Hollywood’s red carpet could be rolled out soon at Stonington Town Hall based on news accounts of last week’s Board of Selectmen meeting.
In act I First Selectman Ed Haberek notes — apparently just for the record we learn later in the drama — that the Board of Education has forwarded to the selectmen the name of just one person, Alisa Morrison, to fill a vacancy on the town’s K-12 School Building Committee. The ensuing performance is a sequel to an earlier drama starring only Haberek and Morrison and those familiar with the backstory know that Morrison is a critic of Haberek and has been outspoken in comments about Haberek’s mingling of town and personal business on his personal Facebook page. The town had not established a municipal page and Haberek used his account to serve the purpose. Morrison didn’t care for Haberek’s mingling in general, all of which was reported on his Facebook page, though many in town lauded him for taking the initiative to keep residents informed via Facebook, especially in storms.
In Act II, Selectwoman Glee McAnanly makes a motion to appoint Morrison, a member of the Board of Education, to the position, at which time the motion dies for lack of a second by either Haberek or his running mate, selectman George Crouse.
McAnanly is stunned. We imagine her gasping, holding her hands to her face in utter disbelief at what has just unfolded.
Haberek says nothing. Crouse is mum as to why he didn’t offer a second for the motion to at least get a discussion going before a vote, but when pushed he utters his one line in this scene: it wasn’t personal.
In the final act, McAnanly, who went against Haberek for the first selectman post in the last election, says “I was taken aback before,” in reference to the deafening silence following her motion to appoint Morrison. The curtain falls and we can only wonder if there will be another act.
Morrison was a unanimous selection by the school committee to serve on the K-12 panel and as such she should have been appointed with little debate or fanfare. The letter from school board chairman Frank Todisco indicated he and his colleagues felt that Morrison’s “professional qualifications” and “her ability to bring expertise to the committee” made her a qualified candidate. Additionally, the K-12 committee vacancy has existed since a former member resigned November.
McAnanly expressed concern that no one from the Board of Education has served on the community’s K-12 School Building Committee since board member Faith Leitner stepped down back in November.
Haberek and Crouse look bad in this one. And for her part, McAnanly should have done more to get a conversation going. As a member of the board she has the right to discuss just about any topic, though we admit it’s tough to have a discussion when the other party has employed the silent treatment.
The perception, however, was that she was a bit coy through most of her performance. She could have fought harder to get a second by confronting the elephant in the room and essentially shaming one of the others into giving her a second for the motion to clear the air through debate.
The K-12 committee will have a big impact on the town and it shouldn’t be subjected to the gamesmanship of politics or the vagaries of personalities.
Haberek said he would send a letter to the school board asking for a different candidate. While we have no doubt another member of the school panel will be committed to the effort, it presents an awkward situation for the board.