Chariho School Parents’ Forum

December 9, 2008

Deb Carney for president

Filed under: 1 — Editor @ 11:41 pm

Seriously, if I get back on the Committee, and we revisit the votes I missed, I’m strongly endorsing Deb Carney for president (of the Committee).  When you see the meeting, you will too.

I will post a video of the meeting tomorrow.



  1. Any chance of jail time for the anti-democracy contingent? We could sure use some openings on the School Committee.

    Nice to hear that while the Charlestown Town Council supports the disenfranchisement of Hopkinton, at least Charlestown has one School Committee member able to discern right from wrong. Of course we still don’t know if Ms. Carney will be good on the financial and educational issues? Then again, given the patheticness of the Charlestown slate, Ms. Carney would really have to be catastrophe to be worse than that sorry lot.

    Comment by Curious Resident — December 9, 2008 @ 11:55 pm | Reply

  2. She should run the “How to conduct a meeting” class. She is the only one who seems to have made an effort to learn the rules of the meeting so as not to be shut out on a procedural issue. Which they attempted to do(w/Andersons help) anyway.

    Comment by RS — December 10, 2008 @ 12:02 am | Reply

  3. CR, Deb Carney has been serving on the audit committee, she’s very good at watching the details when it comes to finances. I’m sure she’ll be good when it comes to the educational issues as well, she’ll do her homework before saying anything. She’s not a fan of Chariho and is not afraid to buck the hardliners.

    Comment by CharihoParent — December 10, 2008 @ 8:11 am | Reply

  4. From Mr. Felkner’s description of the meeting, it really doesn’t matter if you know the procedures for running a meeting. They make it up as they go along.

    Based on the way the voting went, the School Committee has seven people ready to do whatever Mr. Ricci says. Looks like we picked up two decent members in Mr. Vecchio and Ms. Carney. Very discouraging because even when Hopkinton gets its representation back, we’re still stuck with seven lunatics running the asylum.

    Comment by Curious Resident — December 10, 2008 @ 9:23 am | Reply

  5. Hi!
    Deb Carney will be a “Star” or one of them, on the school committee, not that I will always agree with her. The Chariho School establishment has an Felkner obsession.
    The school committee and school establishment seems to be concerned about the law when it suits them, but seemed in recent years not to be overly concerned about the public appearance of a former school committee chairs husband going to prison over defrauding school districts in Connecticut. While fortunately the spouse who was school committee chair was not charged, the school establishment and the school committee’s powers to be, did not see fit to have explained the spouse’s role in her husbands company, while her name was on the incorporation papers, but now they seem quite interested in the legally of Mr. Felkner’s school committee tenure. It appears the spouse’s husband did not due business with the Chariho School District,.

    Comment by Scott Bill Hirst — December 10, 2008 @ 1:38 pm | Reply

  6. I agree. Deb Carney seems to be the only member without a personal axe to grind. She is logical, level headed, and full of common sense. The entire committee should learn from her. BD needs to grow up and refrain from his sophmoric wise-*ss comments. His lack of professionalism and inability to provide subsantive input to the process are an embarassment to Chariho and shoud be a source of personal embarrassment to himself.

    Comment by Dave — December 10, 2008 @ 8:39 pm | Reply

  7. Growing up will not help the likes of BD. He has a character flaw that only a professional can help him with.

    Comment by RS — December 11, 2008 @ 3:01 am | Reply

  8. Met Deb Carney once. She does her homework, and she is well-versed in the Chariho Act. She has lived through the Act while working on Charlestown’s withdrawal committees.

    I hope Chariho’s solicitor is not blowing smoke up our butts, and that he is truly sincere about entertaining her observations. He seemed rather arrogant in his response during the meeting that a layperson may have a better understanding of this document than the 4 solicitors.

    I would hope that another committee member would attend with Ms. Carney, perhaps Andy Polouski (whether you like him or not), because he seems to have some knowledge of the goings on through his years there. It just seems that with his need (the solicitor’s) to be convinced Chariho would be better served by another person being present with a different perspective and experience.

