Board passes resolution on investigation

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Resolution

The resolution passed Thursday by the Steamboat Springs School Board:

"Whereas you are in unique possession of material facts; Whereas your refusal to cooperate is causing the school district unnecessary delay and expense in its independent investigation; Whereas your refusal to cooperate is causing the school district public harm and keeping the board of education from important duties; the Board of Education requests that Mr. Pat Gleason, Mrs. Paula Stephenson and other former School Board members voluntarily come forward and answer questions as to their knowledge and involvement with the unauthorized disclosure of e-mails and violation of school district policy."

— The Steamboat Springs School Board wants its internal e-mail investigation finished, and it took steps Thursday to try and make that happen.

Board member Jeff Troeger issued a resolution during Thursday's study session requesting former School Board members voluntarily come forward and answer questions from attorney Earl Rhodes about how e-mails sent by former Strawberry Park Elementary School Principal John DeVincentis, who is now a School Board member, to a teacher in Mercer Island, Wash., were obtained and then given to the Pilot & Today.

"It's taking longer than I think we all hoped it would," Troeger said about the investigation. "We have an amazing school district. We want to focus on where our students are going. These are the things we have been elected to look at. Unfortunately to me:our energies are being misused. :To the extent people who know something can help us get this issue resolved quickly, please help us."

Troeger and School Board President Denise Connelly voted in favor of the resolution. DeVincentis and board member Jerry Kozatch abstained from voting.

Former board president Paula Stephenson and former board member Pat Gleason were named specifically in the resolution.

Gleason has admitted giving copies of the e-mails to the Pilot & Today. Gleason also said he had access to the e-mails DeVincentis sent during 2004-05 because Gleason was a board member at the time he obtained the e-mails but has since resigned.

He also has said he doesn't plan to cooperate with the investigation.

"I had access to those records by statute and also, in case (the board wanted) to know, Superintendent (Donna) Howell nor any current staff member had any involvement," Gleason said earlier this week.

When reached at home Thursday night, Stephenson said she had no further comment other than what she said earlier this week: "I'm a private citizen and have been for two years. I don't see why I need to come in and help with an investigation going on right now. While I was on the board, I don't feel the superintendent or board did anything illegal or unethical."

Former board members Tom Miller-Freutel and Tami Havener also confirmed this week that they've been contacted but did not plan to speak with Rhodes.

Connelly said Thursday that the point of the investigation is to gather information into what is needed to protect students and district employees in the future.

"We are looking at our polices to see if we have adequate policies to protect our information and to see if any of those policies have been broken," Connelly said. "It is important for us to have policies protecting our students and employees and that we are protected from civil and criminal liability as a district."

Connelly said key people in the district and the community have been interviewed but a few other interviews are planned, which should take place in the next couple of weeks.

Comments

wissbecklarry 6 years, 11 months ago

Them as can, do. Them as can't, teach. Them as can't teach, administrate. Them as can't administrate, pass resolutions.

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JQPUBLIC 6 years, 11 months ago

Tell the investigator where to go and the board what they can do with their resolution! Connelly said "We are looking at our polices to see if we have adequate policies to protect our information and to see if any of those policies have been broken,"... Can't you review your policies without involving past board members? What you are actually doing is looking for a way to hang Gleason, not review your policies. Connelly is the one that said it was time to move on so... quit spending tax money to prove what you already know (Gleason gave up the emails), read your policies to see if they are adequate to "protect students and district employees in the future" (which does not include elected officials) and move on! What a piece of work this school board is.

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reallocal 6 years, 11 months ago

No, JQ, don't forget, they also need to find a way to get rid of Howell without having to buy out her contract and discredit anyone demanding a recall in the hopes that it will all blow over. They have much more motivation than just hanging Gleason out to dry...My hat's off to Kozatch for refraining to vote on this farce.

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steamboatsconscience 6 years, 11 months ago

Whats good for the goose............. How about this, lets go through all the e mails of all board members (past and present) for the last 5 years and see if Gleason, Stephenson, Freutel, et al. are as pure as the driven snow. If they know nothing then why not speak to the lawyer? It would resolve the issue, wouldn't it? Or would it? I was also disappointed with this comment at last nights meeting "We want to try to keep the excitement up, keep the momentum going......" Typical lynch mob mentality, guess Steamboat hasn't strayed too far from its Wild West image. All you self righteous judges better sleep lightly, you may be next.

