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LETTER: School Board Member Expresses Disappointment With Graduation Suit Settlement

Kevin Fealy was one of three board members to oppose settling a two-year-old lawsuit.

The previous Enfield Board of Education voted to sue the ACLU, over the use of a religious building in which we could rent to hold graduations.

Unfortunately, our insurance carrier has negotiated a settlement (using a clause in our contract - that the BOE didn't endorse) to pay the ACLU a substantial amount of money and would restrict Enfield in future choices of graduation sites.

The Democrat majority would prefer to adopt this insurance settlement rather than continue to pursue this lawsuit. Our attorney recommend we should continue, as it is becoming clear that we have a strong case, and our attorney is confident we will be the victors on this issue. We must keep in mind; our taking on this issue will become precedent setting for all future towns.

When I ran for office, it was because I felt as a citizen we are put in these positions to be the voice of the people. This evening the public was given the opportunity to speak and discuss in an open forum their thoughts on how the Enfield Board of Education should proceed.

The Republican minority had to insist with intensity to get this special meeting before the community because our current Chairman, Tim Neville was clearly trying to stifle public input and participation. He along with Vice Chairman Grady tried to keep this from the Enfield residents and let the decision be made "behind closed doors."

The public has the right to participate in issues and be privy to what elected officials are doing by seeing discussions and debates in the open with all the facts clearly stated. This settlement offer has not been vetted in public and I believed it is vital Enfield residents at least hear the options and have a voice in deciding what our next course of action might entail.

Public sentiments lead to this court case, and I believe the public is who we answer to and a decision to settle or continue should be directed to the Board of Education by the same people who put us in office - the Enfield residents. Unfortunately Chairman Neville's and the Democratic majority disagree.

Kevin P. Fealy, Jr.
Enfield

The writer is a member of the Enfield Board of Education. 

Marty Salvatore July 24, 2012 at 01:19 PM
Are you punking me, here? I feel I'm being punked... No one is saying they can't use another BUILDING! Just not one that is ALSO a place of worship. There are PLENTY of facilities out there that would be appropriate. The argument has NOTHING to do with funding or an irrational fear of the outdoors. It has to do with forcing people to enter a RELIGIOUS place of worship in order to watch their child graduate from a PUBLIC high school. You made the argument that "a building is a building" but YOUR OWN FAITH tells you that a church is NOT just another building. I didn't take anything you said out of context.
Spiff July 24, 2012 at 01:27 PM
Mr. Fealy is absolutely 100% correct that the public has the right to participate in town issues and be privy to what elected officials are doing!
Joe Saxton July 24, 2012 at 04:40 PM
There are situations for executive session. Maybe the guidelines for this procedure should be tightened. The public has a right to know what's being discussed is sensitive. Litigation is often sensitive enough for this procedure as this case was.
Marty Salvatore July 24, 2012 at 06:28 PM
I totally agree with that sentiment. However, it is hard to see this letter as anything other than ANOTHER attention-mongering move by a cynical political hack. This guy is the Michelle Bachmann of Enfield politics.
Susan September 27, 2012 at 10:23 AM
When you start a battle you ar going to lose it is better to cut your losses. This was one that we were NEVER going to win! I think it was a personal agenda and I think the Republican town commitee should be asked to help pay!

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