Friday, September 09, 2011

The Continuing Conflicts of Allen Dyer

Yesterdays Board of Education meeting was barely underway when Janet Siddiqui, the board chair called for a sudden recess after an outburst from fellow board member Allen Dyer. Allen was railing against what he perceived to be a conflict of interest of the boards counsel, Carney Kelehan Bresler Bennett & Scherr.

It should be noted that Allen is the only the board member to perceive this conflict of interest. Even his steadfast allies, Brian Meskin and Cindy Vaillancourt, took issue with his position.

His argument centers around a case from seven years ago when Bruce Venter, the school systems chief business officer, was fired by then superintendent John O’Rourke. According to this story by Hanah Cho in The Sun, Venter was dismissed in 2003 for “not informing the superintendent, senior school administrators and the school board that the construction of Marriotts Ridge High School was off schedule.”

"Venter said he had pointed that out several times and claimed his dismissal was arbitrary and did not comply with state regulations governing the firing of educational professionals. Venter, who now works for the Isle of Wight school system in Virginia, appealed to the Howard County school board.

The school board in December upheld Venter's firing but also chided O'Rourke for his handling of Venter's dismissal."

Venter retained Allen Dyer to contest his dismissal. At that time Allen was not a member of the board. Judith Bresler represented the board in defending the superintendent’s action. Since becoming a board member Dyer has repeatedly attempted to gain access to the notes and minutes of the boards meetings with Bresler regarding Venters dismissal.

Talk about a conflict of interest!

Once again, Allen only sees things his way. He argues that Carney Kelehan should have disclosed this case when they were asked to disclose “existing or potential conflicts of interest” that would interfere with their continued representation of the board. An action from seven years ago hardly qualifies as “existing or potential”

Here is a small sampling of what Frank Aquino accurately described as Allen's  "tortured view" of the issue. 
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