Thursday, April 24, 2008

Freak show, part II

If the previous board meeting made you cringe, then last night's event will make you cry. Despite an admirable attempt by a joint coalition of parents and seniors calling for calm, the meeting was marred by political hacks in the audience who were part of a well-orchestrated attack. They even bussed in some teamsters for the occasion. And their assault wasn't just aimed at me (as expected) as there was even an over-the-top personal attack on the superintendent.

The good news is that the board behaved itself and worked through the agenda without much discord.

I'll have more thoughts about last night's meeting in a couple days. In the meantime, here's a link to the Courier Times summary. Please make a point of watching the TV taping, which hopefully should be updated in time for tonight's 6pm broadcast. I'm sure you'll have lots to say about it.

40 comments:

disgusted said...

Unfortunately, I was unable to make last night's meeting due to a family emergency. So the parents and seniors tried to stand up with a united front and basically got told by a certain loud-mouthed retired teacher that they are full of it (because he needs the board right now in his corner and only likes them when they are). Sorry I’ll miss the replay since FIOS hasn’t gotten their act together and we still DON’T have the channel. Verizon could care less as well as a certain Neshaminy business administrator (not Kadri). I'm sick of all of it. I used to go to all the board meetings and slowly drifted away when I saw the political nonsense going on behind the scenes and this year put an exclamation point on why I don't go anymore. They don’t care what the public thinks only the retired teacher. Does this board forget that there are students depending on them to make good decisions and the taxpayers deserve better? I believe they've taken their eye off the ball and should be thrown out of the game!

really, really disgusted said...

Once again the retired teacher does whatever he can to ruin a meeting. So now that the Republicans stormed the meeting, I guess we can assume the Democrats will retaliate at the next meeting? This latest mess started because of the alleged rewarding of a job to the retired teacher's family member. If the retired teacher cared so much about this district as he says, then he should go and join the retired superintendent in another state.

Anonymous said...

Ok I was there at the meeting, Yes the the retired teacher needs to be stopped at this point there was no need to learn his CV.

Also to the people who are so afaird of closing Neshaminy, Poquessing and Sandburg are wonderful schools. WE are real life people just as much as Neshaminy Middle.
Maybe were are more working class then the Maple Point, but we pay our bills as well.
Also Poquessing just got the 5 million dollars into it 2 years ago and we look so much better.
The staff at Poquessing really love there jobs and are great with the kids.

No child will be scared for life because they had to go to Poquessing or Sandburg.
If the parents make a big deal over the kids will make a big deal over it.
When they get to high school it is a whole new ballpark, so I suggest if you don;t like the schools you that your child will be sent too, then send them to a private school, so sorry I proud to say my kids went to Poquessing and LOVED it.

Theresa Albright said...

Being a member of the audience who attended this meeting last night I was completely appalled by the display that played out and Mr. Eccles should be equally appalled that his "supporters" came out only as a show of force and intimidation, and did not represent the best interest of our community. Last night I was enlightened to the true ugliness of politics and if we continue to sit back and do nothing, we deserve what we get. The children of Neshaminy deserve better and I hope it's out there for them.

Anonymous said...

Seems like we need to bring in a middle school peer mediation group - the children are better at acting civil and working out problems than the adults are. The work the board does should be for the good of education, not their own personal political agenda.

It truly is a disgrace and completely underminds showing students who attend the board meetings how adults respect each other.

Anonymous said...

Couldn't agree you more, the kids deserve better and they will get better as this will end. It simply has to end. The letter posted on this blog hits the nail on the head talking about issues. Continue to force the board to deal with issues not each other. By forcing issues you take the personalities out of the mix which will refocus everyone on why they are there. Besides, it really cant get any more ugly than it is now, I hope. Let's all hope that the back and forth meeting after meeting is over. Put the politics away.

P.S. Poquessing is a great place!

Stop the intimidation tactics said...

I can't attend the meetings due to my work schedule, and I'm really glad I wasn't there. My friend who was there last night said the union thugs were standing back there with arms folded and chanting loudly for the retired teacher (is that what we should refer to him as?). My friend said she is never going back to a meeting because she doesn't want to endure that kind of intimidation. Congratulations Mr. Retired Teacher - if things don't go your way, you bully, yell and intimidate those in your way. You must be very pleased with yourself.

Anonymous said...

As someone stated, one thing is for sure, none of this is in the best interest of the community.

Enough Already! said...

