School Board has Cake, Eats it too!
by Buck Quigley - posted 7:01 pm, July 1, 2008
The Buffalo school board held a special meeting at 3:30 this afternoon, called by board member Catherine Nugent Panepinto to “vote on pursuing disciplinary action against the individuals named in the report of attorney David Edmunds and/or as discussed by attorney Karl Kristoff.”
After the Pledge of Allegiance, board President Kapsiak began the meeting by moving to enter into executive section, which was immediately seconded by Catherine Collins, who said that she, for one, intended to mention people’s names—therefore making an executive session mandatory. Within five minutes of typical chaos, the press was again sent into the antechamber that has become their second home since issues involving Crystal Barton and McKinley High School have become public knowledge. Nugent Panepinto never even got to read her motion.
After half an hour, the door opened and BPS lawyer Karl Kristoff read a motion to share all the raw data collected by the $25,000 Edmunds report with school board members—something they’ve never had access to thus far—before deciding if any disciplinary action might be warranted.
Here’s how the vote went down: Four in favor (Nugent Panepinto, Hernandez, Petrucci, Jacobs). Perry-Cahill said she would like to “sustain.” Her colleagues corrected her use of terminology and asked if she would like to “abstain.” She said yes, she would like to do that, and she was joined in her abstention by Collins. Kapsiak and Johnson voted against seeing any more evidence.
Vivian Evans, although present in another room, would not take part in the vote.
Thus, with only four votes in favor of examining all the evidence generated by the $25,000 of taxpayer funds that were used to compensate Edmunds, the motion did not receive the five votes it would have needed to pass. Chief of Staff James M. Kane quickly observed: “It doesn’t pass!” He had the tone of a dealer at a poker tournament, interpreting all the hands for the spectators.
Next, it was time for the board to vote on new officers. Vivian Evans entered to take part in this vote.
Again, the room stood to recite the Pledge of Allegiance. Kapsiak retained her position as board president, Collins replaced Hernandez as VP of Executive Affairs, Jacobs replaced Nugent Panepinto as VP of Student Affairs.
In a stunning and unpredictable coincidence, each vote was identical, with Perry-Cahill, Collins, Johnson, Kapsiak, Jacobs, and Evans voting for the winners—while Nugent Panepinto, Petrucci, and Hernandez voted for the losers.
Kapsiak, Collins, and Jacobs were sworn in to their new positions and the meeting was called to a close.
Florence Johnson was the first to move in on the cake. She and Perry-Cahill moved in for a slice after sharing hugs with Collins, Jacobs, and Kapsiak.
And even though it was a big cake, Nugent Panepinto, Petrucci, and Hernandez didn’t have any.