United Citizens for a Better New Rochelle has issued a statement responding to a report on Talk of the Sound over the weekend that New Rochelle Board of Education Vice President Lianne Merchant has sought to use her position to retaliate against a community group that opposed a development project championed by her husband.
The Statement reads as follows:
New Rochelle Board Of Ed Vice President Puts Politics Ahead Of Children
United Citizens for a Better New Rochelle, the only group denied request for meeting on Superintendent Search, demands Board reinstate meeting and repudiate statements made by Vice President Lianne Merchant.
New Rochelle, NY - January 21, 2014 - United Citizens for a Better New Rochelle (UCBNR) was disappointed to learn through the media over the weekend that its request to meet with executive search consultants hired by the New Rochelle Board of Education to recruit a new Superintendent may have been denied based, in part, on political and personal considerations.
UCBNR appears to be the only community organization in New Rochelle whose request to meet with Hazard, Young, Attea & Associates (HYA) was denied. If so, the decision of the board to exclude UCBNR raises serious doubts about the actions of the Board and the validity of the entire community input process.
Both the HYA consultants and the Board of Education have repeatedly declared that any and all community stakeholders would be welcome to meet with the search consultants.
According to a report published on Talk of the Sound, School Board Vice President Lianne Merchant said that UCBNR would have to “earn that privilege” when asked by Board President David Lacher whether she would support HYA consultants meeting with the group. Merchant is quoted in the article attributing her position on UCBNR's "proven track record of single-handedly bringing down the mayor and Echo Bay project”
If accurate, this response brings into question Merchant’s ability to perform her duties as the second-ranking officer on the New Rochelle Board of Education.
UCBNR believes it has the same right as any other community group to a meeting of its members with the HYA consultants.
UCBNR calls on the Board of Education to reinstate the meeting as originally planned, without limitation or caveats.
UCBNR calls on the Board of Education to repudiate the statements, if accurate, attributed to Vice President Merchant.
Further, UCBNR calls on the Board to make public the names of all individuals and organizations that were offered similar meetings, have had such meetings or for which such meetings are planned.
United Citizens for a Better New Rochelle is a non-partisan advocacy group with members who represent a diverse cross-section of concerned New Rochelle residents. UCBNR's mission is to inform and engage the community in fostering economic growth and prosperity. Learn more at http://www.facebook.com/UCBNR. We can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.