Gleason: I'm the source

Former School Board member gave e-mails to newspaper

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The DeVincentis e-mails

Gleason's Statement

Read the text of the statement Pat Gleason issued Wednesday

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Pat Gleason

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Excerpt from a public forum John DeVincentis held Wednesday night to answer questions from the public.

Excerpt from a public forum John DeVincentis held Wednesday night to answer questions from the public.

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  • — Former Steamboat Springs School Board member Pat Gleason provided the Pilot & Today with copies of e-mails sent by John DeVincentis during his last year as principal at Strawberry Park Elementary School.

    Gleason issued a statement Wednesday afternoon in which he admitted to being the Pilot & Today's source. Initially, he requested anonymity, and the newspaper respected that request.

    "I knew I was going to have to (come forward) some time," Gleason said Wednesday. "This removes any doubt now."

    Last week, the School Board launched an internal investigation into how the newspaper obtained the e-mails. School Board President Denise Connelly, given a copy of Gleason's statement Wednesday, said she had no comment at this time. Board members Jerry Kozatch and Jeff Troeger could not be reached for comment.

    Gleason resigned from the School Board on April 4. The e-mails were revealed in a story posted to the Pilot & Today's Web site the next day.

    Gleason now is working with a group of former School Board members on efforts to recall DeVincentis from the School Board.

    The e-mails were exchanged between DeVincentis and a teacher in Mercer Island, Wash. They started in August 2004 and ended in May 2005. DeVincentis used his school computer and school account to send the e-mails.

    The e-mails were harshly critical of Cyndy Simms, a former Steamboat superintendent and the current superintendent in Mercer Island. In the e-mails, DeVincentis suggests ways to undermine Simms, including using aspects of her personal life. He also brags about lying to the Mercer Island School Board to get the board to hire Simms. He uses derogatory terms to refer to her and jokes about spitting on her and being in the throes of passion with her.

    DeVincentis has apologized for the content of the e-mails, saying he was angry at the time the e-mails were written and that they were meant to be private. DeVincentis was made aware of Gleason's letter Wednesday night during a public forum DeVincentis was hosting to gather community feedback on the e-mails.

    DeVincentis did not immediately respond to Gleason's announcement. He said Tuesday he is no longer communicating with the newspaper.

    Gleason said he had access to the DeVincentis e-mails in his capacity as a board member.

    '"The School Board has access to all records at all times,' is a quote John DeVincentis has used numerous times during his tenure on our School Board," Gleason wrote. "Shortly after DeVincentis left the employ of the School District, as a board member at that time, I had access to the controversial e-mails, as well as other board members."

    Gleason said his announcement should eliminate the need for the School Board's internal investigation into where the e-mails came from.

    "The School Board is up there wasting money on this inquisition - that's what I call it - that has no legal merit or anything," he said. "Denise said it's time to move forward, so I did it."

    Gleason said he initially was reluctant to reveal himself as the source of the e-mails because of concern for his family and any backlash from DeVincentis and his supporters. "They're still a concern," he added.

    Pilot & Today Editor Scott Stanford said the newspaper was not involved in Gleason's decision to reveal his role in the e-mails.

    "We did not and would not ask Pat Gleason to come forward as the source of these e-mails; however, I appreciate that he did," Stanford said. "We are always better served when we can share information we have with our readers. And in this case, it is clear that our readers considered the e-mail source's identity to be a critical element of the story."

    Comments

    reallocal 6 years, 12 months ago

    Nope, I admire him for giving D the chance to prove himself. How many chances does he need? More importantly, how many chances are we expected to give him as an elected official?

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    sarakg 6 years, 12 months ago

    I have never been so convinced that my father knows what he is doing...I must admit, I have often come under fire (from my teachers, parents, and fellow students, as well as zealous administrators...), but I have always been proud to be my father's daughter. His morals have never been a question to me. Trust me, anyone who does not know his morals does not know this man. He has never been shy nor quiet regarding his views on ANYTHING. Don't conveniently convince yourself that he has all the sudden changed...

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    SteamboatJoe 7 years ago

    Thank you Pat.

    Watching John refuse to do the right thing has to be validation that you did the right thing with the emails. Please keep the public informed about the recall effort.

    I have witnessed the "all records can be viewed by the school board at all times" wrath of John.
    I can't wait to hear the excuse for why it doesn't apply to him. I am shocked at the ego of John DeVincentis. I am sure I will get another laugh when we hear Denise's angle.

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    plainjane 7 years ago

    Pat, thank you for your real and honest concern for our school district. If only John DeVincentis had the same. Unfortunately, his only concern is for himself.

