This is the first time in my nearly eight years as Summit's mayor when I have felt compelled to set the record straight in an online publication.
I have never at any time suggested, proposed, or otherwise stated that I was ever open to exploring an elected school board as Pat Hurley, Republican Ward 2 candidate for Common Council, stated in his letter to Patch of September 17th.
In that letter, Mr. Hurley claims that he (Hurley) is "open to exploring possibly moving to an elected school board echoing the same sentiments expressed by Mayor Glatt last year". Mr. Hurley's statement is simply untrue, and because I believe so strongly in our appointed Board of Education and the Summit Public Schools, I can not let his statement stand unchallenged.
What I have said on several occasions when issues have arisen surrounding Board decisions can, I believe, be fairly summarized as follows: “I did not make the decision as Mayor to appoint the school board. The people of Summit did, and they did it each time it was voted on in a referendum question. If the citizens of Summit want an elected school board, there is a mechanism in place to get one - a referendum. If that day ever came, of course, as Mayor, I would follow the outcome of that vote." That statement was made in reference to people who felt that I was exercising some political agenda in choosing to appoint school board members.
Let me be very clear about each of the Summit citizens whom I have had the privilege of appointing to the Board of Education during my tenure as Mayor. Following the example and advice of my predecessor and friend, Mayor Walter Long, I looked for the best and the brightest people, trying to maintain a representative balance by elementary school district while also insuring that at least one elder citizen had a seat on board. I never considered the political party of an appointee, and always sought input from the school administration, current and former board members as well as others. I am enormously proud of the men and women who have served and continue to serve our schools with the best interests of our children as their only agenda, and I commend their service and thank them again for all of the countless volunteer hours that they have devoted to educating Summit's children and our community.
Finally, let me say, that while campaigns are meant to be competitive and to bring important issues to the forefront, let's never be so afraid of losing that we lose sight of the facts. I am proud to stand on my record - none of which I would ever want to delete.