    After watching the second meeting, though Ms. Eaves has a lot to learn regarding Robert’s Rules, I applaud her sincerety. She seems like somebody who is open to correcting and advice. Most people are afraid to ask. She shows great courage, and I wish her the best.

    When there was a tour of the 1904 building just after the building was turned over to the town, Ms. Eaves was the only one to turn out from the school committee. [None of our own members did.] She truly seemed concerned. I may not always agree with her assessments as a member of the board, but with my limited exposure, she seems sincere.

    Comment by Lois Buck — December 11, 2008 @ 7:26 am | Reply

  9. Lois, I’ve too have only met Ms. Eaves a couple of times and have found to her to be quite sincere. Just because one does not agree with a person’s stance, it doesn’t automatically make then an “idiot” as some like to proclaim. Nothing worse than having a closed mind about another person.

    Robert’s Rules of Order are not simple and can become quite confusing at times, especially when you get into areas that are not routine. Ms. Carney is perhaps the most knowledgeable person in the area when it comes to RRO and is not afraid to consult her handbook when she’s unsure. She’s also very familiar with the Chariho Act and has perhaps as much knowledge of it and perhaps even more than the solicitor for the school district. Andy “uh uh uh” Polouski and Bill Day have been around since the beginning of Chariho and I doubt they have as much knowledge and understanding as Ms. Carney when it comes to the Chariho Act.

    Comment by CharihoParent — December 11, 2008 @ 8:32 am | Reply

  10. They may not have as much knowledge, but I think a good strong voice with her would be a good suggestion. I feel the towns would be better represented if she had another present. She seems to already have had some disagreement with him, and I fear that he may be closed-minded towards her suggestions. This is why I believe someone on the committee should go with her. A third perspective would be good, especially when reporting back at the next meeting. I suggested him because he won’t take any guff. Since Holly Eaves is the Chairwoman, she would be another candidate.

    In know way do I want to take anything away from Deb Carney, she appears to be the one on the committee that has the most knowledge regarding the subject, and she will certainly do and has done her research. Charlestown is blessed to have her as their representation.

    Comment by Lois Buck — December 11, 2008 @ 10:04 am | Reply

  11. What does it mean to be sincere when all your votes result in maintaining Chariho’s failure? Is it okay to screw our community because you are sincere about it?

    More feel good crap. The woman has consistently been on the wrong side of every important issue and we’re suppose to give her a pass because she seems nice and sincere? Maybe she’s not the idiot after all.

    Ms. Eaves has the opportunity to turn it around. Nothing she does we’ll change what she’s been doing for the last two years. Her actions since the election do not give me any hope she’s changing.

    Mrs. Buck it is not clear to me what Ms. Carney will be attending? Is there to be a meeting about the Chariho Act?

    Comment by Curious Resident — December 11, 2008 @ 10:42 am | Reply

  12. Look, I don’t always agree with Ms Eaves, that’s my right, but she seems to be doing what she feels is in the best interest of the children. It is your right to disagree, as well. I know from experience how much work these people put into their positions, some more than others. She is trying. Let’s give her time.

    Ms. Carney is suppose to meet with the solicitor because she feels there are still missing pieces to the compiled act the 4 solicitors agreed to. The SC postponed the vote to authorize the act be published on the Chariho website because Ms. Carney objected to its present form. A. McQuade and A. Polouski supported her and the vote was made to postpone so that Ms. Carney could provide her arguments to the Chariho solicitor. I believe the next SC meeting is a month away. They are to meet at Ms Carney’s convenience in the interim.

    Comment by Lois Buck — December 11, 2008 @ 11:23 am | Reply

  13. I think at some point (soon), it needs to be published because the general public needs to review it as well. But, it is best to have D. Carney make her case.