Linder is seriously mistaken if he thinks bringing out his boys will intimidate the parents of our school. We may not be able to attend every morning, we do have kids to put to bed, but rest assured, we vote and watch the rebroadcasts. As a grad of Neshaminy who endured Eisenhower, numerous redistricting, and Maple Point closing, we have much more to worry about than Linder and his family aspirations. Let him get his relative a job. They apparently couldn't do it on their own. Let's worry about the next 10 years in this school district. Linder won't be here that long, or will he?

Levittowner said...

All that needed to be done was to do what Mr. Webb said at the April 8th meeting: let's have an investigation.

They could have made that decision...given it to an impartial investigator and left it at that until a report came in. No more public comment about the issue until the report came in. Focus on the business at hand in our district.

They haven't done that.

They are letting the community tear itself apart.

My plan? Unless they address impartially the accustations made about Muenker and Eccles...in a professional and unbiased way..I plan on being VERY vocal at next election time and tell EVERYONE I meet to vote out whoever is up for re-election.

The board is supposed to be composed of our honest, unbiased neighborhood volunteers. They are there to be the "check" on the system . They are failing miserably.

The only people at this point I feel are doing their job are O'Connor and Spitz by bringing to the forefront issues that were not being addressed by the board and asking the issue to be addressed and not ignored by the board and administration.

I can only assume it is just a matter of time before Kadri leaves us and I feel our district has no hope at that point.

BTW..I am a registered Republican and live in Levittown. It's not about politics for me.

It is so disappointing. I thought with community voices we could get the board to work honorably.

Anonymous said...

It truly is a shame that it has come to these tactics and that people are actually being scared away. Never thought it could get this bad in Neshaminy which used to be a great district. Now more than ever we need some leadership.

Anonymous said...

To the person who said Poquessing is a great place, shhh! That's our special little secret!!!!!!!

Let everyone who wants to run on off to other schools go on their merry little way and we'll keep our special little school a small and great place to learn and grow for those who really want to be there!!!!!!!!!

And to those who are interested in finding out about our special little secret, we welcome you with open arms and together we can only get better!

st319 said...

I want to address some of the points that have been posted.

1. To Theresa Albright...I was at the meeting and witnessed the outrageous behavior by Lindner and his posse. My mother always told be that you are judged by the company you keep. I guess we know what kind of people Eccles and Lindner surround themselves with. It speaks volumes to the kind of people they are.

2. To Levittowner...It would be great to have an “impartial investigation.” I would bet that Eccles wouldn’t vote in favor of it. Webb is only trying to look good here. Both of them have bluffed in the past. I remember at the October meeting, Mr. Kadri stated that certain members of the board were interfering with the hiring process. At that time Eccles dared him to spill the beans. He was grinning from ear to ear. Jason Bowman jumped in and told Eccles that he didn’t want to do that. Seems Bowman knew something and wanted it hidden as well. Eccles repeatedly dares the people in authority to out him, feeling so arrogant that no one will. Sadly, there aren’t enough people on the board with the guts to demand this. The same 3 or 4 just sit there meeting after meeting and never say a word.

3. And to the person who commented that people are being scared away...Eccles and Lindner want to scare off anyone who doesn’t agree with them. Then they they can control the audience too. PLEASE DON’T BE SCARED AWAY! They have been getting away with this behavior for too many years. It’s time this community let them know that their reign of bullying is over!!!

DN said...

Now that we have our NNTV with FIOS I can make popcorn tonight and watch the show! I wanted to comment to all parents out there...Our family will be moving up to the high school next year and I am sad to be leaving Poquessing. We have so much more to accomplish but I know we accomplished so much in the 8 years my kids were there! It is a great secret, small class sizes and teachers who care about the whole student. What a concept! There are great parent leaders there and I know they are ready to welcome NMS into the 'flock', if that's what becomes of 2008-2009. I am an alumni of PMS (love that) and Neshaminy. To all you PMS parents -please make your voice heard at the board meetings or email our leaders. We need our board to focus on the issues at hand; tax increases, teacher/support staff contracts, building renovations and many many more pressing issues. I've said it so many times -When was the last time a board member was at your PTO/Home & School meeting or made contact with you as a leader in your school? The phone rings both ways and of course there is always email. I just feel that these folks are out of touch with our schools. I'll ask the 'older audience' do you attend any of the activities at our schools? I know at Poquessing, you are always welcome. It's a 'cheap' night out of entertainment. Come to a concert, musical, baseball game, field hockey game, football game, etc. Come see our students in action!! I can't believe I am going to say this but "It takes a village" to raise our students! When they see a packed audience they are so excited that people actually cared enough to take time out to see them!! I know that's what the PMS staff tells our music students! They get it! Now we just need our board to 'get it'.
Loved the idea of the Peer Mediation team helping them out. Priceless, just priceless!! LOL

FedUp said...

