School Superintendent William McKersie has landed himself in the middle of a divisive Republican political battle just as the school board campaign enters its last weeks before Election Day.
At issue is McKersie’s characterization of Republican school board member Peter Sherr as a divisive force and the only member intent on holding back progress on important school issues. Sherr is in a pitched battle to retain his seat on the Board of Education after local GOP leaders vowed to crush him (their words) because he refused to support the party’s candidate for school board chairman two years ago.
McKersie’s less-than-flattering portrait of Sherr came in a mid-August email response to the North Mianus Republican’s request for case histories from a consulting firm the superintendent hired to develop magnet programs to help correct racially imbalanced student populations in certain town schools. That seemingly benign request generated a pretty explosive response from McKersie.
The school chief’s vitriol might have disappeared into the internet vapor except that the superintendent copied senior school administrators, virtually guaranteeing that his remarks would receive much broader circulation, and they did. They landed in the email inbox of Edward Dadakis, local GOP leader and a very vocal Sherr critic who used the McKersie’s statements this week to attack Sherr in his regular column published by the Greenwich Post.
For Dadakis, the emails were a gift from the political gods. Quoting selectively only from McKersie’s response and not from Sherr’s original email, which was a simple request for information, Dadakis launched into a rant about Sherr’s “bad behavior” and reminding his readers of Sherr’s “alliance” in 2011 with then GOP school board member MariannaPonns Cohen. Students of local politics will remember that the GOP leadership led the successful campaign to defeat Ms. Ponns Cohen by claiming she was a constant thorn in the side of then School Superintendent Sidney Freund. Dadakis obviously thinks the same charges will keep Sherr from winning re-election this time around.
Chipping away at the Republican hierarchy isn’t as satisfying as just taking a firehose to their Augean stables, but it’s a start, and making sure that the clowns who have brought us so many decades of misrule don’t succeed in crushing the lone voice of dissent on the BOE seems like a most excellent idea.
So a month from now, I intend to cast just one vote in the entire election (all the rest of the “contests” have been predetermined by Repubulican and Democrat party leaders): I’ll vote for Peter Sherr. If enough of us “bullet vote” – cast just one vote for Sherr and none for the other BOE Republicans, he can beat out at least one of the anointed designees and retain his seat.
And if Sherr retaining his seat will annoy William McKersie and his masters, Peter Tesei and Ed Dadakis, that’ll count as a bonus.