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    ElBorracho 7 years ago

    That must have been a very difficult decision for you. Thanks, Pat. Without seeing those e-mails for themselves, all those Dr.D supporters never would have believed the vindictiveness he's apparently capable of.

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    autumnwitch 7 years ago

    I hope the fervor has not gone the way of the dinosaur. If you truly believe that John is not a changed man, then please be willing to sign the petition to have him recalled. A school board is no place to hold a grudge or feel that you have to be vindicated. The children should be the main focus, not a personal agenda. He cannot and will not behave for a very long period of time. Do not be fooled by the apology or the changed man attitude, it has happened before. I would encourage those who still do not believe to ask the district for minutes of past meetings that show his true nature, it is all there in black and white if you choose to open your eyes.

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    Andyeast 7 years ago

    "I resigned from the School Board knowing I could no longer make a positive contribution and that revealing his e-mails would be ethically deceitful. I had initially requested anonymity out of concern for my family and the anticipated backlash from John and his supporters."

    The key beeing ethically deceitful.... This is on the same level as what John did 3 years ago in the emails....

    The whole mess is just vulgar, really. I am not standin gup for John D. What I am saying is that we are commending a man for turning over the info. and he agrees it is ethically deceitful.......

    Good God, I am glad you aren't serving on our school board anymore.

    What a bunch of small town worthless battles... Don't we have bigger and more important things to worry about than what a school board member and former principal wrote three years ago?

    AND did any of you ever expereince the same type of mis-treatment that John did with Dr. Simms? - Come on..... How are any of us able to predict how we would have reacted in the same situation? I can't for sure say that I wouldn't have been angry for a very long time if I had battled what John did. I AM NOT EXCUSING HIM... I am simply saying we sure have a lot of judges in this town...

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    citizenjohnq 7 years ago

    Andyeast: Is it possible that Mr. Gleason was saying, in the statement you quoted, that REMAINING on the board and THEN releasing the emails would be ethically deceitful? That he may be saying it would have been a conflict of interest for someone to release these emails- which do show Dr. D's true character, as Dr. D admitted in his discussions at the high school last evening (saying that he is still very angry and seeking professional help)- while still serving on the board?

    And, yes, these are small town battles. However, that fact remains that these type of things happen at every level of society. In a small town you would here of it more- because of that fact that you stated- its a small town. Would this still be news, say, in the Denver area? Yes. But it more than likely wouldn't be printed, necessarily or not, by a newspaper that is the area's only source for local news. (Those on the front range WATCH their news for the most part. They PAY EVERYDAY for their newspapers. Not so in Steamboat. And that's small town life.)

    Lastly, at least for Andyeast: judges? I am amused at this saying, regardless of who may be saying it. This is society. We all must be held accountable for our actions. But in no way are we, as a society, to sit by and let those that would push the envelope get away with it. Yes, there are people judging. Judging actions- the only thing that may be held accountable. Not one person is making a decision about Dr. D's soul, nor should they. Accountability is holding those who have asked to be held to a standard to that very standard. If any elected official would not want to have their actions under the microscope, then that person should reconsider putting themselves in that position. (I recall that recently a certain city councilman came under fire for his ski pass. Rather than letting things roll into something larger, he did the thing that was most right for the greater good- he returned his ski pass. Sure he more than likely had obtained it legally and not by his elected postion, but he very wisely saw that it was better for him to humble himself and relinquish his pass than to allow coals to become flame. Kudos, sir.) Let us not forget that there are consequences for our actions. We drive too fast and get caught, we get a ticket. We don't water the plants, and they wither. I won't insult your intelligence with any more analogies. Dr. D stated that he welcomes the democratic process. That he was elected by it, and will only leave his position by it.

    My hat off to Mr. Gleason. Courage is doing the right thing at the right time. Something Dr. D should, at the very least, take notes on.

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    Scott Wedel 7 years ago

    "Shortly after DeVincentis left the employ of the School District, as a board member at that time, I had access to the controversial e-mails, as well as other board members."

    It means the previous school board must have had a discussion what to do with Dr D and the emails. It means the previous school board decided to let Dr D to enter his planned retirement with dignity instead of releasing them then and damaging his reputation.

    It means Dr D has known for years that others knew he wrote these emails. It also means he ran for school board and has served all the time knowing that others knew about these emails. The only reasonable explanation for him to run and serve with that knowledge is that he thought those emails were not that offensive. That explanation also explains why he only now sought anger management counseling. And why his apologies are more concerned with apologizing for the controversy caused by the release of the emails and not the content of the emails.

