Less than one year into his second term on the Sag Harbor School Board, Gregg Schiavoni called it quits, citing disrespect and closed discussions as reasons for his resignation.
He is the second board member to step down in less than one year.
Last week, in a letter to Mary Adamczyk, the district clerk, Schiavoni said board members don't communicate honestly or respectfully and that a large part of the board's executive session discussion actually should be done in the public realm. "At this point, I feel I have nothing else to offer the Board of Education. I enjoyed my time serving, but see the Board moving in the wrong direction and it is a ship that can't be righted," he wrote.
The board of education accepted his resignation at a meeting Wednesday.
"Board members talk over one another, interrupt one another and show little to no respect by talking under one's breath or making insulting/disparaging remarks," he wrote.
Despite two board retreats on this topic, he said he saw no improvement. "It got so bad on a few occasions, even our attorney had to raise his voice to be heard when asked a question as he was interrupted, not once, but twice by multiple board members," he wrote. He said he even sent the attorney an apology on Jan. 15 for the board's actions.
Schiavoni said he feels that personal agendas entered the discussion and that 75 percent of the executive agenda dialogue should be done publicly. "On one occasion, we actually went around the room to see how we would all vote on a coaching position!" he said. "The BOE has recently spent a great deal of time, in Exec Session, discussing the bond proposal, LandTek and the school calendar, to name a few items, and each of those topics should have been for public discussion."
Theresa M. Samot, the president of the board of education, issued a statement thanking Schiavoni for his years of service.
"Much of Gregg's letter is his opinion, which he is entitled. While the board may not share those opinions, we stay open to diverse views and suggestions," she said, adding that the continue to try and act professionally. "There is no doubt that the board at times grapples with different decisions, often debating such issues with passion — but always with the singular purpose of "doing the right thing."
Reached last week, Schiavoni said he will remain an active member of the school community, as he has two sons in school.
In July, just two months after Walter Wilcoxen was re-elected — at the same time voters also re-elected Schiavoni — he declined to take the oath of office, citing the board's internal strife.
In a letter that appeared on Patch, Wilcoxen wrote: "For the last year and a half there has been very little trust and no dedication to consensus building but there has been mistrust, scheming, grandstanding, blindsiding, and micromanaging. Suffice it to say after 6 years I no longer have the patience or positive mental attitude and it would be better for someone who does to take my seat."
Susan Kinsella, a former school board member, was appointed to fill Wilcoxen's seat in September.
The board has not yet decided whether to fill Schiavoni's seat or to wait until the annual election in May.
John Gratto handed in his resignation as the district superintendent the same night as Wilcoxen, and that came just three months after business director Janet Verneuille's resigned in May 2012 to take a job in the private sector.
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