DeVincentis recall proceeds

Petition language must be approved before circulation

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The DeVincentis e-mails

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Lane Malone speaks during the public comment portion of the April 16 school board meeting.

Lane Malone speaks during the public comment portion of the April 16 school board meeting.

— A group of Steamboat residents announced Monday it will proceed with plans to try to recall Steamboat Springs School Board member John DeVincentis.

The committee is made up of former School Board members and former DeVincentis supporters.

DeVincentis said he had no comment on the group's plans.

The group must first draw up a recall petition and turn it in for approval by Routt County Clerk Kay Weinland. Weinland has 48 hours from the time the petition is submitted to approve the language. If the petition is approved, the committee will need to secure the signatures of 1,933 registered voters in the school district to force the recall election.

A meeting with Weinland has been scheduled for 9 a.m. today.

"We are hoping to have things done by the end of the week, having language in and approved," said Pat Gleason, a committee member and former School Board member. Others involved in the recall effort include Paula Stephenson, Jim Gill, Tom Miller-Freutel and Jim Swiggart.

The recall effort was prompted by a series of e-mails DeVincentis sent between August 2004 and May 2005, while he was in his final year as principal at Strawberry Park Elementary School.

In the e-mails to a teacher in Mercer Island, Wash., DeVincentis admits that he "lied like a snake" to Mercer Island School Board members about former Steamboat Springs Superintendent Cyndy Simms so the district in Washington would hire Simms away from Steamboat.

DeVincentis also offers the teacher in Washington suggestions on how to undermine Simms, including using aspects of her personal life. He accuses Simms of not being a good mother and hopes that her teen daughter rebels against her.

DeVincentis writes that current Steamboat Springs Superintendent Donna Howell is "very similar" to Simms and mentions his plans to run for the School Board to change the administration.

DeVincentis successfully won the District 5 seat in November 2005, just a few months after he retired from the school district and the e-mails, which were written on his school computer using his school e-mail account, ended.

DeVincentis has apologized for the e-mails but said he will not resign, despite numerous calls for him to do so.

DeVincentis will hold a series of public meetings this week to allow community members to speak to him directly about the issue. The meetings are scheduled for 5:30 to 7 p.m. today, Wednesday and Thursday at Steamboat Springs High School located at 45 Maple St.

In a letter to School Board President Denise Connelly on April 8, Gleason wrote that Connelly also could face a recall effort if she did not ask for DeVincentis' resignation. Connelly has said she does not condone what DeVincentis' wrote, but she will not ask him to resign.

Gleason said Monday that DeVincentis "probably" will be the only name on a recall petition to be circulated this month, but the group hasn't eliminated the possibility of holding another recall at a later time.

"There is some worry that we will end up diluting the message because the absolute worst thing we could do is start this recall thing and fail," Gleason said.

The recall of a School Board member requires a petition signed by enough voters within the school district's boundaries to equal 40 percent of the votes cast in the School Board member's most recent race.

To recall DeVincentis, a signed petition must include 1,933 signatures from registered school district voters. The people who choose to sign the petition don't have to live in DeVincentis' District 5, which includes much of the school district outside city lines, said Sherry Wofford, chief deputy clerk with the Routt County Clerk and Recorder's office.

"We are talking about hiring somebody to oversee this to verify signatures so we know how many we have as we are moving along," Gleason said.

He said the group is planning to create a Web site and campaign.

Comments

another_local 7 years ago

It is dissapointing that our school board members will not take up the leadership that is thier role and ask John to resign. Further, John should recognize that his continued presence is detrimental to the task at hand and resign in the interests of our community.

On with the recall.

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jeannie berger 7 years ago

Is John holding these meetings as a school board member or as a private citizen. If as a private citizen, how much does he have to pay to use the high school facilities? Is this whole meeting with the public while not with the BOE during regular meetings even kosher? Did the public ask for a forum for John to be able to talk about this. It seems rather odd for him to be able to use the school for his private forum. Can any one use the facilities for such meetings? Shouldn't this be taken care of during regular BOE meetings?

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JustAsking 7 years ago

How much will it cost before John experiences the inevitable? What dollars will be lost from worth while programs in order to throttle this man's unbounded ego?

Can't some of his supporters help him to realize that his stubbornness is once again putting his personal agenda above what is best for others?

Can't he understand that the behavior he continues to demonstrate only proves that he needs professional help?

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steamboatredhead 7 years ago

Not only should John step down, but so should Denise. What a shame that she calls democracy "messy and inefficient." This is the very process that got her on the board, the process that our schools teach is the greastest form of government in the world, that men and women are dying in Iraq for, and that our government seems intent on impossing on every nation in the world that currently isn't democratic. Sure the citizens can recall board members, but that only has to happen if those board members cannot take responsibility for the problems that they have caused or enabled and resign. "Moving forward" should mean removing all players involved and truly getting rid of this mess.

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Scott Wedel 7 years ago

Does Dr D think he would have won election to the school board if the if emails were public prior to the election? Does he think his actions on the school board would have had a very different public reaction if the emails were public sooner?

If he has any ethics or morals then he will resign. He could then start to rebuild his reputation. the longer he stays on and refuses to see why he must resign the more he damages his reputation.

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Finn 7 years ago

Why would there even be a debate? DeVincentis has displayed a disturbing pattern of unprofessionalism, including fantasizing about causing bodily harm to women, using people's personal lives and families to torment them into submitting to his close-minded view of what is right, lying as a State of Colorado employee and again as an elected official, and, to top it all off, coaching others on how to sabotage and undermine anyone who doesn't agree with his point of view. This is a democracy. No one person has all the right answers. Yet DeVincentis is apparently willing to resort to terroristic-like tactics in order to force his voice to be heard above all others.

Unfortunately, now I fear for the well being and safety of my friends and family within the Steamboat Springs school district. I can only hope that we will not someday be looking back at this disturbing episode and wondering why nobody did anything to address the violent signs that this "man" has displayed....and collectively saying "what if?" In my heart, I don't believe the community of Steamboat Springs is willing to stand by and let that happen?

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SteamboatJoe 7 years ago

He cannot mantain the composure he is so trying to hold - he will slip and show those true colors again and hopefully our community will not have forogtten what he so deperately wants us to forget.

He is banking on the recall fire buring out so he can get on with his agenda. Don't let this new found personality displayed in public forum fool you. You don't have to scratch very deep to see what is still there. Hasn't he been given enough chances?

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