Letter to the editor 3, April 27, 2017

A Tale of Two LBPSB Chairpersons

Dear Editor,

Since its inception, (1998/99), the Lester B. Pearson School Board has had two chairpersons: Marcus Tabachnick (MT) and Suanne Stein Day (SSD).

Both have served as directors of the Quebec English School Boards Association (QESBA).

MT was its president for about the first ten years, and for the past three years, its Executive Director. For the past two years, SSD is its vice president.

On Friday, April 21, the QESBA announced MT was leaving, and on Monday, April 24, at the lively Pearson Council meeting, it was announced that chair SSD was taking an indefinite leave of absence.

Definitely good news on both counts, as both of them abused their power when they served as chair and banned me from my democratic right to participate at Public Question Periods. With MT, the ban lasted until he quit mid-year to sell energy saving products, which included a $5.4 million contract with the LBPSB.

With SSD, the ban lasted almost three years, but came to an abrupt end when shamed by the press, who came to the November 2016 Council meeting to hear her admit she was the commissioner who was found guilty of violating the board's Ethics Code, three times, in 2016.

Prior to that, suspicion fell on every commissioner because SSD had hired a legal firm, at a reported cost of over $82,000, funded by the taxpayer, to silence the commissioners.

Moreover, what is astonishing is that the Education Act, Article 175.1 says commissioners have "…the freedom of speech inherent in a commissioner’s function."

Both MT and SSD ruled the Pearson board as if it were their personal fiefdom. At one time, MT said he was embarrassed of Pearson teachers; SSD's ethics violations dealt with her total disrespect of principals /vice principals and members of the AQCS.

On April 22, I attended a Liberal Party convention at the Palais with one objective in mind. I am a school board whistleblower and wished to inform some MNAs of the actions and inactions of the QESBA. I asked six MNAs to investigate the following matters:

First: the QESBA is spending tens of thousands of dollars badmouthing the Quebec government on its school board reform plans, via workshops, at conferences across North America.

Second: unlike any other organization that is publicly funded, the QESBA continues to refuse, in writing, written requests to make public its finances.

However, questions remain. Is SSD still getting paid? Did MT receive a payout?

In the public's financial interest, the government must act regarding QESBA, which I consider to be an education racket.

Chris Eustace


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