February 28, 2003
Freeport Superintendent Gives
Building Administrators In School Detention
by Stewart S Lilker
Click here to go to photos
In what has clearly become one of the most absurd and mindless
wastes of manpower ever instituted in any school district,
Freeport's Superintendent of Schools, Dr. Eric Eversley, continues
giving his building administrators in school detention.
After being let go by Eastern Suffolk BOCES, a fact never made
public by Freeport's desperate Board of Education, Eversley was
hired in Freeport, effective July 2001.
Before the reign of Eversley, building administrators attended
board meetings when they were needed, such as on school report card
night. About six months after Eversley's reign began, your reporter
began noticing the sudden appearance of a bevy of building
administrators at the board meetings, finally asking one of them
(name withheld) if "they" had been ordered to come. The response:
"Na, I like being here. I have nothing better to do on a Wednesday
night." Your reporter asked other building administrators if they
were ordered to attend the meetings. They just smiled and turned
away. None of them looked very happy. None would admit to being
ordered to attend.
After one of the meetings, your reporter asked Eversley if he had
ordered the building administrators to be in attendance. He said,
"Yes I did."
The February 26, 2003 Board meeting was billed as a "Budget
Workshop." Of course, the Superintendent didn't have a budget, using
the same excuse as his buddies in Freeport Village Hall, "It's a
work in progress."
should have been a fifteen minute budget presentation, took an hour
and a half to present, as Kishore Kuncham, the Assistant Supt. of
Business, presented a slide show that was included in a hand out.
At the conclusion of the presentation, the Board questioned the
Administration for another forty-five minutes. Not surprisingly, no
one on the Board asked for a budget.
Eversley, who repeatedly claimed that he wants the public to be
involved, did not mention his disappointment that only one village
resident showed up for the meeting. The District has over eight
By 9:30 p.m., the building administrators couldn't hide their
discomfort. Some of them had been in school since 6:30 a.m. Captured
against their will, was a group representing over a million dollars
of combined salaries, doing everything they could to keep from going
Instead of suffering in-house detention, these administrators
could have been going over lesson plans; attendance records;
disciplinary problems; building maintenance; personnel issues or
just plain sleeping at home in their own beds.
February 28, 2003
Where's The Good News?
This week Thomas Butler of Freeport wrote:
I was just curious after reading your article about the recent
board meeting where the good news was. After all there was a 15
minute presentation and recognition of five new members being
inducted into the Leo F. Giblyn Chapter of the National Honor
Society. However, I was saddened to see that there was no mention
of the admirable achievement of these five students or the support
of the 50 present members of the Honor Society who welcomed the
new inductees. Maybe I am wrong, but if you really want to make
Freeport a better place you should point out the achievements of
the future of Freeport instead of continuously pointing out the
bad, it would be a much needed moral boast.
Dear Mr. Butler:
Thank you for your interest in FreeportNYNews.com and Freeport.
Freeport is a unique community whose possibilities are endless, but
it hasn't any effective leadership.
Unfortunately, I arrived late at the Feb. 12 Board meeting due to
the impossible parking situation. I was saddened not to have been
able to cover the Honor Society induction and have always tried to
cover such events in the past, as time permitted..
Freeport's present Superintendent, Dr. Eric Eversley and the Board,
has made it particularly difficult for FNYN to get access to any
information, particularly good news.
One of the first things I did after Eversley officially took over
the reigns of the District was ask that the District's press
releases, which everyone knows generally are only good news, be sent
to FNYN. This request was also made of Board members and has been
repeated many times over.
Indeed, the request for press releases was also made to the Village.
When this request was politely made of Pat Murphy, the Village's
Press Officer, I was told to leave her office or she would call the
police. Ms. Murphy has repeated this bizarre behavior on more than
It was explained to both the District and the Village that
FreeportNYNews.com has requests for over 10,000 pages per month,
well over the readership of the Village's Official publication, The
Leader. The possibility also exists that for pure Freeport news, we
might also have more readership that Newsday, who has had no problem
freely stealing our information. (Newsday Reporter Withholds Facts -
I am sorry that we cannot print school district and village
releases. Press releases are meant for everybody. It appears that
Freeport's governments are not all that anxious to have their
version of "good" news in any publication that will not lick
their boots. That is unfortunate.
by Stewart S Lilker (Pub/Ed)
February 12, 2003 (Posted Feb 21)
School Board Stabs Residents In Back
Superintendents Get 30% Raises As Residents Sleep
By Stewart S. Lilker
of one of Long Island's most inept and unresponsive school
districts continued on February 12, 2003, as the "Helter
Skelter" Board of Education made a midnight run and just
moments before midnight, passed monumental raises for the
district's two Assistant Superintendents as the community
The secretiveness of Freeport's Superintendent and
Board of Education was demonstrated once again, as the evening's
agenda, published on the district's web site, lacked any substantive
mention of the raises the district's Assistant Superintendents were
about to receive.
