Our View: DeVincentis recall is necessary

Advertisement

The DeVincentis e-mails

— Requiring John DeVincentis to stand for election in November is a minimum consequence of his conduct, not only in 2-year-old e-mails he sent using his school computer but also during his 20 months on the School Board.

We previously asked DeVincentis to resign. Absent his resignation, we endorse the effort to recall him and urge residents to sign the recall petition.

A successful recall requires signatures from 1,933 registered voters by July 7. The recall will not force DeVincentis from office. Rather, it forces an election with two questions. First, should DeVincentis be recalled. Second, if he is recalled, who should replace him. The election will be during the regularly scheduled School Board election in November.

On April 4, we urged residents not to support the recall of District Attorney Bonnie Roesink. We stated, "Subverting the people's choice through recall is a serious step that should be reserved as an option of last resort."

That point has been reached with DeVincentis.

The e-mails he sent in his final year as principal of Strawberry Park Elementary, which only came to public light in April, play a significant role. When former Superintendent Cyndy Simms left Steamboat in 2003, many assumed her contentious battles with DeVincentis ended. Had the public known that DeVincentis would spend at least nine months in 2004 and 2005 sending e-mails aimed at embarrassing her and damaging her career, it's doubtful he would have been elected.

The e-mails alone warrant his recall. But his record as a board member adds credibility to the effort.

DeVincentis' contributions to the board to date have been divisiveness, anger and costly mediations. In his brief tenure, the board president has had to apologize for DeVincentis' behavior on more than one occasion, most notably when he had teacher Mike Johnson read a letter in May 2006 that was wildly inappropriate in its criticisms of Superintendent Donna Howell.

He has worked at every turn to undermine Howell, from the letter Johnson read to forcing the release of administrative surveys that Howell had promised would remain confidential. E-mails from 2006 obtained in an open records request show DeVincentis to be consistent in his combative approach toward Howell.

DeVincentis leveraged a successful career as a principal to get elected to the School Board. It is painfully clear that he did so for the purpose of pursuing a vendetta against Howell, just as he has pursued a vendetta against Simms.

Under the guise of reducing administrative costs, he has launched an outright attack on district administrators. He sought to cut their benefits and freeze their pay. He voted against renewing their contracts. He has seized upon every opportunity to drive a wedge between the administration and the board and between the administration and teachers.

In a recent letter, board President Denise Connelly highlighted some of the board's biggest successes. The passage of the Soda Creek bond issue, the passage of the mill levy override for staff salaries and the installation of artificial turf at Gardner Field were noted.

Howell was the driving force behind the bond issue and the mill levy override. She formed and worked with committees, spoke to civic groups and used her extensive credibility to convince the community to approve these measures. She was the face and the voice of the campaign. By contrast, DeVincentis was noticeably absent.

The artificial turf? DeVincentis bitterly opposed it in the letter Johnson read.

Many who have worked with DeVincentis have seen a pattern in his behavior. He loses his temper, hurts someone and apologizes. Inevitably, though, he will do it again until he is held accountable. The recall requires that he account for his behavior.

For those who think DeVincentis has learned from his mistakes, consider his recent comment about the people who made the e-mails public and are now attempting to recall him. "I think this group of people, who will come out in the investigation, are a hateful, spiteful group of people - worse than I ever did."

The statement underscores that DeVincentis still doesn't get it. He just can't grasp how highly offensive and inappropriate his treatment of Simms and, later, Howell has been.

DeVincentis would like voters to believe his critics - including the newspaper, every past School Board member the Pilot & Today has contacted and many members of the Parents for Dr. D Committee - are biased, unfair and vengeful toward him. They lack credibility. They have conflicts of interest. They all are out to get him.

These are smokescreens designed to distract from DeVincentis' own actions.

It is those actions that forced John DeVincentis' name onto a recall petition. The school district, its students and its staff will best be served if 1,933 registered voters sign it.

Comments

Sunnydays 6 years, 10 months ago

Its obvious to me that things are not going well on the petition front if the Pilot is running yet another article on how bad of a person John Devincentis is and that he should be recalled a day after the big SOS meeting.

0

Hammurabi 6 years, 10 months ago

Thank you for running a concise and accurate editorial on the recall. Several of us have been confused by what exactly signing the recall petition means. We now know that it only puts the recall question on the Novermber ballot. The opposition has tried to paint a completely different picture. I, for one, don't appreciate being TOLD not to participate in a democratic process.

