This is my definition of dysfunctional as it relates to the Wilkes-Barre Area School Board: an inability to perform duties in a professional manner as a group, or perform for the quality education our children deserve.
This evaluation has been issued by parents, students, teachers, administrators, taxpayers, both area newspapers, talk show hosts and now four seated board members. Four board members who at least attempted to do what was right.
The majority's take: they pouted like children.
My assessment of dysfunction is the result of evidence such as alleged fraud, accepting bribes (former board members), declining student achievement and FBI and Secret Service activity in the district. The simple task of implementing a hiring policy took more than three years.
The proverbial straw that broke the camel's back was last week's surprise appointment of the new superintendent. Five board members, four retired educators, appear to have ignored their own process that included a $10,000 fee paid to the Pennsylvania School Boards Association to ensure transparency.
They anointed Bernard Prevuznak, deputy superintendent for many years and acting superintendent, to replace Jeff Namey. My reports indicate that he has been a positive person, serving in many capacities over many years.
If there were a time this board needed to be transparent, it was now.
Perhaps Prevuznak might have made the final selection if the five members allowed the process to unfold as planned. Monday night's surprise was ill-timed and out of place for a dysfunctional board, or any board, considering such an important decision. What it has done by the split vote and questionable procedure is tie one hand behind the newly elected superintendent's back. The public, faculty, staff and taxpayers will look at this appointment as only another political move by the good-old boys.
It is my professional opinion that this district needed a seasoned problem solver with a positive track record as a superintendent. This district did not need a first-time superintendent, let alone an in-house person in a house that is in shambles.
In light of the deplorable conditions, the split board, four of whom just might undertake proving the other five wrong, Prevuznak may wish to reconsider. The repeat vote of 5-to-4 on the watered down hiring policy should be an indicator of what the new super faces.
I conclude with this: If Prevuznak did not know of the fraud in the district as a deputy superintendent, he should not be superintendent. If Prevuznak knew of the fraud, he should not be the superintendent.
Richard A. Holodick
Our family is very proud of the statement that our nine Pennsylvania Catholic bishops released prior to Election Day.
They wrote and distributed at each Mass a very powerful statement. It can be found at this website: pacatholic.org.
It is a concise history of our country's rights and should be read by everyone who does not see the danger of the current administration's threats to our religious freedoms and nation's identity.
If you have trouble finding the statement under the pacatholic.org website, simply Google PA bishops Nov. 1 statement.
I was very disappointed to learn the 2012 New York City Marathon would not be run on Nov. 4. While I sympathize with the victims of Hurricane Sandy in the New York City area, I do not understand the logic behind cancelling an event that would help restore normalcy to the city.
The marathon would have generated millions of dollars to help boost the economy of the city. Not to mention the large amounts of hurricane-relief money that could have been collected during race weekend. Thousands of spectators along the course, at the expo or sitting at home watching the race on their televisions would undoubtedly have opened their pockets and chipped in to help relief efforts.
Clothing could have been collected, too! It is customary during marathons for runners to discard items, such as sweatshirts and hats, as they get warmer while they run. Usually race directors collect the clothes and donate them to homeless shelters. In this case, those articles of clothing could have been donated to flood victims.
From my understanding, the biggest concern seemed to be how can you possibly celebrate in the midst of a tragedy? Well, our little valley was flooded just over a year ago. And we survived. New York City is much larger than our Wyoming Valley. The entire nation is responding to its devastation. (You see commercials and banners for Red Cross donations on major TV networks.)
We didn't have that luxury. Yet we prevailed. Life went on.
Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani supported the race in 2001 about two months after the horrific 9/11 attacks. He believed the city needed something positive to show the perseverance and resilience of New Yorkers. And the race went off without a hitch. But in 2012 it's cancelled because of flooding?
I feel bad for those people in New York who are displaced because of the storm. But my heart also goes out to the runners who prepared for the marathon that was cancelled less than 48 hours before the start time. Their 20-plus mile runs all for what?
After 5 p.m. on Nov. 2, I was driving out of my garage in Dallas, on my way to the ING New York City Marathon.
A call came from my brother Jeff. He informed me that the marathon was cancelled. The increasingly apparent damage of Hurricane Sandy had been too much. Public sentiment and support was not there to host a marathon. More attention had to be on the victims and fostering unity.
I am a member of Ryan's Run, an official charity team of the ING New York City Marathon. It is led by the astute and illustrious Ryan Leckey, of WNEP-TV, and managed very competently by Jim Brogna, of Allied Services. Our team of 25 runners committed to run in this marathon and raise money for Allied Services.
My training started in March. It began by running a quarter mile in Kirby Park in Wilkes-Barre and was to have peaked at 26.2 miles last Sunday in New York City. It would have been my seventh New York City Marathon.
This year, I also was a mentor for Team for Kids, the charity team of the New York Road Runners. One of my mentees came to New York City from the Philippines with his wife. In the early part of last week, he asked if they should come to the event. I replied yes, because the mayor of New York City had decided that the marathon would happen. Oops. He was one of about 20,000 runners who had come to New York City. Altogether, there were about 40,000 runners affected.
Each runner had to come up with his or her own Plan B. Hopefully, after digesting their disappointment, they focused on the victims. This is the path that Ryan's Run took.
It became Ryan's Recovery and collected emergency supplies that were generously donated by members of the local community. Road Scholar Transport kindly provided the trucks and took care of all the freight needs.
Ryan's Run is exceptionally successful. There are more than 200 charity teams associated with the ING New York City Marathon. This year, Ryan's Run was one of the first charities to sell out and fill its roster of runners.
It is not by chance that Ryan's Run took the high road. The runners and supporters reflect the values of Northeastern Pennsylvania, which is no stranger to natural disasters and the daily struggle of all people.
Thank you to the major corporate sponsors: Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs, First National Community Bank, Jack Williams Tire, Northeastern Rehabilitation Associates, ParenteBeard, Ronald McDonald House Charities Northeastern PA, Weis Markets and WNEP-TV. Thank you for all the contributions from the employees and staff of Allied Services and from all the other supporters.
I thank The Times Leader for helping me in my quest for stem-cell surgery. I have reached my fundraising goal to have this procedure.
I extend my sincerest gratitude to all your readers who have been so kind and generous and only pray that God will bless them and that they will be as blessed as I have been. A special thanks from my family, friends and loved ones, to each and every one.
A big thank-you to the men and women of volunteer fire companies. After Sandy passed through our area, I came home from work and found my basement filled with black smoke. The volunteer firefighters in our area responded quickly and made professional decisions to save my home from smoke damage – possibly worse.
One firefighter told my husband he had only one hour sleep in the last 24 because of so many emergencies. My husband thanked him, and he said, This is what we do.
I say thank you for a job well done!
Letters to the editor must include the writer's name, address and daytime phone number for verification. Letters should be no more than 250 words. We reserve the right to edit and limit writers to one published letter every 30 days.
• Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
• Fax: 570-829-5537
• Mail: Mail Bag, The Times Leader, 15 N. Main St., Wilkes-Barre, PA 1871 1