weinberg for school board” is the headline for Nanci Hutson’s story in today’s News-Times. Here’s her lead: "Mayor Patricia Murphy is expected to recommend Monday night that the Town Council endorse Rodney Weinberg, a fiscally conservative Democrat, to fill the vacant seat on the school board."

Seems simple enough but this is New Milford.

Section 205 of the Charter provides that a vacancy in an elected seat is filled “by the Town Council.” The Mayor’s role is to put a name on the Council’s Agenda. Thus, Nanci is jumping to a conclusion. How does she or anyone know that the Mayor will recommend Mr. Weinberg for the seat? Maybe she will but the more interesting question is why the Democratic Town Committee failed to make a recommendation. After all, it did have a Meeting after it learned of Dr. Diamond’s resignation and could have recommended Dr. Stillman. Further, it wouldn’t surprise me a bit if Mr. Weinberg has been reaching out to the DTC for a while and has had no response because he’s “a fiscally conservative Democrat.”

But wait! Maybe the reason that the DTC didn’t bring Dr. Stillman’s name forward is because of its Chairman’s position that he’s been rejected by the voters. That was Chairman Lillis’ position with regard to Joe Failla, remember? I applaud John for his consistency and integrity.

The larger BOE Budget picture gets more interesting by the moment.

Newly elected “Republican” Member Dan Nichols was conspicuously absent from the BOE Budget vote. With four kids in the system, was this an intentional act or was he really busy that night? Did he ask Chairman Faulenbach to delay the vote until he could attend? Did the Chairman refuse to do so because the vote would have been delayed until after the February 1 effective date of Dr. Diamond’s resignation, thus putting a positive Budget vote at risk? Another possibility is that there were some machinations to ensure that “Republican” Chair Faulenbach wasn’t put in the position of having to break a tie. Wendy is probably twitching over Mr. Weinberg’s potential appointment.

Of course the Dems are whining and complaining about Mr. Weinberg, “a fiscally conservative Democrat.” This guy – a realist – has actually owned a business and had to make payroll every Friday i.e. he knows where the tires meet the road. And OMG! According to Nanci Hutson, Mr. Weinberg “recently objected to the school board’s proposed budget because he did not think it adequately reflected a concern for taxpayers who are on a fixed income or struggling financially.”

We couldn’t do better.

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