Money for nothing, coaches for free

Well, just when you thought your Amity Board had reached rock bottom, and they've managed to top their remarkable record of inept action. The Board has recently, voted to pay their former attorney over $200,000.00 of your taxpayers' dollars. Yes, the same attorney who a Superior Court Judge found to have violated the lawyer's Professional Code of Conduct.

The same attorney who as a result of her unethical conduct, the Amity Board was forced to terminate and retain alternate counsel. The same attorney who had already been paid approximately 1.0 million dollars and the case has not even been tried yet. Of course, the new firm retained by the Board had to be brought up to speed on the case, and of course we had to pay for this learning curve, which was brought about by the former attorney's actions.

A Board of Education who had your interest as their number one priority not only would not have paid Attorney Briggs but they would have brought a lawsuit against her for damages caused by her action.

Recently, I filed a request under the Freedom of Information Act requesting Attorney Briggs' billing records. Astonishing, as this is to believe, the records were not produced in the time required by law because, as a Board representative informed me, Attorney Briggs was reviewing the records before they were provided to me.

This is mind-boggling behavior even for the Amity Board of Education. Be that as it may, ultimately I did receive the billing records and any fair minded review of these records would lead to a conclusion that a number of questions need to be answered before paying bills that exceed one million dollars. Questions that as far as I know, have never been asked by the Board or answered by Attorney Briggs.

Despite the continuing blunders of the Amity Board, there has been a great deal of good news emanating from Amity this spring, generated by the coaches and student athletes. Those of us who believe that competitive high school sports are a positive experience for young men and woman are extremely proud of the successes of our young student athletes.

To all the coaches and athletes thank you for bringing pride to and uniting our communities. How perplexing it is trying to fathom the arrogance and pettiness of the leadership of the Board, when this past winter they were willing to risk cancellation of the entire spring sports season so that they could pursue a baseless termination of an assistant baseball coach. Fortunately, the coaches, the parents and students banded together to save a season that provided so many positive memories for our student athletes.

Most people probably are unaware that the coaches at Amity receive very little compensation for their efforts, in fact, when you add up the hours and calculate the pay they almost do work for free. Although, I know of not one that is complaining, I cannot help but think that most fair-minded people would look to compensate these coaches for their excellence as opposed to compensating Attorney Briggs for her unethical behavior.

If I were making the decisions I would withhold the monies not paid to Attorney Briggs thus far, retain an independent firm to audit her bills, as well as bring an action against her for the monies we had to expend as a result of her unethical behavior.

At the end of the day if we saved money, which I believe we would, I would provide a bonus to each and every coach and assistant who works at Amity, not because they want it, but because they deserve it. Despite the actions of the Amity Board, I am convinced the overwhelming majority of residents in our three towns support the philosophy of rewarding hard work and success as opposed to paying for and rewarding unethical behavior.