You can’t hide from your votes and actions

To the Editor:

On May 15 next week, the community will be asked to vote on two candidates to fill one seat on the Berne-Knox-Westerlo Board of Education. Our choices are Randy Bashwinger and Lillian Sisson-Chrysler. My family has been involved in local politics a very long time and I’ve learned to read between the lines when it comes to local elections.

If you weren’t sure which candidate to vote for, all you need to do is read last week’s Altamont Enterprise where three of the sitting school board members (Matt Tedeschi, Nate Elble, and Kim Lovell) wrote letters of support for Lillian Sisson-Chrysler’s re-election. Sure they used the usual buzz words like integrity, pride, dedicated, honest, etc. but every school board candidate since the beginning of time has run for those reasons and all the right reasons.

I could easily use those words to describe Randy Bashwinger and more and they would fit like a glove.

What I found remarkable was that their letters were completely void of any accomplishments. There were vague references made to Lillian having “developed programs, policies, and evaluations” or “making great strides” or “many accomplishments made” but what were they?

What programs, policies, and evaluations were specifically developed by Mrs. Chrysler? What great strides were specifically made by Mrs. Chrysler? What were Mrs. Chrysler’s many specific accomplishments?

After she  served on the board of education for three years, they should have been able to list point for point what she has specifically accomplished. But they didn’t, because she hasn’t.

Their letters of support were no more than cries to guarantee their fourth “yes” vote so they could continue doing what they want. I’ve seen this before.

In the last couple of years, this school board has treated our tax dollars as their own private piggy bank, enriching themselves. Of course they want the guaranteed fourth vote.

In the last few years alone, the board of education has hired the superintendent’s sister, the superintendent’s wife, the board president’s wife, the board president’s daughter, the board president’s son-in-law, a board member’s wife, and a board member’s daughter-in-law (Mrs. Sisson-Chrysler’s).

Mrs. Chrysler supported each and every vote except she abstained from the appointment of her daughter-in-law. Is that in the best interest of the kids and our tax dollars?

As a board member, you can campaign all you want but you can’t hide from your votes and actions. Like I said, I’ve seen this all before but never this bad.

Also it is my understanding that two days ago the school board finally agreed to hire a police officer to keep the kids safe. After months and months of balking, they decide a week before the election to hire an officer.

I’m glad they did but how stupid do you think the voters are? This, too, was a political move made by a superintendent and a board of education desperate to keep their power.

And ironically at the same meeting the sheriff’s office made it a point to thank Mr. Bashwinger publicly for all his effort in getting this pushed through. I’m wondering if that will make the school board minutes? Randy has been meeting with the sheriff and pushing for this for nearly a year. It was his efforts that helped push this through and we should thank him.

As the district approaches a $19.8 million building project, we don’t need bobble-head members who will rubber stamp anything the architect or superintendent puts in front of them. We need board members who have construction experience and are not afraid to ask questions to make sure that every tax dollar benefits the kids and not board members’ visions of grandeur.

Randy has the experience and the guts to stand up for what’s right. If Randy is anything at all, he’s not afraid to put himself out there for the right reasons. We need someone like Randy who is not afraid of the criticism and acts for all the right reasons.

This past November, Randy did very well in our Berne town election, getting re-elected as our highway superintendent and I am asking everyone who supported him then and everyone else to join me in supporting Randy this May 15. If you voted in the town election, you are eligible to vote in the board of education elections on May 15.

The choice this Tuesday is clear. You can either support a candidate who is along for the ride or support Mr. Randy Bashwinger. I will be voting for Mr. Bashwinger.

Philip Stevens


Editor’s note: Philip Stevens is a former Republican Party Chairman for Berne, a post currently held by Mr. Bashwinger.

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