File this one under, “Things that make you go ‘hmmm.’”
Bridgeport’s Board of Education is looking at the possibility of retaining its own lawyer, instead of using the city’s attorney and contracting out when individual representation is required, as it does currently.
The stated purpose is to save the school district some money, but are there underlying political motivations involved? Is the goal a more complete break with the city because the Working Families Party-controlled board finds itself at odds with the more reasoned, thoughtful city administration?
Consider what Chairwoman Sauda Baraka said in January, when the Board of Education was attempting an ill-advised split with the city police department: “This district was looking at truly separating the city of Bridgeport Board of Education from the city.”
Her stated reason was that the proposed separation “has to do with certain services, financing and funding.” Yeah, that, and the political fault line that has all but torn Bridgeport apart.
Last year, the board spent about $1 million on legal fees. Finding a way to limit legal spending would be grand, but lest we forget, former board member turned political operative Maria Pereira has expressed herself emotionally on the subject:
That’s then-Board of Education Member Maria Pereira screaming in public at City Attorney Mark Anastasi last year. Pereira, if you didn’t know, blew her top at Anastasi months before leaving the board to run Bridgeport’s Working Families Party.
That’s the same Working Families Party to which Baraka and a majority of the board belong.
So, remind me again why the board wants to hire its own lawyer?
Second question: Who would they end up hiring after the RFP process has run its course?
The District Parent Advisory Council is already referring to Carmen Lopez as “counsel,” the same Carmen Lopez whose spurious lawsuit caused the city to spend so much money on legal fees in the first place. [Education Bridgeport, 1/29/2014]
The board processing committee is set to meet this Wednesday, Feb. 6, on the issue of a new school board lawyer.
Let’s hope the fix isn’t in yet.
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