    Comment by Lois Buck — December 11, 2008 @ 11:29 am | Reply

  14. Allowing this School Committee to approve a revamped Chariho Act is a scary thought. While it would be nice to have it all in one form, I don’t trust them to get it right. Ms. Carney’s oversight is much needed. Plus I trust Hopkinton’s solicitor to protect our rights and not allow any changes.

    I’m not against giving Ms. Eaves a chance…but let’s not fool ourselves…she’s been a disaster as a member, so I’m not expecting her to change stripes as Chair. She could have taken charge during the last meeting, but she did as we would expect from a Chariho apologist.

    How do we judge people if not by their actions? If she turns around her attitude and leads real reform to end Chariho’s failures, I’ll be happy and credit her as appropriate, but until then, her past is all I have to go on. Based on her past, she’s either an idiot or makes her decisions based on self-interest.

    Comment by Curious Resident — December 11, 2008 @ 12:09 pm | Reply

  15. I think “idiot” is a rather strong term, there’s a lot of people out there who really think they are doing the right thing, but they’re not.

    For instance, this idea about “do everything for the kids” … why not give them all gold plated laptops?? There’s a budget reality out there, especially not, that we have to find ways to get the best education we can at a cost we can afford. If you don’t grasp the second part, then yes, you are at risk of being an idiot.

    There’s a lot about our nice little three town area that frequently doesn’t make a lot of sense, prominently, like why didn’t the authors of the Chariho Act give our TCs some actual oversight authority??

    Comment by genedaniell — December 11, 2008 @ 12:28 pm | Reply

  16. Gene, I believe the answer comes down to the fact that the school district is an extension of the state government, per state law, and not a part of the town government. I don’t believe that the state would ever give up control of it, either.

    Comment by CharihoParent — December 11, 2008 @ 12:47 pm | Reply

  17. SC meeting to air on Cox Channel 18 at 12 noon on Friday, Dec. 12th.

    Comment by Lois Buck — December 11, 2008 @ 1:55 pm | Reply

  18. I understand your point Mrs. Buck. It comes down to how one describes incompetence. I think stubbornly supporting a system which fails to educate our children and costs us a fortune is a sign of idiocy. In the case of Ms. Eaves I give her an out. She could be supporting the system because she has a desire to benefit from the existing status quo.

    She may look and sound better, but like little Andy, at the end of the day she votes with Billy-boob almost 100% of the time. I’m not much into style. I’m worried about the substance and when it comes to substance, Ms. Eaves has been the same as Billy-boob.

    Like the math curriculum, too many people are willing to accept continuation of policies harming children in order to play nice. When children are at stake I’m not much for playing nice.

    Comment by Curious Resident — December 11, 2008 @ 3:06 pm | Reply

  19. CP, Regardless of law, common sense says people expect town/city councils to be the controlling budgetary entity, SCs have too much autonomy.

    Comment by genedaniell — December 11, 2008 @ 3:30 pm | Reply

  20. Gene, no doubt that SC’s have too much autonomy. The catch is, by state law, if they feel that they are not funded well enough, they can sue the city/town for more finance per the (and I know I’ll probably spell this wrong again) Carullo Act. When the Chariho Act was first enacted, things were much more equal amongst the three towns, spending wasn’t way out of whack as it is now. More reasons for probably oversight on giving more control to the towns.

    Comment by CharihoParent — December 11, 2008 @ 4:11 pm | Reply

  21. I find it interesting that several of you here think the Chariho SC has autonomy from their respective Town Councils. This is one of the main premises for meeting the common law doctrine of incompatible offices. Does the TC have authority over the SC ?? If yes then the same person holding seats on both leads to a conflict of interest and the offices should be deemed incompatible. It appears from reading statements made here, that the majority sees the councils of the 3 participating towns having no control or input over the SC. If common people such as ourselves can come to this conclusion through discussion, would a court also not reach the same conclusion??

    It will be interesting to see if the courts believe the TC’s have some authority over the SC.

