Honoring Brady: Amity Style

High school auditorium will be named the John D. Brady Center for the Performing Arts

Each of the 13 members of the Amity Board of Education was clear about one thing at their monthly meeting last night: They wanted outgoing Superintendent of Schools John Brady to be honored for his time with Amity in some special way. How and when they wanted to see him honored was a completely different story.

At the the February meeting of the board, a letter from theater arts teachers Robert Kennedy and Peter Downhour requested that the high school theater be named the John D. Brady Center for the Performing Arts as an honor to Brady. The board agreed to consider the request, which was sent on to the board's facilities committee, which took no action on the request.

In the meantime, support has grown. Sheila McCreven, a Woodbridge resident who sits on the Woodbridge Board of Education, gathered via an Internet petition 105 signatures from those in favor of naming the auditorium in honor of Brady. 

"This is to demonstrate public support," McCrevensaid as she presented the list of signatures to the board. "You wouldn't go wrong by honoring him," she said.

Among the others who spoke to the board of education last night were Woodbridge Board of Finance Chairman Matthew Giglietti, who was involved with hiring Brady.

"He took on a daunting task, and with confidence, competence, and a plan, he led Amity," Giglietti said. "He is the most important superintendent to ever serve our schools. It's a no-brainer to serve him while he's here."

Orange First Selectman James Zeoli said, "If a person does a good deed, he should be rewarded for it." But he urged the Amity school board to use their heads, but vote from their heart.

And they did.

Even though the topic was not on the agenda for discussion last night, it was officially added to the agenda in a special vote. Then, the board needed to dispense with a newly created policy regarding the naming of school properties, a move that met the dissatisfaction of six of the 13 Amity board of education members.

"Now is not the time to do it," said Board Member Steven DeMaio of Orange. Fellow board member and Orange Resident Tracey Lane Russo urged the board not to vote at last night's meeting. She supported honoring Brady, but admitted to feeling 'under the gun' to make a decision before the public was officially notified via meeting agenda.

Christopher Browe, who also voted against the motion, said, "There is a reason for policies - so we don't make snap decisions."

After discussion, the board voted seven in favor of naming the auditorium after Brady last night and six against making a decision so quickly. He apologized to Brady for the 'debate and political controversy' surrounding the issue and noted he had heard from nobody who spoke against the naming of the auditorium after Brady.

"I wish there was more anonymity, but it is what it is," Blake said.

Brady replied, "I'll just call it democracy in action."  


Sue Ellen March 13, 2012 at 11:35 AM
Truly Amity Board of Education style. I am clearly not saying that Dr. Brady does not deserve this honor - more public input was needed - clearly! To rush through a vote without following established policies is yet another example of our Board of Ed - politics at it's best. To wait a month and to base a vote on 100+ signatures on an Internet petition smacks of politics at its best. Remember, you need to "walk the talk." If you expect others to follow the policies in decision-making issues, you need to follow it yourself. Once you make an exception...it becomes an exception and can dramatically affect future decision-making issues, some of which might be fiscally significant or impact the district in a negative way. We have elected you to do a job and follow established policies - which you have voted to put in place and follow...walk the talk please!
John B. March 21, 2012 at 01:33 PM
It looks like the Amity Board is behaving badly again! Didn’t the Board just finish an embarrassing naming dispute over athletic facilities caused by rushed, ill-thought-out decisions? In response, didn’t the Board develop procedures to follow for naming properties? Why then is the Board rushing to push through this resolution by adding it as new business when it was not on the meeting agenda and was clearly highly contested? Why is the Board failing to follow its own bylaws which require a “2/3 vote of the members of the Board” to add new business to be considered and acted upon at a regular meeting of the Board? Why didn’t one of the seven members who voted in favor of the motion have the integrity to say that the matter should be tabled so that the procedures and bylaws could be followed and the matter given the proper consideration? Isn’t it the role of the chairperson – who must have cast the tie-breaking vote – to make sure the rules and policies of the Board are followed, no matter what is the chair’s personal position? The residents of Bethany, Orange & Woodbridge deserve better.


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