I have attended meeting for years and I must admit I was truly intimated by the teamsters Mr. Eccles and Mr. Linder brought in. If you attend live, you can observe how Mr. Eccles directs Mr. Linder in his speeches—when to start, when to stop…I’d be surprised if he didn’t help him compose the “Life and Times of Rick Eccles” speech.

Mr. Eccles must be stopped! It is a true possibility to have him removed as president- we need to become involved in a very vocal way.

The board is only three (maybe two) votes away from having Eccles removed as president. Contact your regional board member(s) and urge them to vote their conscience and ask Eccles to step down as president. His behavior is embarrassing---and regarding hiring practices, borderline criminal. It is up to us as parents to convince the board members to vote for morality and ethics. We have more power than you think. If the individuals in my area do not vote for the greater good of Neshaminy (i.e.- removing Eccles as president) I will do by best to make sure they will NOT win reelection.

Eccles and Muenker are working for each other – not for the good of Neshaminy.

Do you know that there are issues thought out the district that are not being addressed because of the constant public relations problems and in fighting? Do you know that Mr. Eccles does not even speak to 3 board members…..how do you decide on policy and improvements if the board is not communicating?

Please contact you regional school board representative and plead for them to do the right thing. Not the right thing for the Republican Party. Not the right thing for the Democratic Party. DO THE RIGHT THING FOR NESHAMINY!!! REMOVE ECCLES AS PRESIDENT!

Anonymous said...

If memory serves me correctly, I believe Bowman was actually one of the board members that specifically stated he would like to know who was interfering with the process when Kadri made that comment.

Anonymous said...

If you go back and look at the minutes from the Oct. 23rd meeting of 2007 on the Neshaminy site as I did, you will see that Mr. Kadri asked for a discussion in an executive session about the so called hiring influences and the personnel committee. Mr. Bowman asked the question of the lawyer if this was executive session material. He never stated not to talk about and it in fact by asking that question it seemed that he was actually suggesting to discuss is publicly to out the person / people involved.

I must be living in Jersey said...

I assume Eccles knew what Lindner was going to say. What was he thinking? That was the most awful display of ego and self importance I've ever seen. Lindner made a mockery of Neshaminy. If we're the laughing stock of the county, he's the punch line.

You're known by the company you keep, Mr. Eccles. Better get some new friends. And if you don't mind, please step down as President in the meantime. We don't need anymore behavior like we saw from Lindner.

Anonymous said...

The facts are that all of the problems have been going on for many years. It just seems to have gotten worse since the Eccles forced High School referendum. The board has thought up to point that they could get away with almost anything. If the referendum didn't go through we would have had a new school at a lower cost. Is this why the budget is 15 M over for next year to cover for some of the cost overruns that were hidden in the general fund (like having school employees do work on the refurb job instead of standard maintenance? If the building of a new school was started back then, the cost would be lower, NMS would be closed and the students moved .But we don't have that because of politics. To work at Neshaminy was and still is a privilege. Many families had and still have strong ties to the school. There is nothing wrong with individuals trying to get into the school system but when deceit and back room deals muddy the process then this is wrong. Just this year two very public personnel decisions were political nightmares. The AD hiring showed how a good system could be ruined. The second time is the hiring of Mr. Linder’s family member to a position. Why not come right out and expose the facts, and not show up with the teamsters and intimidate people. Why do political hacks think they can bring people into a community and threaten people? What is this the era of intimidation? Hopefully not in Neshaminy! Sorry Mr Kadri but you got in between the right thing to do and the political insider machine. Hopefully you will stay and the right thing for this board is to offer you an apology and a new contract.
(Editor’s note – this comment was edited for content)

TFR1984 said...

Just watched the rebroadcast on FiOS. All I can say is OMG! I'm new to this blog and haven't attended a board meeting before, but what a disgrace. The man whose family member benefitted from a political appointment has the nerve to go up and compliment the board president who put her there, then chastize the board member who spoke out against it. I also heard that this gentlemen from the crowd brought in a dozen teamsters who have never attended a board meeting before just to hoot and holler for him. Is his ego really that big that he must have an audience of cheering thugs? To make matters even worse I understand this person is a former Neshaminy educator. I guess that makes sense because he has given our children a valuable lesson in how NOT to behave. Class dismissed!

