Dr. D recall petitions filed

Group submits 2,307 signatures to force DeVincentis on ballot

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Pat Gleason watches as Judy Wiegard, accounting supervisor, and Vicki Weber, elections supervisor, stamp petitions after they were dropped off Monday afternoon at the clerk and recorder's office. Gleason said there were 2,307 signatures calling for the recall of school board member John DeVincentis. The group only needed 1,933 for the recall to go forward.

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Judy Wiegard, accounting supervisor for Routt County, looks through petitions turned in by Pat Gleason (left) and Paula Stephenson (right) Monday afternoon. Gleason said the group collected about 2,300 signatures to recall school board member John DeVincentis.

The DeVincentis e-mails

— The potential recall of Steamboat Springs School Board member John DeVincentis moved a step closer Monday to being on the November ballot.

The group working to recall DeVincentis filed petitions containing 2,307 signatures with the Routt County Clerk and Rec-

order's office. The total is more than the 1,933 signatures needed to force the recall, but the group anticipated some of the signatures would be challenged and invalidated.

"It's now out of our hands," said Paula Stephenson, a former School Board president and one of several leaders of the Save Our Schools RE-2 group that spearheaded the recall effort.

DeVincentis said Sunday he is focused on pressing school issues and is not concerned with the recall effort. After the petitions were turned in Monday, he said he stands by his previous statements and had nothing further to add.

The group has collected signatures since early May, following the public release of e-mails DeVincentis wrote about former superintendent Cyndy Simms during 2004-05, his final year as principal at Strawberry Park Elementary School.

Sherry Wofford, Routt County Chief Deputy Clerk, said the clerk and recorder's office has 10 days to determine if enough of the signatures are valid to place a recall on the ballot. It would be the first recall election of any kind in Routt County since 1986.

"The first step is a quick count to see if they have the 1,933 signatures needed for the recall," she said. "Then we check the circulators' information. Then, we go through and individually check the names on the petition with our voter registration file."

If it is determined that 1,933 or more of the signatures are valid, a 15-day protest period ensues during which DeVincentis can challenge signatures. Protests are resolved in district court.

Members of the SOS RE-2 group said they tried to get as many signatures as possible, anticipating anywhere from 10 to 20 percent of the signatures would be invalidated. The group finished with 19.3 percent more signatures than required.

"The most common mistake is typically listing post office address boxes for an address instead of the place of residence," Wofford said.

Citizens for Fair Politics, a local group that opposes the recall effort due to ethical concerns about how the e-mails were obtained, campaigned against the recall effort. Wofford said the group, or any person in the community, also could challenge the signatures.

Comments

stillinsteamboat 6 years, 9 months ago

Oh, Pat Gleason was one of the people we went to first for help but he ran for the hills as soon as we ruffeled Donna Howell's feathers. He left us out in the cold. Good job Pat!! I wish I would have started a recall against you!!

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stillinsteamboat 6 years, 9 months ago

You go girl 80488!! When my child was being beaten up by another student in the district, John was there for us and my child didn't even attend his school. He was the ONLY HELP we got from the entire district and believe me we went through all the proper channels,John was our last hope and he came through. This man has done much more good than harm.

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80488mom 6 years, 9 months ago

I didn't expect to wake up and see yet another article on this.....so I'm reposting my comments from late last evening before I head to work. I have yet to see anyone in this town walk on water but in the event it happens while I'm at work someone post and let me know. If it's going to happen I suspect it will be in our small town :-) Mom

I guess there are those among us who have never reacted out of passion and made a mistake or done something we wished we could erase. Lucky you.

Dr. D has dedicated his life to the education of the children in this community. He helped build solid academic foundations that have led to the success of many young adults who grew up in this small town. The elementary years are the most critical. This has been proven over and over again. Those kids had a first class education in good part to his influence. I hope those parents and those children who are now of voting age will remember with gratitude how his leadership positively impacted their lives when this issue comes to a vote. Many might not like his politics or his style but the record speaks to his effectiveness as an administrator. Some might consider him abrasive but I personally believe his heart has always been in the right place.

