FRAMINGHAM – Earlier this month, Framingham Source reported on Framingham School Committee members bickering during a public meeting over a $100 warrant. But discussion also ranged from bullying to campaign fraud.
Today, November 4, Framingham Source was forwarded a handful of copies of an email that was issued by the current School Committee chair and the former vice chair of the School Committee which accused one School Committee member of bullying the Superintendent of Schools and two members of the School Committee, both who are on the ballot November 7, of acting “unprofessional.”
The email was not sent via the Framingham Public Schools email system, but via private email accounts, and was issued by Framingham School Committee chair Heather Connolly, who is not running for a seat on the City of Framingham School Committee, and former Vice Chair Don Taggart, who lost his seat in April 2017.
“Our combined ten years of experience as well as the respect we have sought for ourselves, the staff in Central Office and the new superintendent compel us to make this statement,” starts out the email.
“Framingham School Committee members have responsibilities to oversee the budget, review and maintain policy, and hire/fire the superintendent. It is expected that they will work with each other as well as Framingham Public School employees in a professional and respectful manner. Over the past six months, committee members have consistently displayed behaviors which have made working in a collegial atmosphere impossible,” writes Taggart and Connolly to unknown recipients in Framingham.
“Beverly Hugo has created an atmosphere of distrust and fear within the school community. Her question and answer piece in The Source in October 2017 contained several negative references to the chair of the committee. Many of Ms. Hugo’s dealings with central office staff including employees in the business office and the school committee office are unprofessional, disrespectful, and highly demanding. Eventually, a letter was sent to Ms. Hugo on September 19, 2017 informing her that the staff lacked confidence in her ability to sign warrants. In addition, on October 17 at the Framingham Town Meeting, Mr. and Ms. Hugo bullied the new superintendent, Dr. Tremblay. This was witnessed by many,” states the email.
“Michelle Brosnahan has created the same feeling of distrust and fear. She has exhibited threatening behavior towards several Framingham employees in the school system. Her emails are often filled with anger and false claims. Central Office staff including employees in the business office and the school committee office have borne the brunt of much of Ms. Brosnahan’s disruptive behavior, both in person and by email contact,” writes Taggart and Connolly.
Framingham Source contacted Taggart and Connolly to let them know the news site received copies of the email and intended to publish. Neither wished to make a statement on the email.
“On November 7, Framingham will elect a newly structured nine member school committee. This group needs to work collaboratively with Dr. Tremblay to move the schools forward. Both of us know from experience how important this work is. The bullying and unprofessional displays by Ms. Brosnahan and Ms. Hugo have created an atmosphere of distrust and fear among many in the central office. Some of these employees are voters as well,” wrote Taggart and Connolly.“It is possible that some employees may seek other employment and/or district reassignment to avoid further confrontations should either of these two members win reelection. In addition, employees may contact their unions and file grievances which may result in legal actions against the new city. Those not in unions may leave their positions as well as seek legal advice,” wrote Connolly and Taggart.
Hugo and current School Committee member Jim Kelly are vying for the new City of Framingham School Committee seat in District 1.
Brosnahan and former Newton School Committee member Geoffrey Epstein are vying for the City of Framingham School Committee seat in District 6.
Currently, the Framingham School Committee is comprised of seven members elected town-wide. On November 7, voters will elect a 9-member School Committee by district. Each District is comprised of two Precincts. Election day is Tuesday, November 7.
“We are excited to have Dr. Tremblay move the Framingham Public Schools forward. He will need the encouragement, trust and support of the new school committee to make this a reality. He will also need staff that is focused on the work that needs to be done. For school committee members, we hope that they will focus on their responsibilities and behaviors such as the ones cited will be halted,” concludes Taggart’s and Connolly’s email.