I call on all Democrats who serve on New Milford boards and commissions to follow the lead of Town Council Member Frank Wargo. His leadership is steadfast and unwavering and, unlike many of his Democratic colleagues, his words and actions are consistent.
Frank recently served on the School Facilities Committee, a group of 25 Community leaders including the School Superintendent and the former Chairman of the BOE, who were tasked to determine the most effective and efficient use of our school facilities. After an eight month Study with the use of a consultant, the Committee recommended the closing of Pettibone School and redistricting. Frank was selected to serve because he has decades of experience that he acquired as a former Member of the Board of Education, current Member of the Town Council and many other roles in service to the Town.
Committee Member Wargo was one of the overwhelming majority who voted to recommend to the Board of Education the closure of Pettibone and redistricting. Consistent with that vote, Town Councilman Wargo later voted to appropriate funds to help facilitate the redistricting process. Unfortunately, some of his Democratic colleagues seized the moment to politicize the redistricting and the closing of Pettibone.
As public records reveal, Democrat and current Town Councilman Walter Bayer voted "yes" as a member of the School Facilities Committee to redistrict and to close Pettibone but at subsequent hearings held by the Board of Ed, Councilman Bayer spoke against his earlier "yes" vote! It gets even better...or worse. At a later Town Council Meeting, Mr. Bayer voted to fund the redistricting and the closing of Pettibone. In other words, "yes," "no," "yes." Seems confused.
David Shaffer, another Democrat and Member of the School Facilities Committee, voted "yes" to redistricting and the closure of Pettibone. Subsequently, however, as a Member of the BOE he voted "no" to the closure. Then at a later BOE Meeting, he voted "yes" to appropriate funds to redistrict. In other words, "yes," "no," "yes." Seems confused.
Democratic BOE Member Bob Coppola, no newcomer to Town service including prior stints on the Town Council and BOE, sometimes as a Democrat and sometimes as a Republican, voted "no" to redistricting and "yes" to fund redistricting. In other words, "no," "yes." Seems confusing.
David Lawson, another Democratic BOE Member, voted "no" to redistricting but the BOE Minutes show that he encouraged that the process be expedited. Then, to play it politically safe, he voted "no" to expend funds. In other words, "no," "maybe yes," "no." Seems confusing.
If these political games were being played about checkers, nobody would care much. But this isn't a board game, this is the lives of our children and the future of our Town. We can't tolerate this flip-flop, flip flop. Democrats shouldn't play politics with this very important decision that will affect the New Milford Community for years to come. The Schools require Wargo-like leadership and we don't have it.
Frank Wargo: yes, yes, yes.