The problem is one I'd ordinarily consider nobody's business. A private matter. But when the private lives of people begin to interfere with their public occupations, it becomes the public's problem.
The problem is that Bangor Area School District is Harper Valley PTA. Pam Colton, who served on Bangor's school board for 16 years. She served the last three as school board President, but suddenly resigned in 2015. In her resignation letter, she slammed the board as "unprofessional" and "divisive." At the time, there were a number of whispers about her that I considered inappropriate and deleted. Two of her daughters came on this blog and defended her against anonymous attacks.
Unfortunately, there is more substance to these latest allegations, which involve a meretricious relationship with a school district employee that has been admitted to by this employee. It has thrown a monkey wrench into operations. What people do with their personal lives is their business, but not when it interferes with the efficient operation of a public school district.
Colton serves as liaison to Northampton Community College. She was approached and was asked to step down, but refused. So that's why the Board when into executive session on Monday night. Though she is an appointee and not an employee, the other person involved is.
I know there was a lot of yelling and screaming behind closed doors because everyone could hear it. I got tired of it and left. When directors returned, there was a motion of no confidence in Pam as liaison, but it failed by a 5 to 4 vote. Ken Brewer, Bob Cartwright, Ron Angle and Laraine Brands believe it's time for Pam to go. I agree. This alleged relationship has interfered in smooth school operations, and both she and the employee in question should go.
Those who voted to keep Pam include Craig Berger. He apparently found the whole discussion distasteful, but that's his job,like it or not. After the meeting, he sent a condescending missive to his fellow board members. I was told about it and asked for it. Berger initially refused, but changed his mind after I filed a Right-to-Know request.
In his email, he complains about personal attacks. That's fine, but he had no problem launching one against me, who was just there for a story and actually ended up taking pictures for the school district. He also personally attacked Ron Angle, knowing that Ron hates computers, refuses to buy so much as a smart phone and hence was defenseless to Berger's bile.
Here's his email:
I would like to suggest that we no longer meet in Executive session. There is obviously no sanctity to the process. Funny how the person that praises himself so much about knowing public meeting rules more than anybody, feels the need to update(and invite) the press after our meetings. Maybe we can just vote to have Bernie be an honorary member of the Board and he can sit in. I’m sure you can get a 5-4 vote for that. Last night was very disheartening. I know we don’t all agree but in the end we usually end up doing the right thing for the District….last night that did not happen. As Bob [Cartwright] always asks “At the end of the day does this make us better”, the answer to that is an emphatic NO. I was embarrassed to be a part of this Board last night.Just so Berger knows, neither he nor any school director runs the school district. Dr. Frank DeFelice has that responsibility, along with the entire school board.
I will not sit through 4 hour meetings filled with personal attacks and agendas. While some of you may have all the time in the world, I have many other obligations that need my attention as well. While I have no problem giving my time to the District, I will not waste valuable time that can be used more productively….for gods sake don’t you realize Steve [Bussenger] and I have a school District to run.
Berger later told me his last sentence was intended as a joke.
When a former school board president who is the liaison to the community college completely screws up school operations and has everyone's tongue wagging with an alleged meretricious relationship with a district employee that she actually helped hire, the Board needs to step in. People can do as they wish. But when they disrupt operations, they need to go.
Just so you know, I did contact Colton to ask for an explanation. She knows from my past dealings with her that I would be very receptive to any explanation or request. I heard nothing.
11:15 am Update: Pam Colton has responded to me and claims the entire story is "nonsense." She has asked me to remove the blog post,but that is contrary to what this district official himself has admitted. So I need a bit more.