Broken Promises

Nov 27, 2019

Dear LBI Board of Education:

I live in Harvey Cedars and I’m in the sixth grade class here in the LBI District. I want to start by telling you that I’m a Boy Scout with Barnegat Troop 66 and I live by the Scout Oath and Scout Law … and I think you should, too.

The Scout Oath goes like this: “On my honor I will do my best to do my duty to God and my country and to obey the Scout Law; to help other people at all times; to keep myself physically strong, mentally awake and morally straight.” The Scout Law goes like this: “A Scout is trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind, obedient, cheerful, thrifty, brave, clean, and reverent.” What I think is important here is that trustworthy is first.

I’ve been to a bunch of your meetings, both board meetings and town hall meetings, and I don’t think things are going well here on the school board. You guys argue … a lot. And a lot of times you don’t treat each other with respect. My mom and I have had a lot of opportunities to talk about what happens at these meetings after each one, and I’ve talked to some other adults, too.

I learned the word ethics by talking about the meetings with grown-ups. My mom encouraged me to look it up on the internet, and with Google’s help I found ethics called a “code” that were specially designed for boards of education. She said they’re the very same ethics that are in your Jan. 2 meeting notes. That was the meeting where each of you board members swore to do a good job, and to be honest, fair and to be ethical.

Mr. Fenimore, I’m addressing this letter to you because that’s what you require. You don’t let anyone at meetings talk to anyone else on the board, only to you. That’s a lot of responsibility. Well, sir, you seem to be having special trouble with two things on the ethics list:

The first one is letter “C” on your Jan. 2 list:  “I will help to frame policies and plans only after the board has consulted those who will be affected by them.”

Sir, I don’t think you spend much time talking or listening to the people in the audience (or anyone else for that matter) before you make decisions that will affect them.

The second one is “E” on your Jan. 2 list: “I will recognize that authority rests with the board of education and will make no personal promises nor take any private action that may compromise the board.”

Mr. Fenimore, in the November board meeting you openly told us that you took private action without talking to the other people on the board when you got that $3 million offer to sell the E.J. School and even negotiated staying in the building while the LBI renovations were still going on. Well, that’s all not OK.

With all the news stories on TV about the president of the United States, I started to wonder, “What do you do when the president of a board of education isn’t keeping the promises he made?” From everything I’ve read, it looks like impeachment is reserved for guys who are more important than you.  But since you’re not keeping the promises you made, and you’re not sticking to the ethics you promised to stick to, what should the public do next? You can respond to me through the LBI School secretary. I’d really like to know.

Warren Ries

Harvey Cedars


Comments (1)
Posted by: Mark B Vizer | Nov 28, 2019 22:38

Nicely put, Mr. Ries.


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