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Hammurabi 6 years, 11 months ago

Can you propose and pass (only 2 votes, both in favor) a resolution at a study session without advertising and not at a regularly scheduled meeting? Is abstaining the same as stepping down?

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reallocal 6 years, 11 months ago

Gleason has issued Rhodes a written statement. Gleason has issued the paper a public statement. What if that's all he really knows? What if there isn't a huge underground lynch mob conspiracy to remove DeVincentis and, instead, he just isn't fit to serve on the BOE?

Were you at the meeting? Do you know the context that statement? Yes, it is exciting when a democratic process is finally holding someone responsible for their actions who should have been held accountable long ago. It's called democracy and, far from messy and inefficient, it's exciting that we live somewhere that the people paying the taxes actually have some say in who represents them and makes decisions on their behalf. Very exciting.

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reallocal 6 years, 11 months ago

Hammurabi-another interesting question may be why they scheduled a meeting the same night as the recall informational meeting after the SOSRE2 group had already announced theirs?

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steamboatsconscience 6 years, 11 months ago

If you cant stand the heat.... They all should be held accountable. If there are no skeletons in their closets then they should talk to the lawyer and have their records made public, or at least scrutinized. Thats REAL democroay, not SELECTIVE democracy, AKA YOUR agenda.

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reallocal 6 years, 11 months ago

I never said anyone had anything to hide, but if you really have a social conscience, as your name implies, you take initiative to change things. One way to do this is passive resistance. If these members of the community do not agree with the email investigation and have made statements regarding the extent of their knowledge in public, their refusal to cooperate is nothing more than passive resistence. The reason stated for the investigation is to protect private information from becoming public. If the board is trying to look at how to improve future policy, they need to be looking at the current policies and how they want to change them, not looking for the one person they can sacrifice to DeVincentis' ego. I'm not quite clear here, either, do you think that all of these past members' emails were sent with the same expectations of privacy as DeVincentis' (that is to say, none)? An investigation that demands the investigation of private email accounts, private computers, and, presumably, private records of any other media is in direct violation of the very civil rights that the board is willing to protect when it comes to underage drinking at school events. Explain that agenda to me. Besides which, I'm pretty sure those emails would be pretty boring in comparison. You'd be disappointed.

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steamboatsconscience 6 years, 11 months ago

So now everyone on the school board has changed their name to Gandhi ? LOL! These people are not only "members of the community" they are INSIDERS, thats why they are being asked to cooperate. If they were careful to not use public computers to e mail than they are smarter than JD. If they didnt than they should be held to the same standards they applied to JD. Pleading the Fifth Amendment is a constitutional right. But it always makes the jury go hmmmmm...............

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reallocal 6 years, 11 months ago

Here's my question for you, steamboatsconscience. What purpose does sacrificing an employee serve to revisit the policy on open records? If what the board is trying to do is change the policy to prevent future situations like this (questionable enough of an action in and of itself), what purpose does this investigation serve? Do they need a lawyer to find the policy they revised in 2005, read it, and fill in loopholes? Or do you think maybe there's something else going on here?

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JQPUBLIC 6 years, 11 months ago

Let's don't waste effort, time, and money going through everyones emails.... some of you seem to think they all wrote unacceptable emails somewhere in their past so let's just consider them all guilty and clean house, start all over... Problem solved at much less cost than what this board is spending.

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steamboatsconscience 6 years, 11 months ago

reallocal Is what SueSmith say true? If it is, then you just lost all credibility, and would explain your AGENDA. The pen is mightier than the sword. And it will cut you down just as swiftly

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reallocal 6 years, 11 months ago

But I have to say, Sue, thanks for joining the discussion today. And even more, thanks for trying to pin someone's opinions that you don't agree with on a high school kid. Classy.

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elkwatch 6 years, 11 months ago

Holy moley, now it all makes sense. All those comments fit.

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sarakg 6 years, 11 months ago

Suesmith,

I am apalled at your behavior. You have publicly accused an innocent person of persuing a course of action that could put her at risk of retaliation and retribution. Worse, you have targeted a dedicated, hardworking, talented and honest high school student. It takes a real coward to annonymously accuse and place a high school student in harms' way without any evidence. I really hope for all of our sake that this is a one-time lapse in judgement, and not a normal mode of operation for you. You owe this person a HUGE apology.

Sara Gleason

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jeannie berger 6 years, 11 months ago

Suesmith, where do you get your information? If you don't agree with reallocal then say so. Pointing the finger at a high school kid is a lame move.