Thank you to Neshaminy for finally getting their programs on FiOS. Now I can see what I've been missing.

(Editor's Note - this comment was edited for content)

I must be living in Jersey said...

Welcome to Neshaminy, TFR1984. That's the way things have been for a long time. You can see what happens when someone like Mr. O'Connor challenges the political machine - they bring in their cronies and a few rent-a-thugs to meetings, then fling insults and make outrageous counter claims in an effort to deflect from the truth.

Anonymous said...

To those of you who are afraid to come back to the board meetings...It is my experience that when a person brings in large people to intimidate others they have 2 problems. 1. an over inflated sense of self worth and 2. they feel their power base is threatened. We have obviously struck a nerve here. We need to keep up the pressure!!!!! Please keep coming and speaking out and supporting what you believe in!

Anonymous said...

Incredible! And to think that our tax dollars are paying for these television broadcasts. Clearly, there should be limits to the tirade that people are permitted. At no time should the board president, or any sitting board member, allow personal attacks. We should encourage our children to view the school board process but not to witness such intolerable behavior.

uaw2177 said...

The union people who showed up have done a disservice to their brothers. When organized labor gets involved in politics, it is done through peaceful gatherings, phone banks, or at the voting booths. Intimidation tactics have no place in today's world. Staring down PTO women is disgraceful and insults us all.

neshaminy101 said...

First, why were Teamsters at a board meeting? To my knowledge, they don't represent either of the Neshaminy unions. Second, this constant bickering is an embarrassment to all. Finally the "retired Neshaminy educator" does not represent MY Neshaminy - his loud-mouthed, over-inflated ego were troublesome when I had the displeasure of working with him but he has gotten worse with age; it seemsthat some people never grow up!knn

Anonymous said...

The teamsters were there for the same reason the head of the local GOP committee was there along with his fellow hacks. They only come to meetings to support Lindner. It's not like they have kids in the district or care about their education. It's times like these that make me want to switch my party. Hopefully there won't be a democratic response at the next meeting or else Mr. O'Connor will have a new post on Freak Show 3.

Please - all politicians, future candidates and power mongers - stay away. You're not helping our children.

newbie said...

What a bizarre man this Lindner is. I can't say I've witnessed too many meetings but his reputation seems well earned. If this is the horse you've hitched your wagon up to Mr. Eccles, it really is time for you resign from your office.

This is a nice website. Thank you for maintaining it.

FedUp said...

This is a wonderful forum for all of us to come together as concerned parents/community members.

Let’s really make an impact – instead of just blogging about the disgrace Neshaminy as become under Eccles reign. Lets work together to get Eccles removed as president. Clearly the man has lost his perspective and needs to step back and remember why he is on the board.

If you are blogging -- will you also shoot a letter off to your regional school board representative (even if its simply a cut and paste of your blog)? Call, write, email them or approach them after the school board meetings.

We cannot allow ourselves to be bullied by Eccles, Linder or the teamsters (who were undoubtedly there for the children of Neshaminy!) We are only 2 votes away from ending Eccles presidency!

Please be active in this important defining moment for Neshaminy.

Anonymous said...

To Fedup,

You are somewhat correct, but the board president actually has almost no more power than every other board member, so while you are sending the letters to your board reps in your area don't just insist on removing Eccles if that is what you want, but insist that the "silent 4" get things moving in positive direction. Remind them what they were elected to do. I don't think it was to go with the flow but it was to be a leader in their community. Tell them to start acting that way.

Even if Eccles is in place, the board can find many ways to operate and move the district in any direction they want as long as there are 5 votes. Challenge the board members to find those five votes and do what is right for kids and tax payers.

Let's all make it known that there is no place in this district for the tactics that were displayed at the last meeting. If you let them intimidate you, then they have accomplished their goal of keeping you quiet and/or at home. I would also suggest sending an email or letter to your local political party and let them know if they have anything to do with this to put an end to it. They will listen if you tell them you plan to change your party registration.

emails for the democrats and republicans are:

webmaster@mrcgop.org

info@dpmt.org

This is obviously more political than anything else since nobody can claim they are doing what is right for the community. I also understand that even the republican party doesn't like the retired teacher and has been trying to get rid of him for years now. Unfortunately, a couple of board members continue to listen to him.

Waiting for a pulse said...

To the last anonymous post. You are correct. The "silent 4" can really make a difference and turn themselves into the "Fab 4". They can really make a difference if they wanted to. I don't what it is with them. They do absolutely NOTHING. Either they are afraid or they just don't care.

Anonymous said...

