Not on my watch
Dec 09, 2012 | 2959 views | 0 0 comments | 7 7 recommendations | email to a friend | print

Dear Editor:

Safety has always been a main goal of this administration. Young and old, keeping our residents out of harm’s way is paramount. When this administration took office three years ago we made it a point to make children and the safety of our youth a very high priority. All of our parks and playgrounds have been updated and continue to be upgraded to satisfy the most rigid safety standards. We opened a Teen/Tot Center on Front Street to provide a safe haven for young adults, children and families to enjoy quality time together.

When it comes to the Board of Education we have provided a building for Pre-K classes as well as negotiated for three new school buses. In keeping with our commitment to safety, we have also added new crossing guards in the vicinity of Clarendon School and the Pre K facility in the plaza. Additionally we have installed new high definition cross walks with illuminated lighting to raise driver awareness in many intersections. We live in an unpredictable society that warrants increased safety measures. To this end, we have raised police presence in all our schools and also added aides on the town’s shuttle buses.Police escorts behind the buses are also used from time to time. We currently have a great relationship with the school board majority and our goal is to continue to work together for the common good of keeping our youth safe.

However we continue to combat deliberate resistance from certain board members. It is particularly disturbing to witness the damage caused by the false statements made by these board members. However it is beyond understanding why elected board members would entertain fabrications put forth by a former board member, with whom the public chose not to reelect.

A main argument recently has been about safety routes, busing and funding. Certain board members continue to mislead the facts associated with busing. A letter was recently published that stated the school district was in jeopardy of losing state funding. The fact is the School Board was never in danger of losing any transportation funding. Another fact is the School Board has never done a “Safe Route to School” plan in the area in question or for that matter, anywhere in the entire community that would justify such precarious remarks. It is also a fact that the busing to Creekside Manor was approved solely by then president Sal Manente. A fact he adamantly denies. It is also a fact that a former board member followed a bus, then, interfered with the driver while attempting to count the students. It is also a fact that a certain board member has continued to include that same former board member in her emails related to school business.

When it comes to safety of our children and the entire community, the facts are this administration has never and will never waver. When any elected official makes a public remark or votes on an issue as important as public safety, it would be wise to make certain it is based on fact and not a matter of opinion. We all have something at stake here. Our children and our families that reside in this community rely on municipal government and school board officials to keep safety, not false egos as the highest priority.

Michael J Gonnelli

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