I would urge you to think for yourself and not stray from what you know in your heart to be true and judge this man fairly when the time comes. Can you allow one error in judgment erase all the good this man has done? I would hope not.

80488mom (anonymous) July 2, 2007 at 11:09 p.m. (Suggest removal)

I would like to pose a question to this community. What is wrong with us , Steamboat? We kick a good man when he is down. We kick a mother at what must be the most agonizing time in her life. We've become like a bunch of vultures circling prey and attacking people when they are most vunerable. ....when a little compassion and understanding would go a long , long way. These times of hardship should bring out the best in a community not the worst. These times of trials are an opportunity to show the goodness that lies within. Instead many are choosing to show an ugly side of human nature which we should all be striving on a personal level to overcome. I'm really sad for our small town. I know we can be better than this.

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CoJustice 6 years, 9 months ago

80488mom; In answer to your question: The community should be commended, not condemned. I am glad to see the community finally step up and take action. The citizens are finally tired of being bullied by people in leadership positions that think they walk on water with no accountability for their behavior or actions. Bravo to volunteers that invested in their time and concern for the benefit of the entire community. Have you ever heard the saying, "we the people, by the people"? That's why they call it "PUBLIC EDUCATION" Answerable to the public.

80488mon; Shame on you for expecting people to look the other way.

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linus 6 years, 9 months ago

CoJustice - You SO did not get the point. The "benefit of the community" unfortunately has been nowhere in site.

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CoJustice 6 years, 9 months ago

I got the point Linus. The message I am reading, the Dr did this and that, so we should look the other way. "Many might not like his politics", so look the other way. "Some might consider him abrasive", so look the other way. "Can you allow one error in judgment", and look the other way. "a little compassion and understanding would go a long way.", so look the other way.

The people have spoken, and they are not looking the other way.

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Matthew Stoddard 6 years, 9 months ago

CoJustice- On the other side, do we want side with people in a recall against someone when the main proponent (the "saint" in today's picture) had those emails for 2 years and sat on them, allowing the public to then vote for the person who sent those emails instead of bringing them to light when they were first obtained? Support one bad guy to get rid of another. Is that how it's to be understood?

And for the people speaking, we'll see after names are counted and when/if this goes to November.

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CoJustice 6 years, 9 months ago

I think this is an awakening, accountability and a demand for excellence. Parents will be more involved. Though some rough times will ensue, the investment in the end will stabilize the district.

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Matthew Stoddard 6 years, 9 months ago

Yes, but it's an awakening for both sides of the coin. This is why I support the Board's investigation as to how those emails were obtained. It's fishy on that side of the pond.

Both men did something completely wrong, the way I see it. I don't personally see a lesser of 2 evils in this instance, but one evil is trying to get rid of the other. I'm not intent on standing behind either.

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bikegirl 6 years, 9 months ago

CoJusticeThank you for "getting it"people get very emotional and take sides,this is not the same as the tragedy in oak creek,as some would compare it to.John is now being forced to be held accountable for his actions and words,something he would not do on his own. to 80488-Of course we all need to be compassionate.The fact is our community deserves leaders who live the virtues,in all areas of thier lives,we should not settle for less.

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JustSomeJoe 6 years, 9 months ago

I think it's important to understand the recall effort is for John Devincentis the school board member, not Dr. D the Strawberry Park Elementary school principal. Just because John was a great principal and great for previous generations of kids, doesn't mean he's automatically a great school board member. His behavior alone since the election is grounds enough for a recall. (we don't have to go into all that again do we?)

The recall is going to happen and the community will vote again. Who knows, john may run unopposed in November and we will get to keep him anyway.