This kind of surprise attack is nothing new for Freeport. In July
of 2002, Superintendent Eversley was awarded a contractual merit
raise from $168,000 to $175,000, in spite of the fact that he did
not fulfill the requirements of his contract. Then, without any
public notice, the Board astounded the public by tacking on an
additional 2% merit increase. Neither the Board, nor Eversley,
despite repeated requests from the public, have ever explained the
rationale for his additional merit raise.
the President of the Freeport Teachers Union, Lillian Guttman, asked
Eversley to explain the Assistant Superintendents' raises, Eversley,
who has taken to running the district by press releases, gave an
incomprehensible explanation of their salaries and contracts,
finally stating in frustration, "I'm looking at the press release."
Eversley fumbled for awhile, then ignoring the fact that the
public approved the 2002/03 salaries in the budget vote, claimed,
"The conversations with the Board started in the summer or late
Historically, the Freeport Board of Education, encouraged by the
NYS Department of Education, has held secret board meetings, made up
resolutions and kept inaccurate board minutes. There is no mention
in any of the 2002 Board minutes of the Central Administrators ever
negotiating with the Board.
President Coward jumped into the fray, trying to bail out
Superintendent Eversley. She explained that previous board did not
operate in the sunshine. She said, "I know that because I was a
party to it?" "I am a believer in the Open Meeting Law."
Coward then blasted former interim Superintendent, David Nydick,
who had previously led the Jericho School District, as it became one
of the highest performing district's on Long Island.
She said, "Those things while in the budget, were done by Mr.
Nydick. Those contracts were approved in a session that was not
abiding by the Open Meeting Laws. People would get increases and
there was no record of it. You can FOIL all day and you will never
find a record. I sat in that room and said it was wrong and I was
told, "'Well, you only have one vote, so we're going to do this
anyway, before a new board comes in.'" "I was there and that's how
it was done."
Coward continued, "We are righting a wrong. You cannot go back
and take back people's money. This was something that was given and
when someone made a mistake, that is not for us to go back to give
it back. We have now put things in writing."
Eversley said, "What we would like to is sort of set the record
it came time to vote on the resolution, Board member Raab made
another of the Board's infamous illegal motions. The motion was so
obfuscated that nobody on the board seemed to know what it was for.
A confused Coward asked, "What is the matter that we are going
into executive session to discuss?"
Raab answered, "An issue of personnel regarding compensation of
Coward said, "I really have some concerns about this. I don't
believe it can be done to go into executive session to talk about
these --unintelligible-- It just doesn't seem right. It's not
appropriate and I would ask you to reconsider. I believe it is
Raab then tried to take his motion back and Board member Ellerbe
explained that he couldn't do that.
As the Board got up to go into executive session, Coward said,
"We'll go into executive session and if it's deemed it's
inappropriate, we'll be back."
a dissenting vote, refused to attend the illegal executive session.
Five minutes after they left, the Board returned. Raab
memorialized the Board's illegal activity. "For the record we had a
discussion in the back that we were going to come back out here."
When the motion came up for a vote, in typical Freeport fashion,
the democratic process went out the window.
There was illegal whispering and inaudible cross talk. After some
time the board got around to voting. As usual, it was impossible to
hear who voted for what. When it appeared that even the Board
members didn't know what was going on, a member of the public asked
the clerk to poll the board. Coward called the resident out of
order. The resident told Coward it was an open meeting and that
everyone must be able to hear the vote.
It didn't make a difference. The board began whispering among
themselves. Eventually, Superintendent Eversley joined in the
inaudible conversation. Finally, he spoke up. He tried to explain
the resolutions to the Board. It was clear that he didn't really
understand them, either.
The Board voted. The clerk refused to poll the board. It was
impossible to hear the vote. The Board went back to their
whispering. After some time it was announced that the raises were
defeated. The resolution failed for failure to get a majority. The
vote was: Coward - for; Cattano - against; Ellerbe - for; Raab and
Pineyro abstaining (without reason).
The meeting sped to an end. Coward concluded with another illegal
motion to enter into executive session. Coward moved "to discuss
negotiations and now four matters of personnel." The illegal motion
Your reporter had an uneasy feeling that the Board was about to
perform another one of their sneak attacks on a sleeping public and
camped outside the Board room.
At 11:45 p.m. the Board went back into open meeting and approved
the raises. The motion was clearly illegal, as it violated the
district policy. It made no difference and no one said anything.
member Joe Cattano was the only one who had the common sense and
courage to vote against the illegal raises. After the vote, Cattano,
visibly upset, put on his coat and left the building.
Assistant Superintendent of Personnel, Mary Bediako, ended up
with a 9.3% raise for the year, retroactive to July, 1, 2003, the
date the approved budget went into effect. In the past three years,
Bediako's salary has gone from $95,000 to $128,960 for an effective
three year increase of 35%.
Assistant Superintendent of Business, Kishore Kuncham, also
didn't make out too shabbily. Kuncham's voter approved 2002/03
salary went from $135,250 to $144,717 for a one year increase of 7%,
once again proving that budget votes in Freeport are meaningless.
Kuncham's three year increase was not to shabby either, with the
Board giving him a 28% increase over the past three years.
With State and Federal aid on the decline and raises for the top
brass of the district running 300% a year over the rate of
inflation, Freeport's residents will be sure to be once again
reaching deep into their pockets at tax time.