LETTER: Supporting Bergen and Rainey for Concord School Committee

Sudbury Road resident Anne Hayden writes that Lisa Bergen and Cynthia Rainey 'would encourage the School Committee to open up the process by which citizens participate at committee meetings.'

To the Editor,

I support Lisa Bergen and Cynthia Rainey for School Committee because they are ready to work on the issues that are before our schools. Both will continue to actively support the CCHS Building Committee to ensure that we have the best new high school that we can afford. They will also work to resolve the school transportation problem by encouraging the committee to pull together all stakeholders and develop a comprehensive five year plan to determine not only where our buses will be next year but what our school transportation system will look like in the future.

Lisa and Cynthia would encourage the School Committee to open up the process by which citizens participate at committee meetings. Lisa did this successfully when she chaired the Citizens Transportation Committee by inviting relevant citizen comments before the committee deliberated on the issue. This was an excellent way to bring additional information and ideas to the committee’s attention.

Lisa and Cynthia will be strong advocates for fiscal responsibility. They will work hard to improve and increase the communication between the School Committee and all members of the Concord community. They both strongly support the Open Meeting Law and have been outspoken in their support for citizens’ access to public documents. Their efforts have already had a positive effect on our schools.

Please join me in voting for Lisa Bergen and Cynthia Rainey for Concord School Committee so that they can have an even greater positive impact on our Concord School System.

Anne HaydenSudbury Road

Mr Smith March 11, 2013 at 11:44 PM
It's my understanding that Ms. Bergen was not nearly as successful at fostering good communication amongst the various committees and positive change. Here is perspective of someone on the TAC who worked with Ms. Bergen. "TAC conducted its work with civil discourse, transparency, and free flow of information among its members and with the CTC. Collaboration and sharing information was central to our work, but it seemed to work in only one direction. Transparency was lacking with CTC. Ms. Bergen did not provide direct answers to questions about pending CTC recommendations nor disclose information about the CTC cost analysis." Further.... "Ms. Bergen made it her mission to publicly disparage not just the Administration, but members of the School Committee, Building Committee and other Town boards who volunteer hundreds of hours each year to public service." This does not represent the behavior of someone we want representing us on the School Committee. Her disparaging and contemptuous behavior did nothing but breed anger and divisiveness.
Joyce Davis March 12, 2013 at 12:07 AM
I watched the League of Women Voters Forum on demand at CCTV today and one thing that Johanna Boynton said really resonated with me. She requested that we be more civil in our conversations with each other. In that vein, I would like to request that all people who comment use their real and full name. None of this Mr stuff or "Concordian". If you can't stand behind what you say, then maybe it shouldn't be said. Also, please do not quote someone without saying who it is. If they do not want to make the statement publicly, then it shouldn't be made. There is no way to determine if any weight should be given to the opinion. Thank you.
Rick March 12, 2013 at 01:34 PM
I agree with Joyce Davis about the comment from "Mr Smith". In addition, as a member of the CTC I take issue with the comments about the transportation committees' work. The CTC did not see any cost information from the TAC until the last weekend when the reports were being printed, when we saw a draft of their report. There was no sharing of their cost information; all we had seen from the TAC was a "framework" without any data (as finally published it simply used the numbers provided by the School Administration which attempted to justify outsourcing transportation). We had tried to set up information sharing meetings with the TAC about costs but were unable to due to our conflicting schedules. The CTC shared our Safety data with the TAC, and they shared their Site information with us. The remainder of the comments targeting Ms Bergen are simply mud-slinging. It is inaccurate but more than that it is embarrassing to see this in Concord politics. The incivility needs to stop, and we should all denounce such actions. We will soon have 2 new members on the School Committee, and the Town deserves to have members who are willing to question, and even challenge when necessary, actions and decisions by the School Administration. To me the choice is simple: independent thinking and openness as opposed to more of the status quo. Rick Anderson
Mr Smith March 12, 2013 at 05:51 PM
Joyce and Rick, I would like for nothing more than civil discourse, but, I'm afraid, Ms. Bergen set the tone when she embarked on a campaign to scuttle the CCHS building project and put herself at odds with the various town bodies charged with managing the initiative. In the forums in which she has participated she has come across as a amiable supporter of the building project as it is and partner to the committees when everything she has done up until then has been destructive. Do not think for a minute that Colonel Snook and Ms. Boynton will stand idly by when situations require independence in thought. The difference is that they will be able to work with other to resolve problems, not become mired in battle, the same kind we see on Capital Hill in DC. It seems from these responses that any disagreement is considered mudslinging. Bergen and Rainey chose a course and now are dealing with the consequences.
John March 12, 2013 at 07:28 PM
Well Mr. Smith we know where you stand. But for those of you who do not want second hand information (put out in blogs and half quotes in the paper) and want to form your own opinion, go to one of Ms. Bergen or Ms. Rainey's coffees, or read the letters to the MSBA (in their entirety) that's what i did. The misinformation put out by Colonel Snook's campaign chair is NOT "truth in Concord"
Joyce Davis March 12, 2013 at 08:53 PM
Mr Smith - i have no issue with your disagreeing with the letter supporting Ms. Bergen and Ms. Rainey. The more facts and opinions that come out before an election provide input to those of us who will be casting ballots. I do however have an issue with you making anonymous statements that you will not be held accountable for. You still have not identified yourself.
Mr Smith March 13, 2013 at 03:40 PM
John, read the letter posted in the Patch today from Janet Friedman. Source revealed. By the way, I read dozens of pages of letters acquired from the MSBA in their entirety. The more I read the more outraged I became. Ms. Bergen tried her best to scuttle the building project. I was infuriated to learn that she was running a personal campaign to stop the project claiming to represent the people of Concord. She doesn't represent me nor does she represent a great many people in town. The following quote is a prime example. "Elected and appointed members of various town boards and committees know this is wrong. Chairs of committees have said they know this design is the wrong way to go. But they are afraid. They fear admitting this will cause us to lose MSBA support. They fear public embarrassment. They fear the unknown. But isn’t it better to admit we have veered off course and ask for help than to continue knowingly on a path of failure?" Lisa Bergen to the MSBA, 10 Oct 2012. She is deluded if she thinks that this is true. Who does she think she is to make such claims.
John March 13, 2013 at 10:09 PM
Love that quote from Ms. Bergen! ISN'T it better to admit our mistakes and ask for help? Isn't that what we teach our kids? This is getting more clear and simple by the minute! And...it should be noted since we are preaching "truthfulness" that Ms. Friedman is paid by the district-she is an employee of the Administration. I take everything she says with a grain of salt. Everyone in this town knows how well the CTC was run. Public forums with clear, open information being passed along and (gee what a novel idea) asking for community input, something that has been missing from this town for years. The taxpayers have had enough!
Mr Smith March 15, 2013 at 02:08 AM
John, the mistake was rectified. The School and Building Committees worked with the School Administration to make the necessary adjustments as requested by the MSBA. The MSBA was satisfied and reinstated funding. Lisa Bergen's issue was that she didn't get the response that SHE was looking for. As I recall, a petition was floated last fall requesting that the MSBA reinstate funding. There were nearly 1200 signatures behind that petition. It seems to me that many more voters side with the School and Building Committee than the small angry group who wish to see the project scuttled. Regardless, whoever sits on the School Committee will have to work closely with others in the Town. Given what I have witnessed through comments on the Concord Patch and in correspondence from Bergen, Rainey and others, electing them will make governance a very painful process. That's not what this town needs.


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