0

sickofitall 6 years, 10 months ago

Hey lets just let the pilot run this town! lol Get off your high horses.

0

Sunnydays 6 years, 10 months ago

I find it interesting that Cyndy Simms had a picture of Suzanne Schlict, the general manager of the paper, in her office while Superintendent in Steamboat and that Donna Howell serves on the Rotary with Suzanne....along with Jim Swiggart, Greg Stedmann, the owner of Central Park Liquors who has made his business readily available for petition carriers, Greg Dixson and a host of other SOS members. There is no bias from this paper, none at all...

0

Sunspot 6 years, 10 months ago

Hamm
Signing the recall means an endorsement of dirty politics. If they get away with this, who will be their next target?

One big question.
Have D's actions on this board been any worse than the actions of the old Paula Stephenson board? Rudeness and degrading remarks were standard procedure with the old board. I agree with the Pilot that D. should hold himself to a higher standard. However we never saw the Pilot call for resignations from the old board because of their rude comments.

Read Bethany Aurin's letter

http://www.steamboatpilot.com/news/2007/apr/15/bethany_aurin_fallout_shameful/?letters

0

dogd 6 years, 10 months ago

Whatever credibility the Pilot may have had has been diminished greatly by the entire Devicentis affair. This editorial is an outrage considering the role the Pilot has played in creating the mess. Personal retationships within the Pilot staff have completely driven this.

0

JQPUBLIC 6 years, 10 months ago

There are at least two sides to every story, and everyone thinks their side is right, and their view is the best, thus we get to see democracy at work... dirty or otherwise, it's our system.

"Signing the recall means an endorsement of dirty politics"... as I said before, if you believe that, then voting in the 2008 presidential election will mean the same thing.

Hamm.... you are right with "I, for one, don't appreciate being TOLD not to participate in a democratic process."... if in doubt, by all means, sign the petition, all it does is put the question before the voters, period. If after you sign you find some reason you believe D should stay in office, vote not to recall, and all you have done was allow the voice of democracy to be heard. If the D fans are so sure that he really is the great man that they revere, he will withstand a recall, if not, the people have spoken. NO ONE should fear the process if they are in the right, they just need to convince the voters why they should keep him in office. Attacking the petitioners and the recall process doesn't convince anyone D should be retained.

Whoever a media outlet endorses will always have an unfair advantage and whoever they are against will always be laid bare.... sooo... it is up to the voters to listen with an open mind and then do their own homework. Remember, politicians aren't always truthful, and the media is not unbiased.

0

sickofitall 6 years, 10 months ago

The Pilot is not held responsible for ANYTHING they print. They even have lawyers to do this for them. They can print what they want even if it is used against you. They will not be held liable for the implications of thier paper. There's backbone for you. The annoying part about this is they rarely VERIFY thier information. There is truth in the saying "You get what you pay for". This newspaper is nothing more than an AD book for local businesses, they do a good job at that. Perhaps that is why I always go straight to the classifieds!! This could had been handled better.

0

beagle 6 years, 10 months ago

You petition pushers have awfully thin skin now that you've got some criticism! Radio ads even! lol. Fair politics and the democratic process...no one would have a problem with a recall that was done in an upright way. Then it would be a simple matter of looking at the person's actions. You're trying to pull the wool over the fact that this recall is based on e-mails that were improperly (probably illegally) handed over to the media by people who didn't attempt to follow any democratic process at all, they tried to subvert it. If you've got a problem with someone, present it to the board, to the public, and give us the issues. Don't save up e-mails for two years and sneak them to the newspaper. And why should the anti-recall people have a contact system set up? They don't have anything for you to sign and don't need you to contact them. Read the Sun. letters to the editor if you want more reasons for their view.

0

another_local 6 years, 10 months ago

linus, the fear of reprisals is a very reasonable thing given the demostrated track record involved. It IS a good reason to sign. The individual in question is capable of and has a track record of this kind of behavior.

0

elphaba 6 years, 10 months ago

Thank you Pilot for printing this concise summary - Signing the petition is not voting for a recall. Interestingly, the major reason for people not signing is that they fear reprisals against them and their children. That should be reason enough to sign!!!!