    Therein lies the essential defect in his character - he does not understand how the emails are so morally and ethically repugnant. That is not how normal people deal with present or former coworkers.

    It is one thing that have been involved in the circumstances of the superintendent of your district being forced to leave. It is a giant leap of vindictiveness to then exchange emails with a disgruntled employee in her new job where she is acknowledge as working well with the school board.

    Then there is the giant leap generalized vindictiveness to say your new superintendent Howell is like the old boss. A person interested in learning should have observed that the problem might not be the superintendent, but himself..

    I suppose I should expect a person that would run for and serve on the school board knowing that others knew about these emails would not resign when the emails became public. It is clear that the emails don't bother him much or that he thinks it is his duty to force superintendents out of their jobs whether they are working for Steamboat Springs School district or have left and joined another school district.

    (continued)

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    Scott Wedel 7 years ago

    (continued)

    The more the facts and history regarding these emails are revealed the more reasons Dr D must be recalled. He has put himself above the interests of the school district and the children at every opportunity. 1) He ran for office knowing that others knew about the emails. His election was more important to him than the damage that would result if the emails became public. 2) His actions on the school board largely follow the pattern of vindictiveness shown in the emails rather than that of a changed person. Thus, he served knowing the emails would be a scandal if released. 3) The honest action would have been for him to seek the release of the emails and explain himself. Instead he acted knowing that others knew a dark secret about him that would be scandalous if released to the public. A responsible person with secrets of that importance know by people that are not his closest friends does not seek positions of public trust.

    What reason is there for him to stay on the Board? That he was elected by people that didn't know about the emails? That his 23 years with the school district give him expertise in forcing out Superintendents and a long list of personal scores to settle? That he has taught generations of school kids to hide character flaws instead of correcting them?

    The nature of Superintendent's Simms issues with Principal Dr D were generally consistent with the bad behavior he displayed in his emails. Thus, I have my doubts whether he was mistreated by Superintendent Simms. A more cautious statement would be "the perceived mistreatment John did with Dr Simms".

    And yes, my work history at a Fortune 500 company includes many internal battles in which my job and even my manager's job were threatened. My reaction to those challenges was to show that it was correct for me to be doing what I was doing or to apologize for being wrong. I never went after anyone personally like Dr D. I never heard of anyone ever trying to get someone fired from their new job after leaving the company. That would be grounds for immediate termination even if done at home not on work's computers.

    But no one has to have had unfortunate work experiences to suggest that Dr D should resign. The question is not whether some company hired him into the wrong job. It is whether he can continue to serve the public's interest as an elected member of the school board. Any voter that feels deceived by his election campaign, unhappy with his actions as school board member, or repulsed by his personal conduct is justified in asking for his resignation and, if not forthcoming, to recall him.

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    autumnwitch 7 years ago

    John's always skewed sense of reality made him believe he was treated unfairly. I was very involved with the school district at that time and, admittedly, was not privey to any private meetings they had (John and Cyndy), but I did see the very public ones. At those, John was out of control and rude, while Cyndy maintained her professionalism.

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    steamvent 7 years ago

    Andyeast ... We experience a tragedy and then discover the perp had been previously discovered and the damage caused could have been averted, but nothing was done to protect the public. We are outraged. You should be grateful that Pat Gleason had the courage to identify a perp in our midst and put a stop to his aberrant behavior. All you Dr. D supporters must have cloudy pasts and are feeling the guilt so badly that you want this creep protected. Pathetic.

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    portagetheyampa 7 years ago

    Pat, Thanks for your honesty and your willingness to reveal your role in this. I think it matters naught who gave those emails to the Pilot. That was never the issue.

    All of John's sudden remorse does nothing to remedy what he did and lets get on with the recall.

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    kingsride 7 years ago

    I ll add my thanks as well Pat. Unfortunately there are those that will now blame you along with the Pilot. I ve yet to see any apologies from those that already convicted Donna Howell . How about it? Any one care to offer some retractions?

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    Finn 7 years ago

    It's a shame that Mr. Gleason decided to resign. That's the unfortunate part of all this....all the ethical citizens who put our children above their own agendas are leaving the district due to one persons narcissism. Mr. Gleason sacrificed himself for this community. It's a temporary hit for our kids, but apparently Mr. Gleason felt the greater good was more important than any one person. What a novel concept!

    Is Dr. Dink sorry? Sure, he's sorry he got caught. Does he feel bad that he has toyed with thousands of kids' futures on his quest to achieve what is most important to him....personal victories? Apparently not, or he would have gracefully stepped down to bring the focus back to public education. When Dr. Dink is recalled, the children of Steamboat Springs School District can finally offer their statement on this whole ugly situation....WE WON!