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JQPUBLIC 6 years, 9 months ago

"do we want side with people in a recall against someone when the main proponent" "had those emails for 2 years and sat on them, allowing the public to then vote for the person who sent those emails instead of bringing them to light when they were first obtained?"............ Ya know, I think I read somewhere that "allowing the public" to vote for the person of their choice was a right. If Gleason were to run at least the people will know up front what his "crime" was, besides, maybe someone else will step up and get elected.

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linus 6 years, 9 months ago

Joe - if he's been such a bad board member, then why don't the current board members want him to resign? Maybe your problem is with this entire board and their 'new direction.'

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JustSomeJoe 6 years, 9 months ago

Linus - Current board members? Pat Gleason wanted him to resign. I don't think Denise did. Does Jerry count since he was just appointed, not elected? Jeff, I don't know, maybe he did and was out-voted. You feel comfortable that the current board, with two unelected appointees and one person smack in the middle of the issue (out of five total) represent their constituents fairly?

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80488mom 6 years, 9 months ago

CO Just Us: I did not ask people to look the other way. I asked for understanding and compassion. John accepted accountability for his mistakes as a man of character and integrity would do. He didn't hide. He had the courage to face his public. Those are all admirable traits in a public official. To error is human. To forgive is divine.

I'm saying we all make mistakes. I maintain that he is a good man and the good people of Steamboat should humble their pride and accept his apologies and allow him to continue his work.

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80488mom 6 years, 9 months ago

Bike Girl - let me know when the Second Coming is here. Until then I'm afraid you will have to pick and choose from who's here and no one is without fault. Good Luck with that......

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linus 6 years, 9 months ago

Joe -I'm saying that after Gleason resigned and the e-mails came out, there were three other people on the board. None of them wanted John to resign and none of them want a recall. I think I'd trust their judgement before I trust a bunch of former board members who won't cooperate with an investigation.

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titsikama 6 years, 9 months ago

It is clear that we all have a difference of opinion as to whether the e-mails are relevent in relationship to Johns behavior as a Board member (which he wasn't when they were written)and what sort of man they say he is and whether his words speak louder then his actions. In the end that can be debated forever.

So I ask all of you (again) if we hold John accountable for his actions, should we not also hold all unethical behavior by all public officials accountable? And those people who hold themselves out to public as "community leaders" then should they not be held accountable for their actions and behavior?

JustSomeJoe, you said "his behavior alone since the election is grounds enough for a recal." Well I would not argue one bit if that was what was actually given to the public. But it wasn't. What was given to public was a private conversation that served as the very basis of the recall and the apparent basis for peoples decisions. It may have been written on the school computer, but it was still private. So rather then say we have an issue with John, here are our specific issues and concerns, this campaign was endorsed with a private conversation obtained unethically and against the advice of attorneys and that is how it was sold to public-and that is my problem. And then to say that John was diruptive to the Board, when they did not ask him step down and SOS never bothered to express any of their concerns to the Board before hand? SOS chose to take the easy and in many peoples opinion "unethical" way to resolve the problem. By all means have a campaign if you believe an offical has acted inappropriatly, I support you on that, but you can't say "We are trying to hold them accountable for thier actions" when the leaders of the effort (who endorse themselves as community leaders) do not hold themselves accountable for theirs. That was the basis of the formation of Citizens For Fair Politics.

Michelle

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JustSomeJoe 6 years, 9 months ago

I'm trusting my own judgement, not Citizens... or SOS. I've seen all parties up close during board meetings and EFB meetings. John might have been a great principal, but he's doing lasting damage to our school district as a member of the board. Retaining and hiring teachers and administrators will be a problem for years to come. After how he has treated Simms and Howell, I'm sure the best and brightest the educational field has to offer will come running to work under the guidance of Dr. D.

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Matthew Stoddard 6 years, 9 months ago

JustsomeJoe- The problem with your saying that D is being recalled as a Board member doesn't hold water since it was the emails as a Strawberry Park principal that prompted the whole thing. Had the emails never come forward, I'd expect the recall wouldn't have advanced either.