0

Matthew Stoddard 6 years, 10 months ago

Elphaba- Bullcrap, plain and simple. People aren't signing it because they aren't convinced this is the route to go. If you can give me a list of people not signing for the reason you stated, let me know. As soon as someone tells me they aren't signing for a different reason I stated, I'll let you know. Anyone fearing reprisal at this point just plain deserves to have D stay if they stay impotent in the matter.

"Signing the petition is not voting for a recall." No, it's voting to put a recall in place on the ballot. That means it's the intent to recall. So people should sign that but not vote to actually recall? What the??!!??

Okay- show of hands from anyone on the SOSRE2 side:

How many of you signed or intend to sign the petition but will vote to NOT recall Dr. D?

Do I need the "Bueller..." line here?

0

Sunnydays 6 years, 10 months ago

I would like to know how elphaba's post got behind keilbasa's. I think the answer is: see post 4 above. It sounds as if the SOS folks are in need of saving themselves...

0

linus 6 years, 10 months ago

elphaba- Sorry but your whole comment is one of the dumbest things I've ever heard. "Reprisals against them and their children" - give me a break.

0

Sunnydays 6 years, 10 months ago

Dr. D had "run ins" with people who worked with him in the past and they became very close friends, time and time again. Knowing him, no one has fear of reprisal. If your speaking about the e-mails those were directed to one individual with similar views and amounted to nothing more than venting. Of course you can read whatever you want into them, but the bottom line is nothing came out of the e-mails other than the current "crisis" that some believe requires "Saving Our Schools." Even though they are improving in contradiction to what former board members believe.

0

Matthew Stoddard 6 years, 10 months ago

Yes, Sunnydays: I think someone's computer clock is still on Standard time. I wondered about that at first, too.

0

stillinsteamboat 6 years, 10 months ago

Let's air some of the embarrassing mistakes of past board members. Wouldn't that be fair? JUDGE NOT LEST YE BE JUDGED! No question, John is always there for the kids!!!!!!!

0

Sunspot 6 years, 10 months ago

We have heard this before. Those evil Dr. D supporters are out to get me! They are so scary! The Dr. D supporters are a bunch of parents of kids in the district who own business and are also rotary members along with the rest of the recall group. It just goes to show you how low this bunch of recall sissies will go. Make up a bunch of stuff about your enemy making threats and circulate the rumor. Oh look at those bad people they threatened me! If anyone made any kind of a real threat to anyone, that matter should be taken to the law enforcement officials. Pandering to the sympathy vote. Bunch of B.S. How low can they go?

0

SteamboatJoe 6 years, 10 months ago

I love how the issue at hand gets ignored by "fair politics" folks.

Ask a recall petition carrier how they have been treated by the "fair" ones, it is quite interesting.

If D was voted in at 70%, then let me people speak in Novemember if it gets that far.

0

beagle 6 years, 10 months ago

Sunnydays has it right. I also know Dr. D and it's silly to fear reprisal from him or the anti-recall people. The SOS group, on the other hand...if you look at what Gleason, Stephensen, Gill, etc. did you might worry!

0

ElBorracho 6 years, 10 months ago

"It's silly to fear reprisal from him" ?!??!!? How can you read those e-mails and think this guy isn't all about reprisals? So, you must think he was giving a stranger a bunch of suggestions on how to undermine Simms because he likes to practice random acts of kindness toward teachers?

0

Matthew Stoddard 6 years, 10 months ago

ElBorracho- D's emails have been exposed. That takes power away from any reprisal in any instance.

0

Sunnydays 6 years, 10 months ago

No I think he was venting to a person that was treated the same way he was by Dr. Simms.

0

gwendolyn 6 years, 10 months ago

Fear of reprisals? Yes, there are vindictive individuals working for the Steamboat Springs School District and my own child was a victim when I spoke out against inappropriate behavior. I'm not afraid anymore, though. My child and I no longer live in Steamboat Springs.

gwen

p.s. The lawsuit against the school district, however, is NOT going to be dropped.

0

jeannie berger 6 years, 10 months ago

I heard about a teacher being verbally attacked by Mrs. D because she was carrying a SOS petition. Doesn't that constitute reprisal?

0

Matthew Stoddard 6 years, 10 months ago

Dream- Which teacher? Eyewitnesses? So far, it only constitutes a rumor. People keep getting yelled at on this site by SOS people and vice versa. Nobody's been fired out of reprisal yet, and nobody's died either.

0

jeannie berger 6 years, 10 months ago

So someone has to die in order to get your attention. I know the name of the teacher but hesitate to post it without speaking to her first.