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    parent4sd 7 years ago

    Dear Dr. D. - sometimes the toughest decisions are the right decisions. This distraction from our children has a bottom line. There likely is a silent majority of parents who hope deep down the right decision is the one you will make. The dignified decision is to step down. Do not require a recall. This isn't about you being bullied. Its about you not seeing the situation clearly. There is doubt whether Denise Connelly is seeing this clearly. We are not on the board, or close to the politics. We are concerned parents who aren't liking what we are seeing. If you are still passionate and wish to return to service in a few years that would likely be possible. But for the good of our children and for the functionality of the school board: Make the tough decision, make the right decision - step down. (Parents for the School District)

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    Matthew Stoddard 7 years ago

    If kingsride means me on "convicting" Donna Howell, I've never done so. I've only brought up possible scenarios, and one of them was proved right: it was a past board member who brought those emails forward.

    Any bets when I undertake my "how easy is it for the common person to get information" test after seeing who actually got the emails? It wasn't just some person off the street, but an insider. I'm glad he came foward to remove all suspicions of who it might be.

    Another point that kingsride made for me: "I ve yet to see any apologies from those that already convicted Donna Howell." That's what happens when you have anonymous sources: the opposing side tends to jump to conclusions when only having 1 side of the story and refusing to hear the other side. That applies to both sides.

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    Matthew Stoddard 7 years ago

    One other thing pertaining to Wedel's thesis: he forgets an important point. According to his outlook, this would mean that the past board possibly blackmailed D into trying to keep quietly retired by withholding those emails from being released back then. Pat Gleason did say he had access to them at the time.

    It would also mean that unless the BOE wasn't checking from the start and only checked his emails after he retired, they allowed it to go on for a year and a half, allowing D to "dig his grave," so to speak. It would also mean that these emails, being the intense issue they are, were withheld from everyone on this forum knowingly all this time by the BOE members in the past and present. That's IF Scott Wedel is correct.

    There ya go, Gwen: plot development!

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    JQPUBLIC 7 years ago

    Due to Mr. Gleason's decision to make the emails public, I think resigning first was the smart thing to do. It looks like he did what he thought best for the district and his position, to leave and not be the cause more dissension among the members (wow, a member that thinks for himself). Correct me if I'm wrong but... his seat is empty as will John's be if (when) he is recalled, can't Mr. Gleason be reinstated by the board or re-elected by the people? Ahhh.. he probably wouldn't want it back with Connelly still there, she appears to be riding up front on the "DeVincentis can do no wrong" bandwagon.

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    another_local 7 years ago

    The timing of this recall with dates to collect signatures, time for review and certification of the signatures, filing for candidates and notices will put the recall within 90 days of the regular election which means they will be combined. (under the rules governing recall)

    This largely eliminates the extra expense factor of a recall election. It also assures a large turnout for the balloting. As most (all but one, I think) of the other seats will be up for election at that time too, we are very probably going to see a new BOE in just a few months time.

    Mr Gleason can run as a candidate on a new slate in the upcoming election. I hope he does.

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    steamboatgal 7 years ago

    The confusing web-we-weave.... Even though damages cannot be reversed answers give relief to those affected.

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    JustSomeJoe 7 years ago

    Has anyone watched the Dr. D video at the top of this page? I'm still amazed that Dr. D find this to be all about him and how he feels, rather than what's the best for the school district. Every comment in the video is about his feelings on whether he should resign, he won't back down from a bully (with himself as the bully?). He wants to keep busy in retirement, so he doesn't want to quit the school board.

    I know it's tough being on video and speaking off the cuff about difficult subjects. From this clip, I feel like the only reason he won't resign from the board is how it would make him feel, not what's best for the board or the district.

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    marathon 7 years ago

    The courage it took for Mr. Gleason to release the e-mails and take action cannot be underestimated. Tto continue with courage of admiting he did release the e-mails so that The School Board President doesn't continue along her path of folly is remarkable. Gleason is right to feel concern for himself and family and this community needs to protect him from the likes of Dr. D. who has proven himself to be vindictive, deceptive, a liar and a person with little understanding of his own actions. If he had any type of insight, he would have long ago stepped down. To analogize the recall as standing up to bullies just shows how truly sick this man is.

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    jerry carlton 7 years ago

    Pat Gleason is the only person who should be on the school board. The rest of the board should have resigned.

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    CindyMaddox 7 years ago

    Thank you Pat -- and thanks for all your public service to the District over the years.