It is amazing to see how Muenker continues to get a free pass from everyone. He is the salaried employee of the district, not Eccles. He changed the superintendent's recommendation without his approval and from reading between the lines in the Courier without his support. Unless you are an idiot, it is easy to follow the clues here. Muenker wants superintendent job. Eccles wants Kadri out. Give our buddy's daughter a job and we'll make you super. WAKE UP PEOPLE!!! This is simple math. This is the 2nd in command in our district making corrupt backdoor deals. When is someone on the board going to call him on the carpet?

FedUp said...

In answer to anonymous’ (one of many) question.

Yes, Eccles would only have 1 vote as president or a board member. BUT if is resigns as president we no longer give the power to Linder and his teamster buddies. Also, Muenker will actually have to proceed as assistant superintendent and not as Eccles personal “superintendent in waiting”. It is crucial that Eccles steps down as President and that Muenker be held accountable for his actions.

Please contact you local representatives – they will listen, especially if they want to be reelected.

dn said...

To the person that mentioned the tirade that happened at the last meeting. If memory serves me correctly we had a parent get up and try to tell the board they needed to pay attention to the person speaking and Mr. Eccles stopped her as most people he stops. He sure let Howie go on and on...what gives? Oh that's right...they are allies...

Gotta be kidding said...

Apparently this retired educator was over at the Middletown Township meeting last night decrying the politics of his adversaries on that board. Is he FREAKING KIDDING??? Is April a 2-4-1 special with this guy trying to inflict his logic on both the school board and the township. If they hire one of his other family members in the township then maybe he'll go away.

Anonymous said...

Well, I just watched my DVR of the school board meeting. I am once again appalled. Every time I hear that man speak (retired Neshaminy teacher) I am embarrassed and shocked that he was actually teaching our students. I thank my lucky stars that he retired before my children ever had a chance to have him as a teacher. He is also a big hypocrite. Does his audience know that his daughter is a teacher at Neshaminy. I wonder how she got that job?? It just goes to show you that all those years of education experience, doesn’t always teach a person professionalism or the ability to speak intelligently (or even semi-intelligently).

There are 2 things that seem to be overlooked by all of the Eccles supporter’s comments. The first is that you (Mr. O'Connor) went public with this because they wouldn't address it behind closed doors. The second is that whatever conversations (if there were any) you had with the previous superintendent occurred when you were not a school board member, so it shouldn't be an issue at all. Thank you, Mr. O’Connor for doing the right thing.

William O'Connor said...

You're correct, Anonymous. They are overlooking the obvious, but that's because they're setting a smoke screen in an attempt to confuse the public on what the real issue is.

And to be clear, NO such conversations between the former superintendent and me EVER took place.

Anonymous said...

Someone told me today that the Lower South board members might not support Eccles resignation because they are worried about the livelihood of their local business(s). Is that possible? Should you be on the school board if your votes are based on how much money your business brings in? How much power can Eccles have? I hope this was just a rumor. Rick Eccles needs resign from the position of president immediately. The Lower South reps must support their voting community. Enough is enough.

KAC said...

I have spoken with the representatives from the Lower South region at various times. They assured me that they would vote morally an ethically. They attend every school board meeting. They see the horrific dynamics that continue and they are aware of Mr. Eccles connection to Mr. Linder. They were witness to Mr. Eccles behavior at the “retreat”. I think we need to have faith in the Lower South representatives unless they show us that they too are aligned with Mr. Eccles.

TMA said...

Yes, anonymous you've been subjected to that rumor mill. As a matter of fact, two of Lower Southampton's school board members have businesses in Bensalem Township. They are both thriving businesses and there is no need for either board member to feel any potential threat to their livelihood. You can be assured that there is no conflict of interest and all of our Lower Southampton Representatives have been and will continue to work in Neshaminy's best interest.
Just an aside note, this blog has been an asset in getting information out to the public, but it also can serve to be a source of misinformation. Mr. O'Connor I strongly encourage to do your best to discourage the rumor mill from tarnishing a good thing.

William O'Connor said...

TMA - You're correct that rumors can be misleading and harmful, and I am trying to balance those against a person's right to free speech. There are actually numerous comments that I edit, and some that I don't publish at all. The comment posted earlier does contain factual information (about locally owned businesses), then clearly states their concerns are strictly rumor.

It's a bit of a juggling act, but I try to be fair and consistent with what I will and won't publish. I've had some negative comments made against me that I've allowed on this blog.

If you go to other blogs, such as the Courier Times, I think you'll find that I am observing common guidelines with respect to what I do allow.