    Comment by RS — December 11, 2008 @ 6:39 pm | Reply

  22. Hi!
    I am not impressed yet with the Chariho attorney. If the Chariho School Committee loses this one, they should seriously consider dumping this attorney. Every person or entity should be able to have good legal counsel, that is important to the legal process. I am concerned with his position and what it is based on and least part of it is easily refutable. They may prevail but I think it will be luck if they prevail. I think this lawyer and/or his researcher should do a better job. It takes a lot for a court to disregard the results of an election. I do not see a role in this at this point for the Rhode Island Board of Elections.
    As for precedent, he really needs to document how local bodies have the authority to “judge the qualifications” of its members. Certainly state and legislative branches have this power, which is specifically written down, but what local bodies such as town or city councils or school committees have EVER ruled on it. The lawyer avoids local government examples, again is this the best he has got? The local Board of Canvassers certifies those elected and they are sworn in, unless a vacancy is filled by appointment, which only in the Chariho district’s case is filled by the respective town council. I recall in Rhode Island while the State Supreme Court ruled on General Assembly members election years ago, one of the legislative bodies seated one or two its members whose election was questioned. The Chariho School Committee has no history of judging the membership of its own committee, I know of.
    William Felkner was duly certified elected and sworn in to office to both his school committee seat and town council seat.
    In closing consider this: George Abbott and I both lost our town council bids in Hopkinton this year.We two were the the “odd people out” in the Hopkinton Town Council race. George has risen to the top by defending Bill Felkner and I am trying to point out things which I think will assist him in his defense on this blog. It seems the two of us that could have “sour grapes” about the election, most assuredly want the right thing to happen in our minds or the way we see it at this point.

    Comment by Scott Bill Hirst — December 11, 2008 @ 6:42 pm | Reply

  23. An article from one of our neighboring states could be written with different names and sound very familiar.

    Anybody have way to contact AP on the school committee??? He needs to read this article…he seems to have trouble finding or knowing anyone is has ever held 2 elective offices. Wasn’t he an educator?? And we wonder why a 2/3 failure of proficiency rate.

    Comment by RS — December 11, 2008 @ 6:47 pm | Reply

  24. RS, your point in #21 is exactly the point that Ms. Carney was making in regards to the doctrine of incompatibility. Since the SC is separate and distinct and is not under the rule of the TC, there is no incompatibility.

    Comment by CharihoParent — December 11, 2008 @ 7:25 pm | Reply

  25. The conflict is, at best, the same as relatives in the district’s employ, you just recuse. You don’t get kicked off the committee.

    Comment by genedaniell — December 11, 2008 @ 10:45 pm | Reply

  26. Hi!
    Today’s Providence Journal, page B4,Friday, December 12,2008; has the listing of divorces which includes Stephanie (Lebon) Brown from Richard Brown. They were married November 5,1994,.
    I understand she was NOT charged let alone NOT convicted of her husband’s criminal activity he was convicted of. Which time line clearly happened when she was chairing the school committee. Fortunately Chariho was not implicated. But don’t you find it interesting since Mr. Brown was involved in Connecticut school districts where his legal matters came from, that Mr. Day and others SHOULD HAVE DEMANDED FULL DISCLOSURE by the Browns to what Mrs. Brown involvement on papers for her husband’s business where and to what extent she knew what was going on with her husband, even though Chariho was NOT involved, didn’t that episode provide some embarrassment to the Chariho School District, that should have warranted some statement from both the bRowns and Chariho School District?

    Comment by Scott Bill Hirst — December 12, 2008 @ 12:14 pm | Reply

  27. Hi!
    The Federal Bureau of Prisons has Internet access to check on inmates but there are a number of Richard Browns are listed. Check out ,.

    Comment by Scott Bill Hirst — December 12, 2008 @ 12:38 pm | Reply

  28. Scott, you’re fixated on Stephanie Brown…. plan on dating her some time soon since she’s now divorced?

    I know you two have been face to face and it looked very heated when I saw you two…. was it love or was it hate?