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Scott Stanford 6 years, 11 months ago

All:

Suesmith was wrong in her identification of Reallocal. Erin Gleason is a senior at Steamboat Springs High School. She is conducting a for-credit but unpaid internship at the Pilot & Today. The internship was arranged by Erin last summer.

During her internship, she has written several byline stories and led our Teen Style efforts. A search of her name on our Web site will show the work she has done. But to be sure, she has had no involvement whatsoever in the stories about her father or the School Board, not even in passing.

If you have questions about our intern program, please call or e-mail me.

Scott Stanford Editor, Steamboat Pilot & Today editor@steamboatpilot.com (970) 871-4221

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another_local 6 years, 11 months ago

Reallocal hits the nail right on the head when he states that this investigation witch hunt is an effort to oust Donna Howell. Might that have something to do with why the board under Dr.D influence and with the suport of other Howell detractors (Jeff T chief among them) selected an attorney who has long time links to DrD to pursue this investigation rather than ANY of the serveral (4?) that were suggested by the state board?

It certainly is a relief that nearly all the board is up for election later this year. It will save the effort of several more recalls.

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elkwatch 6 years, 11 months ago

Reallocal is a she not a he, she said so. She seems to have morphed into another local to take up right where she left off! How would you be privvy to such alleged information about this lawyer? Are you related to someone who is very involved? I'm sorry for you but this is all becoming painfully obvious.

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another_local 6 years, 11 months ago

I've been posting on this board since long before this issue came up. I am not reallocal.

I have to admit that the info on the lawyer is something I heard. But it was a reliable source. I guess we will wait and see.

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another_local 6 years, 11 months ago

If you will click on our profiles you will find what you need to verify that. I just happen to agree with much of what "real" has to say.

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reallocal 6 years, 11 months ago

"Disenfranchisement and shutting up the competition, another lasting tradition of excellence, brought to you by DeVincentis' sheep."

I am not also another_local. Sorry to dissappoint you, elk, but there are actually some other people that have the same ideas and viewpoints I do.

I just want to tell you all that I spent a great deal of my shift last night thinking. I was thinking about right and wrong, the reasons that people do the things that they do, and what's really important. I regret that my postings have been pinned on an innocent kid, and have put her in the position of being a victim possible backlash. I cannot allow myself to continue to place anyone in this position at the hands of an unethical and amoral minority who see nothing wrong with retaliation against someone's family for their political involvement and views. I'm beginning to see a theme here. Before I stop posting (and no, I won't be posting under another name), I have a few parting thoughts. 1. If what I was posting and asking really was illogical, biased and so far off the mark, why the great effort put forward to discredit and expose me? Who was I threatening that someone would stoop to such a low level in order to shut me up? 2. Would it really make a difference if I were related to Gleason, Stephenson, Gill, Miller-Freutel, Swiggart, or any other committee member leading the recall effort? Does it make those very same questions that someone percieved as so threatening that they had to point the finger at a high school kid less relevant? After all, isn't that what DeVincentis' supporters continually argue, that he's being persecuted for "questioning" the way things work? Or is it only relevant if you are asking the condoned people the approved questions to further the proper agenda? 3. Should we assume that any of these people feel the same, look at the world the same, or take the same side on every issue because they share genes or a last name, or should we allow that every individual has the right to reason, research, analyze, and ultimately, decide for themselves (or not)? Isn't that what our country is founded on, the ability of the individual to express (or not) their views in whatever way they see fit?

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reallocal 6 years, 11 months ago

  1. Who does silencing the opposition really hurt? When a multitude of ideas, thoughts, expression, and points of view come together for a discussion pertaining to issues we are all facing, aren't we better off for having all of those pieces so that we can select those that will best serve the community, rather than silencing anyone who does not agree with us? Aren't those questions and arguments what allow us to form well-thought, logical and strong opinions to begin with?

In closing, I apologize deeply to the Gleason family. My postings have been in the hopes of facilitating further discussion, asking those "hard questions" (evidently only ok if you're on the BOE, to you-know-where with the rest of the community), and persuading people to revisit their own conceptions of government and education. They were never intended to place any person in a position where they could be retaliated against, shamed, or made uncomfortable in the community. You all have my deepest regrets that this happened. I leave it to another, dream, JQ, bornandraised, Hammurabi, Magpie, Matt, and anyone else logical that I missed to ask those important questions and to continue to encourage people to examine why what's happening in this community is happening. I can only hope that anyone who disagrees with DeVincentis' vendetta is not placed in the position of deciding between their own right to express themselves and the well-being of someone else.

