To the Editor:
The December 3rd Board of Education meeting proved to be somewhat enlightening to me as what politics has become here in Monroe.
During discussion of the nominations as to who would be the new Vice Chair for the Board, two members of the Board were nominated, Donna Lane, a Republican and Lee Crouch, a Democrat. As an elected minority member of the Town Council, I would like to reinforce the comments of Board member Plunkett by saying it is frustrating when one has passion not only for the workings of government but most importantly for serving the constituents of the Town and doing the best for the Town of Monroe. I share in Board member Plunkett's aggravation to be constantly left out of the loop on the most pressing issues in our Town.
Board member Antinozzi stated that the Board of Education is an apolitical board. This, to an extent, might be true — even though these comments were followed by three 6-3 party line votes.
However, one’s political affiliation does have a large, undeniable, and impenetrable effect on the working of the Board. According the Freedom of Information Commission of Connecticut, a caucus is a meeting of members of a public agency from the same political party. The caucus, as was also discussed at the BOE meeting, is a political meeting. One’s ticket into a particular caucus is the letter at the end of his or her name whether it be D or R. Caucuses or informal discussion, on most of the elected boards, produce much of the policy that is adopted during the public portions of these meetings — just as the three Democrats on the Board of Education were not aware that Ms. Lane would be the Republican nominee for Vice Chair until a couple hours before the meeting.
Of course there will be ideological differences between members of parties. But we need to start communicating with each other and working out these differences. Let’s focus on Monroe and not on politics. To that end I would hope that after the municipal election next year — or the next time an elected board has an organization meeting, whichever is sooner — we can have bipartisan leadership on every elected board.
On the Town Council and Board of Finance, a Chairman of the majority party and a Vice Chairman of the minority party and on the Planning & Zoning Commission and Board of Education, at least one member of leadership from the minority party.
Every year the voters speak through the ballot box. They speak through their votes to elect leaders of their community. Leaders that will not blind themselves to only Republican or Democratic ideals and beliefs, but leaders who will lead, make the tough decisions and get the job done. It is my sincerest hope that we — volunteers who make our local government and politics work — do not let them down.
Monroe Democratic Town Committee, Chairman