Monday, October 26, 2009

School board intimidation? You decide....

Below is a strand of e-mail that has been passed to me a few times today. Now, I'm not throwing this up to pursuade anybody one way or the other. I'm putting this up to start a conversation and hear what some folks have to say. I'm curious to know because I've gotten this on more than one occasion today. Is it really a School Board member trying to intimidate an organization, or is it a candidate trying to win an election? You tell me your thoughts. Remember, please keep it clean and respectful.
-If you read the bottom e-mail first and move up the post it makes a bit more sense... (I believe "Tim" is a director/chair/president of a local football organization)

*To my knowledge the below e-mail strands are legitimate. The GCYR does not endorse either candidate. While Rob Dotson has addressed the GCYR at a monthly meeting, there is always a standing invitation to all candidates, and elected officials in Greene County. Email addresses have been removed from the strand.*

The intimidating methods used by certain Members of the Board of Education, please review. Understand a Board Member has no authority or power outside of the Public Meetings unless voted on by the Board for certain responsibilities. If anything a sitting member of the Board of Education has to be very careful not allow a perception of Abuse of Power or Conflict of Interests. Please read below and decide for yourself.

Rob Dotson
Candidate for Beavercreek Board of Education

Let me clarify my involvement with the Football Parents Club. I met (name removed) a few times at football games I attended. After the Centerville game...which my wife and I attended...I introduced myself to Tim (last name removed), President of the Football Parents Club. I asked Tim if I could address the Football Parents Club. Mr. (last name removed) made it clear that they could not endorse a candidate or get involved in the election. He did not have a problem with me attending, since I was a Beavercreek School Parent with children that will be playing Eager Beavers next year and eventually participate in Beavercreek Football Team. During the meeting, Mr. (last name removed) clarified to the parents attending that my presence was not an endorsement.
I was told by a former PTO president that you had attended and spoke at PTO meetings while running for the Board of Education. I don't see my request to participate in the Football Club meeting any different from your appearances and participation in PTO meetings during past election cycles, PTO's are also 501(c)3 organizations. In my opinion, other candidates have equal opportunities to pursue organizations and fellowship with their members within the School System. Board Members really should be attending these organizations on a regular basis.
My discussion with the Club covered my High School Football background, including my All-Conference and Alabama Academic All-State status, as well as, receiving the Bryant-Jordan Scholar Athlete award. I discussed how football builds character and will influence these young people throughout their lives. I did ask about parent's concerns, as should all candidates. I shared my position that all programs representing Beavercreek City Schools should strive for excellence. The Beavercreek Band is a wonderful example of how dedicated students, parents, staff, and administrators can develop a program that rises to the very top of National recognition. Issues that the parent's conveyed to me about the Band and support of the Band, I directed back to the principal, athletic director and superintendent. Board members in no way have any authority or power, influence, or represent the Board outside of public Board meetings without a vote of the Board. I am sure you are aware of this. I don't see Mr. Absher's opinion of what we discussed at the meeting as an endorsement.
Peg , I will say how deeply disturbed I am with your e-mail to Mr. Absher, a dedicated parent volunteer. In my opinion, this type of intimidation and threatening communication is inappropriate for a sitting Board Member. I respect and appreciate your work for Beavercreek City Schools, especially your efforts with Mr. Morrison to secure improvements to the Football Stadium...which does support other activities outside of football. It is also my opinion that your e-mail brings credence to the innuendo and rumor about your intimidation methods and the use of your position to improperly influence administrators and organizations.
With respect and admiration,

Rob Dotson
Candidate Beavercreek Board of Education


I am very deeply disturbed to read this message. First, the football
club, I believe, operates as a 501(3)(c) nonprofit in support of the
school district. I believe you have just put that nonprofit status at
risk. You are not a Political Action Committee and I believe if you
check with your attorney you are going to find that you have gone beyond
your charter.

Inviting a political candidate to attend a school related function for
the purposes of giving his pitch for election is a foul. The candidate
should know better, as well.

In addition, your support of this candidate to entities in the business
community is a representation of the school district. You simply have
no authority to do this. It appears that the district is backing your

I am referring this to the district authorities who deal with these type
of issues for their action. Meanwhile, since I really don't want to see
any harm come to the Football Club (who do you think was half of the
team that got your field, anyway?) I would make some suggestions:

You owe the other five candidates and audience with the same people, and
it cannot be on school grounds.
You, and the candidate, owe the other five people an apology as well. I
think you better send and email to all the people this one has been sent
to telling them where the meeting you are scheduling will be.

This is a very serious matter. I suggest you get on it. Any one of the
candidates, or the district can file a complaint that will definitely be
supported. You have nicely documented it for us.

Peg Arnold

This is the article that appeared on the Dayton Daily News website 10/28. Just some more details to ponder...

By Christopher Magan, Staff Writer
10:30 PM Tuesday, October 27, 2009
BEAVERCREEK — A school board candidate’s visit to a football booster club meeting and subsequent e-mail from the club president offering information about his platform has upset other candidates.

Robert Dotson, one of five candidates for three school board seats, visited a Beavercreek Football Club meeting at the high school earlier this month to “talk about what concerns parents had.”

After the meeting, the group’s president, Tim Absher, sent an e-mail to some club members offering information about Dotson while acknowledging the club couldn’t officially back a candidate.

Generally, Ohio law prohibits nonprofit organizations from getting involved in campaigns. There are exceptions for public forums and other events when equal time is offered to all candidates.

Dotson’s visit and Absher’s e-mail raised a red flag with two sitting board members, Peg Arnold and Joyce Carter, who feared the move could put the group’s nonprofit status in jeopardy.

“I’m very concerned about making sure we play by the rules,” said Arnold, who sent a message to the club warning about the conflict. Arnold denied rumors she has campaigned at parent teacher organizations in past races.

Allowing only one candidate to speak to the group is unfair, Carter said.

Kim Grant, another candidate, said if Dotson broke the rules she didn’t think he did so maliciously. Candidate Donna Dempsey declined comment.

Dotson said he went to the booster meeting because he was interested in the club and was not campaigning.

“It just came down to talking about football and (club members) concerns,” he said.

Dotson added that he felt Arnold’s letter to club president Absher was “intimidating and threatening.”

Absher said Tuesday if there was an appearance of conflict it was an “innocent mistake on my part.”

1 comment:

Brian said...

I saw the e-mail a couple days ago, and I'm greatly disturbed that a school board member, an elected official, would resort to threats and intimidation to a volunteer parent. No wonder the staff at the school's are afraid of her.