Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Woodruff Speaks Out

Former Southbridge School Committee member and Chairman Patricia Woodruff has spoken out about her resignation to reporter Brian Lee of The Worcester Telegram.

In the article titled, Southbridge School Committee chairwoman quits, Ms. Woodruff expands upon the statement she made at Tuesday night’s meeting. 

At the time she said, “It appears to me the politics of the school committee have overtaken the true mission of this committee.  There seems to be a prevailing opinion of the current majority of the school committee that this would be cured by my absence.  While I do not share this opinion, I feel it is only fair to our children, who should be the true focus of our actions, to allow the majority to have their way.  I therefore resign from the committee to be effective at the conclusion of this meeting. I hope that this gesture will encourage the remaining members to focus on what is important, the youth of our community.”

The Telegram article states, “In an interview, Ms. Woodruff singled out committee members Tanja Dominko, Jill Congdon and Erin Quinney as wanting to have her removed as chairwoman…. Ms. Woodruff said it was evident the committee didn't trust her and thought she didn't share information up front.”

“’I was being told a committee member was telling the public that I was a liar,’ Ms. Woodruff said. ‘And they kept telling people they were going to oust me. I can't deal with that stuff.’ Ms. Woodruff explained that members have been upset with her ever since she declined to put survey material on a meeting agenda. She said it hadn't been voted on in a subcommittee.

’They brought it up to be on the agenda, so I backed up and gave the gavel over to the vice chairman because I didn't want to be a part of it, because I wasn't 100 percent sure we were breaking the Open Meeting Law or not,’ Ms. Woodruff said.
Ms. Woodruff said she sought a still-pending legal ruling on the matter.” 

The article goes on to note, “Ms. Congdon and Ms. Quinney told Ms. Woodruff they didn't think Ms. Woodruff should be chairman because her three children attend Catholic school, according to Ms. Woodruff…. After receiving additional e-mails from the upset members during the past two weeks, she said, she resolved it was time to leave.”


  1. In a preview of what is to come, the school committee held a special meeting tonight at 25 Cole Ave. I hope that we will have access to a video of this meeting before too long. In the meantime, however, several notes are called for on what transpired at that meeting.
    The very outset was marked by one member distributing a handout containing pages from the Southbridge Home Rule Charter highlighting the procedure for the removal of the Town Council Chairman. The explanation given for this was that the same rules would apply to the removal of the Chairman of the School Committee.
    Really? So by that logic, all school committee members are prohibited from serving on any other town board. WRONG!
    By that logic, all school committee meetings must include a “Citizen’s Forum” as part of all meetings. WRONG!
    By that logic the term limit applied to Town Council members also applies to school committee members. WRONG!
    The bottom line is that the Charter’s rules for the removal of the Town Council Chairman have absolutely no bearing on the school committee.
    Throughout the meeting a number of items not on the original agenda of this special meeting were added and voted upon. One of the items was to accept Ms. Woodruff’s resignation from the committee.
    It merits mention that committee member Dr. O’Leary was not present at this special meeting. Such a note is worth mentioning due to a provision of the School Committee’s Policy Manual. The Manual says, “Special meetings shall be called by the secretary at the request of the chairman or at the request of four members. No business shall be transacted at any special meeting of the School Committee which does not come within the purpose set forth in the call for the meeting unless all members of the School Committee are present and agree to the consideration of the additional items.” But Dr. O’Leary was not present, therefore not all members of the School Committee were present, therefore any additions to the agenda violated the Committee’s own Policy Manual.
    I can hardly await the opportunity to review the video of the entire meeting.

    1. Any update on when the public will be able to see an agenda for this meeting or the video? A bit alarming that it is two days later and it still seems like we are being kept in the dark.

    2. I'm hoping (no promise) to have the video sometime this evening.

  2. Glad you were put on the charter review committee at least you know the town charter unlike the greenies on School committee! Kudos to you Ken

    1. The town knows how to waste it’s resources; people and taxes included.

  3. Whatever side you were on, Lazo or Principe, at least they had experience and a knowledge of what there duties were. This new bunch shows that they only care about being in the spotlight without learning the basics.

    1. Let’s be fair. Some of them care about the basics. Just check how much time they spend correcting the grammar, spelling and punctuation in the committee minutes.

    2. Grammar & speliing - thank God Donovan is there. MCAS don't matter - Spell in do

  4. Is Southbridge Knocking on Heaven’s or Hell’s Door?

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