Security Position Reinstated, Cutler Resigns Anyway
By Michael McInnis Staff Reporter · June 25, 2012
The School Committee first voted to eliminate the position of School Safety and Security Director on May 10 - then voted to recall the original vote at the May 24 meeting - only to find themselves without a director, due to the sudden resignation of Security Director, Dave Cutler.
Cutler, who claims to have received no notice that "a majority of the School Committee membership intended to eliminate my position" felt it was necessary, in the light of the events that transpired at the May 10 meeting, to "seek employment elsewhere." Though the Committee later voted to revisit the vote, Cutler was able to secure a position at a Worcester charter school though he claimed he would "have liked to stay on" in the Milford Public School system.
"It (the vote) came as a complete and utter shock to my wife and me," Cutler noted, in a prepared statement. His resignation, Cutler explained, was motivated by the belief that "the four Board members who voted to eliminate what they repeatedly referred to as my 'redundant' position, were not likely to reverse their vote." The four Board members in favor of eliminating the position were: Chairman Patrick Holland, Vice-Chair, Robert Lanzetta, Scott Harrison and Donald Quattrochio.
Holland, explained that he initiated a vote at the May 24 meeting to recall the May 10 vote "because I felt the School Committee's credibility had suffered, due to the recent controversy."
The controversy was fueled by a public altercation between members of the Committee, followed by the Board's being notified by Town Council,Gerald Moody, that there was a possibility that the Board was in violation of new Open Meeting laws, for their failure to detail that there would be a vote on the subject, in the meeting agenda for that date.
The friction between Board members centered on the way the topic was presented for voting, which circumvented the standard protocol of appointing a sub-committee to fact-gather and report back to the Board prior to action being taken.
"As I said, multiple times, at the initial budget meeting ... where this was brought up by Mr. Quattrochio," Committee member, Christine Boyle stated, "if this [the Security Director position] was an issue, then a sub-committee should have been formed. This approach allows the entire committee to be informed ... and then an informed decision could be made ... by the School Committee."
Since the reversal of the original vote, the Board has formed a sub-committee to examine the security needs of the school district, in an effort to determine if the position of Security Director is a necessity. "It is my hope that we will hear their report before any decisions are made about adding security staff [to replace Cutler]," Holland stated, "but that decision is ultimately up to Mr. Tremblay [Milford School Superintendent]. "
Boyle reaffirmed that the Superintendent is solely responsible for staffing decisions. "We do not get to tell the administration which positions to eliminate," she noted. The fact that the Board could and did vote on the Security Director position centers on their authority to made decisions based on budgetary cuts, although Boyle and several other Board members said, "there was no budget reduction because of that position being eliminated."
Though the reversal of the original vote may have granted Cutler a temporary reprieve, at least until the sub-committee findings could be presented, his decision to seek employment elsewhere was deemed a matter of trust. "I do not trust or have faith in the majority of the School Committee and I feel that I would be placed in this same position one year from now, as they [again] look to eliminate my position," Cutler stated.
The controversy surrounding the vote to eliminate the position follows close on the heels of the termination of an assistant football coach, which caused a community-wide furor and exposed the School Administration and in turn, the School Committee, to criticism for their handling of the situation.
In addition, a public disagreement between Board members Paul Mazzuchelli and Donald Quattrochio, over the Security Director vote, resulted in another public relations faux pas, which the board is anxious to repair.
"I felt it was important that we demonstrated to the community that we were - and are - working together for the best interests of the School Department," Holland stated, in explaining his call to reverse the May 10 vote.