We've also already heard accounts from others (on this forum, at least) as to how interactions with Simms or Howell have not always been the smoothest. It's a matter of perception. Also, a lot of the contractual stuff happened with the prior board...to keep another D from happening, if I remember correct, in the instances of the Principals. Wasn't the part of the MacHale brou-ha?

JQ- Yes, I admit: let the people vote. If it happens, it happens. It's just that since I feel Gleason is as much in the wrong as D, and Gleason can't be held accountable anymore, I will not support a recall. I don't think I'm the only who feels that way, either. We'll see what happens when it happens.

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CoJustice 6 years, 9 months ago

80488mom: Just us: I am sorry this happen and I understand your message, however this much dissension with countless scandals has been destructive. Dr D has lost credibility with the public, lack of trust and division among employees and parents, all of which has created stress. The division of employees alone has created a dysfuctional system with no positive outlook unless some kind of action is taken. . . . . . .He is famaliar with this process, he just never thought it would be him.

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SteamboatJoe 6 years, 9 months ago

Has Pat answered why he let us vote for John in November and withheld the emails? I remember something about giving him a chance. I would enjoy hearing if he and John had any conversations prior to running for the board that related to these emails.

When John bragged in meetings that he was emailing a teacher back and forth from Dr. Simms new district, did he think people would sit by? John volunteered this info long ago and it seems someone tipped off the board. Isn't that why Donna got the four year contract? Protect her from John? Sounds like he wanted people to know what he was up to and I believe he felt untouchable. Certainly using an sssd account was another indicator. I wonder if he has a criteria for what is would take to force him to resign? Unfortunately many believe the emails are the only character flaw this man has.

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JustSomeJoe 6 years, 9 months ago

Kielbasa, my polish brethren. I say pierogi to you.

I didn't say Dr. D was being recalled solely as a board member. I'm not even sure what your first sentence means, so I'll try my best. Of course the recall is happening because of the emails. I'm saying I have seen the board and EFB interaction before, during and after the emails came out. Without the emails, he would have backed his way into a corner already, probably as ineffective as he is now. His attitude towards administrators is simply one of many interpersonal problems he has. The letter he had Mike Johnson (his business partner and a 5th grade SPE teacher) read on his behalf before the school board bashing Donna Howell should indicate to you how John deals with conflict. Certainly not in an adult fashion, nor befiitting an educational leader.

As you said, without the emails, no recall. That's not where we are at though, right? As I said in my previous post, I'm basing my decision to sign the petition and vote against John in November on what I have personally seen in the school district business. I've been there and formed my own opinion. Probably more than most posting here. BTW, John represents my district and I voted for Mike Loomis last time around. Too bad he lost, we'd be much further ahead than where we are now.

You should go to a meeting and watch in person. I think John is mainly traveling on the loyalty and reputation he built as SPE principal. Nothing wrong with that, I hear he did a great job then. We only overlapped a year or two at SPE, he was already a short-timer then. His performance as principal is not relevant to the issue for me. I'm in the corporate world, and eventually you have to be judged on current performance. I don't think John is good for our school district and I'm voting against him. I hope we make the best use of this second chance.

I'm not sure where your comments on McHale and the contractual stuff came from, sort of a non-sequitur for me. sorry.

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bikegirl 6 years, 9 months ago

80488-yes everyone has faults,however,John is in an elected public position,he has broken the trust of many of the people he is supposed to be serving,he has displayed time and time again a lack of integrity.Enough is enough.As a parent with children in our schools,and as a district employee,we need to have this negativity and conflict resolved.I for one am sick of dealing with his pompous attitude.He has caused enough trouble and division among staff,What's that saying"'Divide and conquer"He has this mentality and it is very unhealthy for our educational environment.I love my school ,my students and my families.For the greater good,I hope we can all move forward from this.Come Election day everyone will have the choice.

