Letter: Response to Kristi Sogofsky’s Op-Ed on Region 9 School Board Appointment

To the Editor:

In response to Kristi Sogofsky’s letter dated July 22, I see what transpired at the July 15 Board of Selectman (BOS) meeting differently. I attended the meeting, and I am an Unaffiliated voter in Easton.

I encourage all to listen to the meeting around the topic of the ER9 BOE nomination as many pieces were left out of Sogofsky’s letter.

Some background on the meeting —

When boards, commissions, committees came up, Dr Bindelglass stated that nominations for ER9 BOE were provided by RTC and DTC, however, the RTC nomination “came without a resume” and he stated to be fair to all as this is an important topic and for a fair consideration for both candidates he thought they should table the discussion until next BOS meeting in order to obtain the full resume of Kathy Thompson, the well-qualified RTC nominee. Sogofsky stated that he did have her nomination “brief bio” where she talks about her kids, involvement in town, career etc. Dr. Bindelglass agreed that he did have that brief bio, apologized for missing it and said he was looking for her resume.

For the record, both Dr. Bindelglass and Bob Lessler voiced, out of the gate, concern about not knowing the RTC candidate at all. Sogofsky forced the vote the night of July 15 and she chose not to table the vote until the next BOS meeting, thus refusing their offer. Big missed opportunity for the RTC.

The fact that Thompson was not at the meeting (no idea if her choice, unable to join or perhaps she was unaware she would be nominated at this meeting) for this important nomination / career decision was at best, bothersome, reflected poorly on Sogofsky of the RTC. To be honest, it was not fair to Thompson who clearly has a desire to serve the town and has a solid background that made her a great candidate for nomination. Another big, missed opportunity by the RTC.

Thompson was then tracked down to speak and the BOS meeting was on *hold* for about five or so minutes during this scramble. She was driving, so she had to pull off the Merritt Parkway and once settled, was able to have a few minutes to speak. Again, not professional by the RTC or giving the nominee Thompson, the ER9 BOE or the town the best chances for an Unaffiliated voter to join this important board.

The above details were left out of the letter Sogofsky wrote to her constituents. #Factsmatter

What I found most offensive in Sogofsky’s letter is the following statement about her two fellow selectmen, “At a time when we are encouraging people to become more involved in our community and town issues, my counterparts essentially discouraged anyone who they don’t know from volunteering to serve. I think that’s the wrong message to send and a poor reason to discredit a qualified candidate.”

They did not discredit Thompson — to discredit means to “to refuse to accept as true or accurate.” They said they did not know her, period. They did not state anything about her credentials. Word choice matters.

Dr. Bindelglass showed leadership to the Town of Easton by not nominating a person he did not know to this position as I think we can all agree, all three BOE’s are far too important in our town and our children’s lives to nominate someone completely unknown to the first selectman — period. Would anyone of us hire a person for a powerful job that we did not know? His leadership should be applauded not politicized.

IMO, the nomination may have had a true opportunity for success had Sogofsky and the RTC thought out what the end goal was — was it for Thompson, Unaffiliated voter, be an appointed member of the ER9 BOE until the term expires later this year, or was it to blindside and present her fellow board members in a light that makes Easton voters question if they are trying to politicize the BOE?

Perhaps it is as simple as Dr. Bindelglass said, “we don’t know Kathy” and he knows that the BOE is already under a microscope and appointing someone to this extremely important role whom he has never met is an irresponsible action by town leadership.

Mimi Jacob