LETTER: An open letter to School Committee member Brian Ota

To the editor:

Last week, I read with great interest the front-page article in the Marblehead Current, informing us that you recently filed a discrimination complaint with the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination against School Superintendent John Buckey. As I understand the article, the basis of your complaint is that your contract for the principal’s position at the Glover School was not renewed after the 2021-2022 school year.

Apparently, the news broke after you filed a “disclosure of appearance of conflict of interest” with the Town Clerk only after you were elected and sworn in as a member of the Marblehead School Committee.

According to the Current article, you stated that you contacted the Massachusetts State Ethics Commission for guidance and are following their recommendations on how to deal with the situation now that you are a member of the school committee. The Current reporter also asked if you felt that you should have let the voters know about your complaint during the election campaign, and you replied “no.”

I wish to address your refusal to disclose this important information to us, the voters, during the campaign. I believe you have displayed an incredible lack of faith and confidence by willfully concealing your discrimination complaint against the Town and failing to trust us to vote for you based on your qualifications and experience as an educator and administrator. This is the reason I voted for you, not based on your ethnicity. However, I must admit now I feel betrayed.

It is well known that this town does not condone discrimination of any kind, and I believe this has been demonstrated adequately in your case by the simple fact that you were elected. In my opinion, because you now state that you are refusing to drop your complaint against Superintendent Buckey and, by extension, the Marblehead School Committee on which you have sworn to faithfully serve, a clear moral if not legal conflict of interest now exists.

Can you please tell us the reason that Superintendent Buckey gave you when your contract was not renewed last year?

Under the circumstances, I am calling on you to explain to us why you think you can serve on the School Committee and make decisions that are in its best interests when you have willfully and deliberately placed yourself in a confrontational situation with the Committee and with us.

Without dwelling on this any further, I am asking you to make a choice: Drop your complaint and serve on the School Committee to which you were elected, or continue to pursue your discrimination action against Superintendent Buckey et al. and resign your position on the School Committee.

You can’t work both sides of the street.

Michael Crestohl
Atlantic Avenue

Letter to the editor
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