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Matthew Stoddard 6 years, 9 months ago

JustsomeJoe- This was what you said: "I think it's important to understand the recall effort is for John Devincentis the school board member, not Dr. D the Strawberry Park Elementary school principal."

So none of this has to do with the emails?

According to the SOS Home Page, it says this:

"Why Recall School Board Member John DeVincentis?

By initiating this recall process, the SOS RE2 Committee and its supporters are exercising their rights in a legal process. While it remains to be seen if our point of view is shared by a majority of the community, in the absence of his resignation, we believe the recall of School Board Member John DeVincentis necessary.

Board Member DeVincentis has admitted to and accepted responsibility for lying to the Mercer County School Board in an attempt to get rid of former Superintendent Cyndy Simms.

Board Member DeVincentis has admitted to and accepted responsibility for sending alarmingly vindictive, derogatory and destructive e-mails concerning Superintendent Simms while still a principal in the RE2 District for period of over 2 years (not a single isolated incident).

Although he commanded much of the community's respect and appreciation while principal of Strawberry Park Elementary School, as a Board Member, DeVincentis has demonstrated a continued history of being counter productive to the continuity and function of our school board and district.

We regret that our school board did not call for DeVincentis' resignation which could have spared the community this anguish. We regret he did not voluntarily resign after the revelation of the e-mails which would have spared our district this pain. In our opinion, no one person's contribution to our school board can overcome these failings and justify his remaining on our board.

In the absence of his resignation, we feel compelled to go forward with a recall effort."

I find it interesting that the majority of the page's information pertains to the emails sent as a Principal, and just mentions "a continued history of being counterproductive..." in just 1 sentence. It sounds to me as if the emails...as a Principal, not Board member...are the root of the recall.

As for how he is at a board meeting, of which I have been to many in my life, just not school board meetings, if any board meeting every ran smoothly, I'd say something was wrong. It means there's nobody there to question what's happening. From what I hear, D does just that. So far, the only real derogatory thing to come out is the emails. Whether you like it or not, the rest seems to be a matter of perception.

For MacHale, and someone correct me if I'm wrong, didn't board members before D change the contracts to single year to avoid the D situation again from happening? Basically, didn't they change it in order to avoid confrontation?

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stillinsteamboat 6 years, 9 months ago

I find it interesting that many of the people that support SOS also support George W. Bull____

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JustSomeJoe 6 years, 9 months ago

kielbasa - nice cut and paste, you have been learning from sbvor, just heap it on. None of it germane to my points. I'm out of this discussion.

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Scott Stanford 6 years, 9 months ago

All:

The School Board has released its e-mail investigation report. It can be read in its entirety here:

http://media.steamboatpilot.com/pdf/INVESTIGATION.pdf

Scott Stanford Editor, Steamboat Pilot & Today editor@steamboatpilot.com

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stillinsteamboat 6 years, 9 months ago

Thank you Scott. If the BOE report released today doesn't prove how dishonest Donna Howell is I don't know what does. Can this woman be STOPPED? Having staff sneak into a principals office after hours. I'm disgusted!! We all should be asking questions of her competence.We should be asking for HER resignation!!!!

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Matthew Stoddard 6 years, 9 months ago

JustsomeJoe- Okay- you left out the word "solely." Good catch. Otherwise, the site I mentioned pretty much does make it about the emails. Now, thanks to the report now accessible, we see that others- Gleason and Stephenson- acted improperly. Now, they have the equivalent of "diplomatic immunity" since they are no longer accountable, since they don't hold public office any longer. We just got "Nixoned!"

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80488mom 6 years, 9 months ago

Bike Girl- you love your community and I love my country. Even Bill Clinton was forgiven and if things go his way he will be First Gentleman soon. He was downright deceitful.....no integrity whatsoever.

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bikegirl 6 years, 9 months ago

80488-Yes I do believe in forgiveness,that said, it does not excuse Johns misconduct.I think you are missing the point,John has nothing to do with what Mr.Clinton did. Stick to the issue at hand.

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