Letter to the editor 2, March 2, 2017

New LBPSB Code of Ethics is warped - needs work

Dear Editor,

Having written letters to the editors since 2007, submitted codes of ethics to the Council of Commissioners to consider, and called for a revamp of the present code in my platform when I ran for chair of the Lester B. Pearson School Board in 2014, this is my initial reaction to the board’s proposed new Code of Ethics.

The code is warped on several levels.

1. The proposed code was primarily made up by well-intentioned Lester B. Pearson school board commissioners who were elected by 11,431 taxpaying voters in the November 2014 elections, but, sadly, the commissioners still don't get it.

Even though Chair Stein Day silenced them by threatening legal action if they talked about her being found guilty for violating the board's code three times in 2016, astonishingly, they refuse to reconsider their unanimous vote of support for her on November 28, 2016.

Even though Article 175.1 of the Education Act makes reference to, "the freedom of speech inherent in a commissioner’s function," Suanne Stein Day managed to reportedly spend up to $80,000 for legal fees to hide the fact that she, basically, disrespected the people whose job is to take care of our children throughout the school year.

2. This proposed code continues to lend itself to abuse of power by the chair.

There is nothing in the code to prevent Stein Day from banning someone else to participate at Public Question Periods for three years - even though Article 168 of the Education Act states: "...a question period must be provided at each public meeting..."

3. It is still possible for a chairperson to quit mid-year and start doing business with the board culminating in possible conflict of interest contracts.

4. This code does absolutely nothing to address school board secrecy - the bane of true democracy.

5. In my briefs submitted to the government last year on school board reform Bills 86 and 105, I stressed the importance of ethics in our public school system.

This proposed code is business as usual. ‘Omertà' is the word - the public should be concerned.

Chris Eustace


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