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At the June 7 meeting of the Lewiston-Porter Board of Education, construction bids totaling $10.8 million were approved. The action was probably one of the most important events to take place at a board meeting in the last decade.

Only four of the seven-member board, exactly a quorum, showed up for this meeting. One absent member was ill and excused in advance, but two others, Edward Lilly and Margaret Laurie, were unexpectedly absent.

The construction bids accepted by the board members present were 10 percent below estimates. The savings to the taxpayers of the Lewiston-Porter community are approximately $1.1 million!

The board meeting agenda also included the bulk of the yearly hiring and an executive session briefing on a collective bargaining agreement by our legal counsel -- at the rate of $175 per hour.

What is most disturbing about the absence of Edward Lilly and Margaret Laurie, both self-proclaimed taxpayers' watchdogs, is that they skipped the meeting to attend the annual teachers union dinner at the Niagara Falls Country Club. All board members were invited, but only Lilly and Laurie missed the meeting to hobnob with the teachers union members.

For those of you who missed Lilly and Laurie's recent diatribes, this is the same union that each of them claimed (just last month) that any association with by a board member is flagrant conflict of interest. But I guess that was then and this is now.

Their attendance at the union dinner now requires another meeting with our expensive outside legal counsel to brief them on the terms of the collective bargaining agreement already discussed. Further, Lilly and Laurie's absence could have cost the taxpayers more than a million dollars had the bids not been approved by all four of the board members present.

Lilly and Laurie acted in an extremely selfish manner that evening, and their absence is an insult to the taxpayers they claim to represent. Lilly even sent a letter to the Niagara-Orleans Board of Cooperative Educational Services, saying he couldn't attend its meeting because the Lew-Port board had a meeting scheduled the same evening. I hope he doesn't try to fool the public into believing that he didn't know about our board meeting.

The tickets to the union dinner may have cost Lilly and Laurie only $25 each, but to the taxpayers of the Lewiston-Porter community it could have been a million-dollar meal.

Member, Lewiston-Porter Board of Education

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