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Letter: Hamburg board member’s removal was unwarranted

Hamburg board member’s removal was unwarranted

A News editorial published on May 22 reminds us “there are lessons to learn” from the Hamburg Board of Education. No truer words have ever been written.

School boards and other deliberative bodies must recognize: (1) elected officials should be encouraged to ask questions, seek information and express their views; (2) members should respect and listen to the point of view of other members; (3) no official act should be voted upon until the point of view of each member is heard and considered; and (4) the actions taken by such a deliberative body should be transparent to the public and conducted in a meeting open to the public. If these lessons had been learned sooner, Catherine Schrauth Forcucci would never have been removed from the Hamburg School Board.

Forcucci tried to ensure the tax dollars were properly used, laws and regulations were followed and the public’s best interest was at the root of all board actions. She opposed the appointment of Richard Jetter as superintendent because he lacked experience and temperament. Her instincts proved to be right. She even held herself accountable to the public by seeking a court order allowing the public access to her removal hearing.

Her removal is a travesty, and unless the commissioner of education sets aside the board’s determination, other dissenting school board members, statewide, may face the Hobson choice of either hiring an attorney to defend their actions or resigning to avoid the legal expenses necessary to remain as an unpaid school board member.

Margaret Murphy

Attorney representing

Catherine Schrauth Forcucci

Orchard Park