    Comment by CharihoParent — December 12, 2008 @ 3:54 pm | Reply

  29. Chariho Parent,
    If you are single, which I suspect your not, I would not get in your way if YOU are interested. Stephanie, is NOT on the top of the women I would want to date, I suspect the same would go for her in regards to me.
    BTW, big day in Ashaway tomorrow. If possible take in some of the festivities! Bill Felkner’s home across from the Ashaway Free Library is one of the houses on the house tour.

    Comment by Scott Bill Hirst — December 12, 2008 @ 4:54 pm | Reply

  30. Scott,
    You’re quite correct, I’m not single. You and Stephanie looked so good together after the DFM when you wanted to reduce the school district budget by 2 million dollars. I could see the look in your eyes and her’s, the look that some spouses get in the midst of a heated debate.

    Comment by CharihoParent — December 12, 2008 @ 7:59 pm | Reply

  31. I hope everyone read the article linked by RS. Our “esteemed” school solicitor apparently overlooked the entire state of Massachusetts where holding two elective positions is pretty common. One state legislator has held both state rep. and town council since 2001. I wonder why Mr. Anderson overlooked this “incompatibility”?

    Comment by Curious Resident — December 14, 2008 @ 10:39 pm | Reply

  32. Hi!
    Answer to #31: Curious Resident now stop picking on the Chariho School Committee Attorney! After all, he does have to represent the school committee, as hard as it may be! I assume you may hurt his feelings, at least the Chariho establishment. They may get a complex or something.
    I suspect the school committee really over reached on this one! But then, courts can astound you! Under cross examination their lawyer will crumble on dual office holding! This is obviously not his strongest suit in his case using out of state examples!
    I do not know Mr. Jon Anderson, so I can’t comment on him professionally or personally. I do not see a clear cut case for him, and I assume he likely will not prevail but you never know. Stephanie Brown was on the Chariho School Committee and sought appointment to the Senior Committee Committee, correctly called the Committee on Aging, which is not active in Hopkinton now but she got the appointment. George Abbott was on the Hopkinton Finance Board and Chariho School Committee at the same time. I was moderator of Voting District 1 from 1988 to 1990 and I was on the Conservation Commission of Hopkinton at the same time.
    The first paragraph is “tongue in cheek”, I suspect these people are self confident and certainly some are arrogant and self righteous, no doubt.
    Answer to #30: Stephanie is an attractive woman physically, and she seems to be reasonably smart, but we would not defintely be compatible. I used a lot of self control, when she was following me out the door at that meeting. I finally said something then, she responded, as I recall went to the car. The double standard prevailed at Chariho. Before the meeting John Pini only gave me a little information, then held back when I was more inquistive. Then after the cut, I was expected to show them where to make the cuts! A very important point in this is they escaped fact finding. So the school district AVOIDED proving to the state they could not run the schools with the money allotted! Remember they ended up with a nice surplus that year, and in addition that does not count money spent that was not mandated!

    Comment by Scott Bill Hirst — December 15, 2008 @ 12:45 pm | Reply

  33. Hi!
    Under #32 , I meant to say I went to the car, I was driving.

    Comment by Scott Bill Hirst — December 15, 2008 @ 12:47 pm | Reply

  34. You can be fairly criticized for your role in the double digit increase in taxes while you were on the Town Council, but you also deserve praise for your attempt to reduce the Chariho budget by $2,000,000 when they were stealing $2,800,000 from the hard working taxpayers.

    Ms. Brown is gone and hopefully will remain there.

    As RS’ link demonstrates, dual office holding is not rare. One Massachusetts city mentioned has a municipal law against dual office holding, but it is acceptable practice in every other town or city cited. Since Chariho’s solicitor still hasn’t identified any state or local law prohibiting dual office holding, then do we have any reason to think Rhode Island cities and towns are any different than Massachusetts cities and towns?