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    Andyeast 7 years ago

    Ummm.. This situation HARDLY falls under the category of a TRAGEDY.... While I do NOT support what John did, I do think we have gone a bit overboard.

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    SteamboatJoe 7 years ago

    Cearly spoken as a lucky one who hasn't experienced the wrath of John. People with years of John experience do not have the luxury of your perspective. If you feel people are overboard, push your chair away from the keyboard and stop contributing to the conversation. Realize there is a history you appear to be just now learning.

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    mom 7 years ago

    Yes, he is enjoying his newly found limelight and even brought in a "pretty" picture to the press:and most of you guys accuse others of ego trips!!! Glad he's gone. And for those of you considering twists and plots:.have you ever considered the "fall guy" theory. He fits the profile to a T.

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    Troutscout 7 years ago

    I'm curious about the timing of Mr Gleason's release of the fact that Dr. D wrote those emails. It appears as if Dr. Howell was about to get fired, Dr. D was building a case against her, possibly contrived and likely baseless, in light of his history with Simms. Why did Gleason hold this Ace Card up his sleeve for so long. Wouldn't it have avoided this whole mess if he had come forward during the school board elections and made public what Dr. D was really like? Or were Gleason and other previous board members, who were aware of Dr D's emails, giving Dr. D the benefit of the doubt to see if he would behave?

    At any rate it looks like Gleason has saved Howell's job. He did it about the only way he could. It was possible that he didn't have the votes on the board to save Howell. He had a plan. Get copies of the emails, then resign, then release the emails to the paper, that sure got eveyone's attention, watch the resulting fuss, then reveal he was the insider. ( The investigation may have revealed him as the source, not many people would have access to district emails, so he preempted it, and admitted he was the leaker) He looks good now. What's next?

    This all puts a lot of pressure on Howell to do a good job. I hope she is up to it. It will take a strong learder to come back after all this commotion. I wish her luck.

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    paststudent 7 years ago

    I'm very shocked that Pat is getting congratulated for all of this. Doesn't it seem odd that the Dr. D emails get released right when Pat resigns from the school board? It looks like he was trying to save his own skin. Both men have behaved badly and need to grow up. I've seen our own students behave better than these two and many members of our community. Also, shame on those of you who are bashing Denise Connelly. How would you react to this situation these two men have put her and the other members in? They are being cautious and not making rash decisions in a crisis. That is wonderful. I refuse to give any kudos to Pat. He's not a hero. Neither men are doing great jobs right now.

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    citizenjohnq 7 years ago

    "Mom": I've rarely seen anyone so passionate about defending wrong activity, sarcastic or not. And yes, I'm sure there are a lot of people that have 'vented' to others, as Ms. Mullen stated in her letter that you love. Back to my opening statement. Did Mr. Devincentis even take an ethics class at California State Teachers College while getting his master's or Ph.D. there? Did he take one at Pitt while getting his bachelors? If he had, I would hope he would have learned the quality of kindness over vindictiveness at the very least.

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    mom 7 years ago

    Are you kidding me? Sorry, I am not into the back and forth arguments, but I must ask just what were you drinking?

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    jeannie berger 7 years ago

    Maybe we should see how this all plays out before we shoot the messenger. As in most things in life I am sure this is much more complicated than what we are seeing on the surface. All of our comments don't change any of the facts and I don't think anyone changes their opinion from what gets posted here. It will be interesting to see how it ends but in the mean time I am going to enjoy Steamboat while it belongs to those of us who live here, before the summer hoards arrive. I would hope the rest of you would do the same, enjoy being here and being alive.

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    reallocal 6 years, 12 months ago

    mom-that's his board picture from a few years ago. Sorry they don't have one of you looking quite as attractive (it was a hard shot to get, what with your head in the sand and all). And, past student-no it does not look suspicious. There is nothing to look into. Pat admitted he released the emails. What would have been unethical would have been for him to do so while still on the board, so kudos for resigning and kudos for exposing poor behavior. I hate to say it, but rarely the ends justify the means. Unfortunately for our community this is one case where this is true. D needs to go at any cost now so that we can limit his ability to damage our district any further than he insists on doing by cowardly trying to "explain how he feels." I don't give a damn how he feels. I give a damn about the district as a whole, a district that no longer has room for D.

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    Matthew Stoddard 6 years, 12 months ago

    So reallocal- you aren't angry or suspicious that Gleason withheld this information from you for 2 years? You don't think it was just advantageous to release those emails 2 years after the fact, when Gleason was a minority vote?

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