Steamboat Springs If you are considering signing the recall for John DeVincentis, please do not do it. Why: Because we need to protect some level of a decent political process in our School Board and our town in general.
What has occurred was not an open process in which SOS or Pat Gleason give us facts about the voting patterns of DeVincentis or what he stands for, but rather began a carefully orchestrated smear campaign that is highly questionable in its legality. I worry that we will set precedence for how we handle our political opposition in the future. Don't like your political opponent or some one you disagree with? No need to give your public any real information, just find some private smut and send it along to the paper.
E-mails on the school computer are not public information. If so, we should have the right as a public to review e-mails written by all teachers, former and present board members, superintendents and every other employee to be sure that they have not said something (especially in a private conversation) that could reflect poorly on our district. There are procedures in place so that this does not happen. We should have the right to find out how this leak occurred and the intent, or I have no doubt that this issue will surface again.
Since when do private words speak louder then public action? Have we gotten to the point where we make our decisions on who directs our policies based not on what they stand for, or how they vote, but whether they have clean, unbiased thoughts and conversations or say the right words?
The SOS Committee is now trying to back pedal by saying they are going to "be ethical and honest." Releasing those e-mails before coming to the public with facts about DeVincentis' performance and voting record was not ethical. It was not ethical to threaten Denise Connelly with a potential recall if she did not force DeVincentis to resign or not to show the e-mails to the Board prior to release so they could try to resolve this issue internally. It was not honest to by-pass systems in place to protect district employee information to be used to defame someone. Again words versus actions. Which should matter more?
I encourage everyone to really learn the facts first and both sides of the story, then and only then should you consider signing a recall petition. But by signing the petition you are saying that as a community, we no longer support open, honest, legal discussion regarding our political officials, but carefully orchestrated smear campaigns where the ends supposedly justify the means; where it only matters what you say, not what you do.
As a father of two children at Strawberry Park Elementary and as a member of a family which includes school administrators, principals and teachers I can't compliment DeVincentis enough for his leadership while principal at Strawberry Park. Our kids adore DeVincentis and they strive to achieve the excellence he instilled in them. His 25 years as a well loved administrator by almost all of the parents and teachers did not deserve to be destroyed by this vindictive act, regardless of how you feel about him personally.
The problem is some old Board members don't like the changes taking place and they are trying to throw a community leader under the bus to keep it from happening, rather then wait for the public to decide.
Please do not sign the sign the petition for all the reasons mentioned above.