    Assuming Massachusetts state government provides funds to their cities and towns, and also issues mandates, then the issue of incompatibility and/or conflict of interest is a non-starter for our neighbors to the north.

    Mr. Ricci and his School Committee stooges pulled this one out of their butts. They found a willing accomplice in Mr. Anderson. They may even find a sympathetic judge, but we shouldn’t be fooled. This risky and potentially expensive action was taken because they are tired of Mr. Felkner holding Chariho to account for its dismal performance at a very high cost. They may have not gotten rid of him soon enough though. His substance seems to be catching on in the form of Mr. Vecchio and Ms. Carney.

    We only need a few more responsible leaders to get Chariho back on the right track. I’d start by firing Mr. Ricci and Mr. Anderson. There are other priorities as well.

    Comment by Curious Resident — December 15, 2008 @ 1:50 pm | Reply

  35. The solicitor is still using the Hopkinton Town Charter section 1240 Multiple Office Holding as the basis for his case. Problem is he only reads the first sentence. Never gets around to reading the rest of the section, I have never heard him quote the rest of the section to the SC. Could it be because the SC don’t want to hear that part….we know AP doesn’t, because he said at the December 9 meeting “I don’t want him(BF) back on the school committee.”

    Comment by RS — December 15, 2008 @ 2:27 pm | Reply

  36. Big, fat Andy sums up the sentiments of the School Committee majority precisely. They don’t want Mr. Felkner on the School Committee even if they have to break every law in Rhode Island to accomplish their objective.

    If they put as much time and effort into improving Chariho’s performance and reducing costs, Mr. Felkner wouldn’t be needed on the School Committee. Bunch of idiot running the show and this is what you get.

    Comment by Curious Resident — December 15, 2008 @ 5:03 pm | Reply

  37. This case jumps straight to the Supreme Court, so there’s not so much worry about the lone sympathetic judge. I would think this bode’s well for BF, last I heard Justices will read the whole ordinance section, not just the first line. Quite a civics lesson on how to write an ordinance, order of phrases might actually be really important.

    Comment by Gene Daniell — December 15, 2008 @ 10:50 pm | Reply

  38. Judges are just lawyers in robes. I have had more than my fair share of interactions with both judges and lawyers. Neither has impressed me very much. In Rhode Island most times being “connected” is more important than being right. I trust Chief Judge Williams, but most of the others have risen to their positions through political wheeling and dealing. If School Committee solicitor Anderson is politically connected they may rule with him for old time sakes.

    We now know that Massachusetts only restricts dual office holding in town/cities where it is specifically forbidden by local ordinances. Since Hopkinton specifically allows elected town officials to also serve the school district, the law is pretty clear. Should be a slam dunk case. But will it be?

    Comment by Curious Resident — December 16, 2008 @ 12:50 am | Reply

  39. Hi!
    This Saturday, is the South County GOP breakfast hosted by Westerly at the Venice Restaurant at 8 A.M.,. This is located at 165 Shore Road, which is Rte. 1-A in Misquamicut. South County towns give reports including East ans West Greenwich. Some towns usually never have anyone participate/attend such as Richmond unless they are hosting it. Tom DePattie (sp?), from Charlestown and I often comment on Chariho but from a different perspective. Each town takes hosting a breakfast each month. Block Island (New Shoreham) is not in the mix. If you are a Republican or lean that way, you should attend. Small charge but this is not a fundraiser. Reservations suggested but not required by contacting Martha Stamp at 401-783-6192 and Caswell Cooke, Jr., at ,.
    Each town gives a town report,and prominent Republicans usually speak.
    The Conservative Political Action Conference is coming up and they do have internships for students. This is not a GOP event per se.

    Comment by Scott Bill Hirst — December 17, 2008 @ 5:32 pm | Reply

  40. Hi!
    This breakfast has been resheduled to Saturday, January 17TH, same time and place,.

    Comment by Scott Bill Hirst — December 24, 2008 @ 12:05 pm | Reply

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