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Letter: Mass Resignations By BAC Members

(The following is a letter to the Roslyn Board of Education from J. Walter Reed printed here at the request of the writer.)

During the past six years, a number of us have willingly served this community as members of the Budget Advisory Committee (BAC), even alongside some of you prior to your election to this board.

For most of that period the BAC was publicly acknowledged, playing an important role for the school board and community. Copies of the detailed budget proposal were reviewed on a line-by-line basis, often at the same time as the board. This served to help improve the budget development process by allowing us to identifying errors, oversights, inefficiencies, omission and excesses before finalizing the budget. And, just as importantly, at times board members have asked for help from the BAC to find ways to reduce the budget to more acceptable levels.

But this year it is very different. The board has clearly communicated they do not want any involvement by the BAC in the budget process, which is somewhat ironic, as some of you have been members of the group in the past. Although the BAC has made repeated attempts over the past several months to have the board reconsider and incorporate in its charges to the BAC, the most basic element and activity of reviewing the coming year’s budget, the board has ignored or rejected this recommendation. The board by its action has effectively denied the BAC and the public, access to the same detailed budget documents and the cumulative updates that have historically been available each year starting in early February.

Instead, the board this year established three perhaps, as they see it, important BAC charges. Unfortunately, they have absolutely no bearing on the basic budgeting process. It was by consensus that the BAC concluded that these charges were designed to deflect the BAC from its past mission of studying, probing and questioning the details in the proposed budget.

After some discussion, it was being decided by an overwhelming majority of the members (J. Walter Reed, Nancy Goldman, Thomas Powell, Marguerite Galano, Dan Farcasiu and Richard Eschmann) to collectively resign from the BAC, effective immediately.

We can vividly recall when some of you were still members of the public, you were sufficiently motivated to speak publicly about the policies and decisions and, ironically, requesting draft information and total transparency from the then-sitting board. As such, we are sure you will respect our opinion when we clearly do not agree with your potentially costly decision to restrict the accessibility to the details of the budget development process.

Finally, you can rest assured we will use our talents to continue as an independent budget watcher group and constructively inform the public of our budgetary observations and concerns.

J. Walter Reed

Former BAC Chairman