Chariho School Parents’ Forum

March 22, 2008

Mr. Ricci may have influenced the Chariho Times to fire James Madden

Filed under: Corruption,Ricci,Unions — Editor @ 12:56 pm

In the last meeting packet, a series of emails were included between Mr. Ricci and James Madden, (now former) reporter for the Chariho Times.  Apparently, Mr. Madden was trying to get information from Mr. Ricci regarding the topic I discussed in the public forum.  Mr. Ricci did not give the information.  I subsequently published the info James was requesting.  Mr. Ricci followed with similar info and Mr. Madden responded by saying, “what do you want me to do with this, wipe my ***.”In previous emails Mr. Madden expressed his frustration in getting information from Mr. Ricci on several,,, several occasions.  I will post the emails when I can.

The publisher made the decision.  Her name is Terri Leifeste and her email is tleifeste@ricentral.com.   I will be canceling my subscription and will not allow that paper to quote me again.  I know of at least one other elected official that has pledged to do the same. 

While the CT was sometimes the only paper to report what was going on, this cannot be tolerated.  This will be filed away for later as the NEA complaint thickens.  Unions and freedom of speech on blogs and newspapers – those are popular subjects.  It is disappointing that Ms. Leifeste has chosen to bring that paper into what will surely become a national issue.

What next, Hugo Chavez as the new editor? 

[UPDATE] the Friday following Mr. Madden firing, he went into the office to get his things.  He has told me that he saw Carrie Barr at the office.  When quizzed, she said the NEA was looking into doing some advertising there.

[UPDATE]  I sent the following letter to the publisher:

Dear Ms. Leifeste,

As a school committee member at the Chariho Regional School District, I was presented with a series of email between your (now former) reporter, James Madden, and our superintendent, Barry Ricci. I understand that you, as the publisher of the Charho Times, have fired Mr. Madden because of this exchange.

You apparently have no understanding of the issues in our community. The Chariho Times was sometimes the only paper to report what has been happening. Mr. Madden was expressing (albeit crudely) the frustration many of us have been feeling. The District is now on the verge of collapse and your paper has now chosen to close the other eye.

If you had bothered to investigate the situation, you would have found that Mr. Madden was trying to determine why Mr. Ricci called for an executive session to discuss a hearing held at the Labor Relations Board between the National Education Association (teachers’ union) and the Chariho School District.

The complaint named me specifically and my writing on my blog (https://cspf.wordpress.com) – clearly a grievance issue and open to the public if desired by the named party (which it was). The Labor Relations Board asked if I would be present at the hearing but the Chariho lawyer did not respond. The Chariho Superintendent, Mr. Ricci, said he wasn’t asked by the lawyer. Do you think the people deserver to know how the NEA and Chariho are playing games (using tax dollars) to silence my free speech?

The NEA complaint surrounding this issue will not turn out well for them. And now you have included your paper as an accomplice with those attempts to restrict free speech. You should be ashamed and be held responsible.

I am disappointed in your decision and our community will suffer from the resulting lack of information. I can no longer support your paper. Please cancel my subscription immediately and place me on your “do not call” list. I will not speak with your reporters. I would respectfully request that the people in the cc take notice of this action. I would be happy to provide further details and documentation

.Bill Felkner PS. Mr. Madden went back to your offices on the Friday following his firing and saw Carrie Barr, Chariho NEA representative. When queried, she said that the NEA was looking to do some advertising at the Chariho Times. You do not have enough ad space to pay for the damage you have done to your paper our community.

[UPDATE]  Hopkinton Town Council member Tom Buck has notified me that he called the publisher and editor expressing similar thoughts.