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With words like these 

Things sure were nasty before last fall's District 11 school board election. And if you thought that since then, dawn had broken over a new day of cooperation, you clearly were suffering from what board member Eric Christen would call a pathological episode.

But since I'm as Christen also would say into truth-telling, and against personal attacks, let's just take a walk through some recent communiqus between school board members and let them speak for themselves.

On Feb. 3, board member Craig Cox sent a note asking for a response to an open-records request he had filed a week earlier with the district. Colorado law requires the district to respond within three working days, and it had not. "My request was for all [temporary] and contract hires signed by the superintendent since 1 July, 2005 and for amounts of $50,000 or less," Cox wrote. "I would appreciate an expedited response at this point."

Superintendent Sharon Thomas sent a note to Cox, explaining that while no such document currently exists, staff was "working as hard and as quickly as possible" to prepare a report that would address his questions about temporary hires made on her watch. Thomas also expressed her understanding that "the practice of the Board has been to have a majority of the Board approve such time-consuming requests."

Newly elected member Tami Hasling, who, along with the rest of the board, had been copied on the e-mail, agreed with Thomas. "I find that this board does not serve as a board but as individuals, and that is not acceptable or professional!" she wrote.

Off to the races! Cox sent a nastygram back to everyone, which included this gob:

"I wonder, Tami, if "professionalism' includes having to take your marching orders from [community activist] Mary Ellen McNally, or lieing [sic] to the public during the campaign about what you stand for? If you think for one minute that I will wait for someone like you or John [Gudvangen, board president] to give me permission to do my duties as a Board member, you are delusional. Turning a blind eye to your fiduciary responsibilities is not "professional.' Worse yet, turning a blind eye to the lack of academic achievement because your handlers told you to do so is sickening."

Hasling couldn't restrain herself: "Personal attacks will not get us anywhere. I do not take marching orders from anyone, nor will I and I DO NOT appreciate you making these allegations."

Quick, somebody untether Christen! Here he comes now! Christen first accused Hasling of an unclear violation involving his personal life. He was just warming up:

"We all know," Christen wrote, "how low you and your handlers will go with re: to gutter politics (I won't even touch on your pathological episodes where in the space of two weeks you both hit me then accused me of "verbally harassing you', in a hall full of people) nonetheless I expect to never hear anything about "personal attacks' or "truth telling' come out of your mouth again."

Not done.

"After the election where you and your handlers lied about three decent people who have actually accomplished something in life I had held out hope that perhaps there was a chance that you and John [Gudvangen] would actually adhere to your election promises and so I gave you a chance, despite my wife's imploring me to have nothing more to do with the unbalanced and incompetent people who infect D11."

Still not done.

"You and John are just mouthpieces for the unions and McNally and her ilk Tammy [sic], and it's your actions, or lack thereof these past three months, which prove it.So please spare us this "I'm my own woman' BS, it's as tiring as your almost canine affection for the status quo in D11."

Gudvangen got the last word in at least for now. "This is the environment in which we work as a board and superintendent this is what we brace for every day," he wrote. "With words (and actions) like these I think we have reason to fear for District 11's future."

degette@csindy.com

  • Things sure were nasty before last fall's District 11 school board election.

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