O’Brien resignation less than surprising
News that Board of Education Chairman Kathleen O’Brien has resigned from the board after less than two years on the job came abruptly, if not surprisingly, on Tuesday, when she submitted her letter of resignation to Town Clerk Sheila Sedlack. Everyone knows there have been problems with the school board that warrant a change in leadership, but somehow O’Brien managed to leave a cloud of uncertainty behind her in her wordy exodus, leaving more questions than answers about what exactly went wrong.In her letter of resignation, submitted Tuesday, Aug. 9, O’Brien said, “There comes a time when service to your community has too high a price. When politics outweighs good will, then it is time to stop.”Huh? Who ever said politics had anything to do with the school board’s problems? Aren’t the main issues the school budget and the reconfigured school system that’s about to start a new session? Oh yes, and why has an audit of the school’s financial practices been delayed seven times, with no end in sight?In any event, O’Brien goes on: “Open debate and conversation about issues is the cornerstone of our democratic process. The failure to have that debate in open session perverts this process and breaks down our system. It is not appropriate to make decisions that affect the future of our children behind closed doors. I apologize to the people of Winchester for failing to live up to the trust they put in me two years ago. The truth is I was simply outnumbered.”If O’Brien really wanted her leadership to be discussed in open session, she would have waited until Thursday, Aug. 11, to hear fellow board members’ concerns, which were raised in a discussion at Town Hall last week. As an attorney, O’Brien certainly should be equipped with the skills required to refute her opponents and offer a competent defense of her own actions. Deciding to resign two days before that meeting suggests she isn’t all that confident that she has a case to make.Claiming that part of the reason for her resignation is that others have “perverted the democratic process” is a bit disingenuous. That simply underscores the appropriateness of her resignation.