0

Matthew Stoddard 6 years, 10 months ago

No, nobody has to die, but that's the general "glow" I get from people supporting th SOS side. Dr. D is the new Saddam and Gleason is Mother Teresa. Personally, I think they are both pretty equal in the habits they've shown everyone recently. Both hid something, and both haven't come completely clean with their fans or detractors yet.

0

jeannie berger 6 years, 10 months ago

Have you talked to either "side" or is your info from the paper and these posts? The posts on both "sides" do get a little out of hand. Most of the time I read them just for the entertainment factor.

0

beagle 6 years, 10 months ago

dream - if someone you work with came in with a petition to recall your husband (or wife), wouldn't you say something to them? I would. Any self-respecting spouse would! If that did happen, you can hardly blame her and I wouldn't call it "reprisal."

0

Matthew Stoddard 6 years, 10 months ago

dream- No, mostly, it's from reading here. Most of my friends have whatever opinions they have. It doesn't come up. I do agree with beagle, though. It might have been a complete mistake on the petitioner's part, who may not have known who she was. I know I wouldn't recognize her.

0

Matthew Stoddard 6 years, 10 months ago

To clarify, I agreed with beagle's statement. The rest was my own thoughts.

0

Sunspot 6 years, 10 months ago

The game has changed yet again. It is no longer about Dr. D. It is now all about the recall group saving face. This all started out to save Howell's job. Then it turned into trash Dr. D. Now that the old guard is worried about getting their signers, it's all about saving their own reputations. Egos run big and deep in this bunch. They changed their name from save our schools to something else. They even have talking points. Now twenty of them came out in the newspaper. Many of these people no longer live here or no longer have kids in school. They are mostly former board members and former this or that's. Their basic theme appears to be that any boards that come after them must do it their way or else they will do another smear job and recall.

So when they get through saving their reputations, they need to realize that they had their chance to run things the way they wanted to. Now it is time to back off and let the new board have the same opportunity that they did.

0

jeannie berger 6 years, 10 months ago

beagle, defending a spouse is a good thing. The incident I speak of was more than just questioning or commenting to the petition holder. Loyalty can be misplaced and what is that old addage about love being blind...... Kielbasa, Dr. D's spouse is well known to the teachers in the rest of the school district and the petition holder (another teacher) and her have worked at the same schools. They have both been in the district for many years.

0

SteamboatJoe 6 years, 10 months ago

I am confused about who needs to save face. I believe John should be extremely emabarrassed and in need of saving face with people knowing the things he wrote and admitted being unethical. His lack of humility is a huge indicator he will continue to be what he has always been.

Recall people are exercising a right to let the people decide if John gets to continue to serve. If they succeed, will you realize the community has spoken or will it only be if the recall fails?

The old board excuse doesn't hide the fact that many in the community are tired of John and his antics.

The new board needs a chance I agree, they just need it without the John distraction.

0

Matthew Stoddard 6 years, 10 months ago

Then that was foolish on the wife's part; agreed. I understand she'd be pissed, but she should have just kept walking.

0

titsikama 6 years, 10 months ago

Just patiently waiting for an answer to the big question. If SOS (which was formed, according to Mr. Gleasons own words prior to the e-mail release) really cared about our schools and our community wouldn't you first attempt to fix the problem internally? You wouldn't fire an employee by posting his affair on your office bullentin board. The first step should have been to speak with John, share your concerns and the e-mails with him and look for resolution. The second step should have been to share the e-mails and your concerns with the current Board. The 3rd step should have been to voice your concerns publically about John actions on the school board. Instead you go straight to paper with a sympathetic editor and create a whole mess. So how can anyone believe that you really had the "best interests of the school in mind". This was a 'smear campaign' to the greatest extent and not appropriate for our community regardless of you feel about John. So yes, if you sign the recall you support dirty politics and having to pay for ads to get our message out is as democratic as it comes. And enough with this scary resprisal stuff. I don't recall seeing private information in the paper that might ruin your names and reputations (and this isn't a threat, just wondering what you are so fearful of ). And just because someone does not sign the recall petition, doesn't necessarily make them a Dr. D fan, but rather a person who is inclined to think for themselves and believes in civility and appropriate public process. Something SOS is apparently able to overlook to acheive their goals, yet they want to recall someone else for doing the same thing.

0

Requires free registration

Posting comments requires a free account and verification.