Halton board chair resigns

  • September 17, 2007

{mosimage}As the Halton Catholic District School Board prepares to launch into the second year of its mandate, trustees are still huddling with private consultants in hopes of articulating a common vision and priorities.

When trustees met for their closed-door “visioning” session Sept. 11, former board chair Al Bailey wasn’t with them. Bailey came back from summer vacation at the end of August and announced he was quitting the board to spend more time with his family. In April a group of unhappy trustees (a majority of the board) passed a motion asking Bailey and then vice chair Alice Anne LeMay to resign. At the time LeMay and Bailey declined the request, claiming the trustees behind the motion had given them no concrete reasons for the change.

In the wake of Bailey’s surprise resignation, LeMay moves up a notch from vice chair to chair, Burlington trustee Joanne Matters is elected vice chair and a by-election to replace Bailey has been scheduled for Nov. 26.

{sidebar id=1} “I put in maybe 40 to 50 hours a week at the board, and it takes an awful lot away from my work and everything else, and those hours were increasing,” Bailey told The Catholic Register after the Halton board had accepted the 10-year board veteran’s resignation. “Now with the changes here in my family life and everything, there needs to be more time spent here.”

Bailey accepts that not everyone will believe a politician under pressure who says he’s leaving to spend more time with his family.

“People are going to say what people are going to say and presses are going to print what presses are going to print. I can’t do anything about that,” said Bailey.

The Oakville trustee who called for Bailey and LeMay to resign as chair and vice chair in April was shocked by Bailey’s decision to walk away completely.

“We thought he went a little bit too far, resigning all together,” Anthony Danko said. “That was totally unexpected.”

Halton Hills trustee Rosanna Palmieri accepts Bailey’s resignation at face value.

“As far as I’m concerned he just resigned for personal reasons,” she said.

Palmieri claims the board needs closed-door sessions and the guidance of private consultants to hash out priorities and come up with a way for the divided board to work together.

“When decisions are made and priorities are brought forward, that will be in an open meeting,” she said. “Right now, we’re receiving training in things that a board should be doing and how we should be operating and how to set vision. These are really just brainstorming sessions. There’s no firm decisions going to be voted on, or anything like that.”

Matters claimed there was nothing unusual about the need for closed-door sessions on board vision and priorities.

“This is just a natural, organizational situation of new blood coming up on a board, and we have some very natural tendencies. That’s all,” she said.

The Sept. 11 special session with STRIVE! Inc. consultants follows up on an initial, half-day session May 8. Halton has paid STRIVE! just shy of $5,000 for their guidance in the meetings.

None of the trustees The Catholic Register spoke to could say whether the board would need further sessions beyond Sept. 11, or when results of the sessions might be made public. Danko said he wouldn’t support going forward with any more meetings after Sept. 11.

“With Al Bailey not there, it does change the dynamic a little bit,” Danko said.

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