Sincerely, real

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Matthew Stoddard 6 years, 11 months ago

Reallocal- You have nothing to apologize about. We all get passionate when we speak. You bring up great points, and I personally appreciate it. This goes to my point about looking at both sides, though. Passion is great unless it clouds your eyes to looking at both sides. We're all guilty of it, so I don't exclude myself from what I say.

You were not the cause of someone else accusing you of being Ering Gleason; that's on the other person trying to out you. This, though, is why I hate anonymity: people spend to much time (whether they say it in print or not) trying to guess if they know who you are. Nobody's fault until someone starts trying to guess, and guesses wrong.

In closing, I thank you for the great discussions and hope you will keep posting despite what you say.

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titsikama 6 years, 11 months ago

reallocal, This is my first post and probably my last, but I have been reading many blogs. Here is how I see it. I too questioned if you were related to Mr. Gleason and/ or worked for the paper. You seemed to have knowledge of so many things that were niether written in the newspaper or anywhere else and seemed to insight to every motivation of Mr. Gleason. But you are right in that ultimately it shoudn't matter.

But, I am glad you have given up the pen in this matter. Not because you ask probing questions or want to have the opportunity to state your opinion, but because you have turned this blog into your personal place to spew your obvious hatred. The very first sentence you write in your parting letter confirms this. You had to get one last dig into Dr. D or anyone that has any support for him. That comment was disgusting (I wish I knew who you were quoting or that just how you want to be remembered?). You contridict everything you say below with this one statement and it was offensive. You have such low opinion of anyone that supports him (or just doesn't like what has taken place) that you would presume that someone would retaliate against a high-school kid. You say someone shouldn't be shamed in this community, but you felt the need to say horrible things of Dr. D's wife in this forum.

You asked some good questions reallocal, but you should have stuck to that. JQpublic, another_local, Hammurabi and the others manage to ask their probing questions and state their opinions without the insults and derogatory remarks (which you state in a public forum), so if the goal was to shut down the opposition and other opinions you would probably see attempts to shut them down as well.

Your list of insults reallocal is lengthy, disgusting and not apprioate or relevant to discussions at hand. I encourage you to go back and read all of your comments. Others tried to get you take them out of the conversations and focus on the issues but you wouldn't have it. Instead you insulted them.

You can try and play the martyr if you want, but I am not buying it. All the public blogs should be for purposes of discussion, not a place to release your hatred. I hope you learned something from this experience.

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gwendolyn 6 years, 11 months ago

Well, the D supporters certainly have a way with a blind eye. Or, two.

This isn't the town I thought it was when I moved here. Not even close. Peyton Place is more like it...

Moral bankruptcy. D is only one element of it. The rest resides squarely with his supporters.

I had no idea I'd need so many shovels to help the local townfolk bury so much phony self-righteous b.s. so we could all sit together at the dinner table and smile at one another as though nothing had ever occurred. No nasty board members, just kiss-kiss-hug-hug it's all better now. He apologized, grab a shovel and start burying your heads a little deeper. Afterall, tomorrow's a bright new day and we need to make sure all the thinking cavities are filled in with sand.

What a load of crap.

This town is filled with gila monsters and pygmy rattlesnakes posing as cute little bunny rabbits. And I'm not writing about the wildlife, either.

I've rather lost interest in placing my child in a school district where the locals actually think it's okay to have a board member who, by his own admission, behaved so abhorrently towards the previous school superintendant. Joking about wife beating? What a hoot!

Ooooh look! Shiny copper penny! What was I writing about? Can't remember now....time to move on and simply 'be happy'...

Oh, what a gilded valley we see, When at first we practice to believe The superficial sweetness of life in this game Is really nothing more than the bitter aftertaste of aspertame...

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mom 6 years, 11 months ago

I agree with titsikama. And it's even sicker when people spew their hatred through pathetic attempts of poetry.
Oooooh look! Smelly barf!

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dundalk 6 years, 11 months ago

sounds as though this could be referred to as "Devincegate".

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gwendolyn 6 years, 11 months ago

gila monsters

pygmy rattlesnakes

writing about "hate" postings...look in the mirror and shake a rattle or two while you're at it...

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gwendolyn 6 years, 11 months ago

I'm the one fed up with the poisonous den of b.s. in this gilded valley.

Moving at the end of the month.

WooHoo! Can hardly wait.

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