November 26, 2014
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Three School Committee members endorse mayor

School Committee chairwoman Bethany Furtado, vice chairwoman Terri Medeiros and clerk Karen Bachus have endorsed Mayor Scott Avedisian in the upcoming Republican primary on Sept. 9 between Avedisian and challenger Stacia Petri.

The three members were listed in a press release emailed to the Beacon from the mayor’s office stating their endorsement.

According to the release, while there have been differences of opinion with the city administration, the three members “have total confidence that by working together with Mayor Avedisian, we can bring the proper focus back to reinvesting into the educational system of the city of Warwick.”

The releases concludes, “We believe that the best team to lead Warwick schools into the future includes Mayor Avedisian at the helm.”

Furtado said a conversation regarding the endorsement did not take place with the entire committee. She said she and her colleagues came up with the idea “independently but together.”

“Separately but collectively we support and endorse the mayor, so I thought it was appropriate,” she said. “I try to keep my politics to myself, but I’ve worked with the mayor for the past eight years and I believe he’s been doing an excellent job for the city.”

Furtado said since she’s been on the committee, endorsements haven’t come up in the past.

The move is not only unusual, but unprecedented, as the School Committee has been a non-partisan political body since the 1970s.

“I worked hard in the ’70s to make the school committee non-partisan, and I’ve held that belief ever since we accomplished that in 1978,” said committee member Eugene Nadeau.

When asked about the mayoral endorsement, Nadeau said he didn’t know anything about it.

“I’m surprised they would do it without consulting the rest of the committee,” Nadeau said of his colleagues. “It puts us in an unwarranted position politically; I would not have recommended it.”

Nadeau said he didn’t approve of the move.

“The school committee is non-partisan and it’s run that way for a reason,” he said, adding he doesn’t have anyone political helping him when he campaigns. “I find that disturbing.”

Nadeau said he was also surprised the mayor would release the information in an email to the media.

“To make political hay out of the School Committee is the wrong message to the people,” he said. “It’s discouraging. It belittles what our job is.”

Nadeau said he is a Republican and a conservative and that he’s known Avedisian for 23 years.

“I helped him when he ran for Ward 1 on the City Council, but I don’t think he’s been helpful to the School Committee by not releasing bond money so we can make repairs to school buildings,” he said. “For the fire code upgrades we’ve had to implement, we have to pay the principal and interest.”

Nadeau said the endorsement “leaves a lot to be desired.”

“To endorse him [Avedisian] in the primary, how do they know where Stacia stands on schools,” Nadeau said of his colleagues. “She says, in her campaign, that the tax increases need to stop and the money needs to go toward schools and road repairs.”

Nadeau said anyone can support who they want individually.

“Anyone can support who they want, but to do it as a majority of the School Committee for the primary, I find it beyond what we should be doing as School Committee members,” he said.

Committee member Jennifer Ahearn could not be reached for comment for this story.


Comments
6 comments on this item

I find it hard to believe that this was done for anything other than personal gain by both sides.

She said she and her colleagues came up with the idea “independently but together.”

The fact that the Mayor also took advantage of this indicates that there has to be just a tad of; "you scratch our back Mr. Mayor and we'll scratch yours"

Well done WB for letting Mr. Nadeau say his piece at least.

This is a joke, Bachus is another one of the Mayors Puppets. He knows he is in trouble this time. People are tired of giving their paycheck to the City of Warwick . Stacia has guts. The Mayor and a few of the City Council need to go.

Wow, I guess we know who doesn't care about the kids.

This is embarrassing. All 3 of these women ought to resign, as they have shown no ability to lead and only the ability to follow. Furtado cracks at the first sight of any opposition. She is spineless and the taxpayers and students of Warwick deserve someone better than this political puppet.

Bachus has no idea what she's doing. I thought she had a head on her shoulders, but she clearly cannot think for herself. The fact that this e-mail was released by the mayors office is a disgrace. The committee is supposed to be non-partisan. Now consolidation can be exposed for what it is...an attempt by the superintendent, mayor, and majority of the school committee members to try and lay off teachers. All while D'agostino continues to operate a top heavy department full of "yes men".

It's a shame the filing deadline has passed as I wish anyone, and I mean anyone ran against these 3 idiots. I can assure you ladies, you won't be as lucky in 2 years. The mayor needs to go, and I hope these 3 clowns follow him out the door.

Mr. Nadeau is correct, the school committee has been and should continue to be non partisan and for those three members to endorse anyone is simply wrong.

Bachus is the coward who refused to vote on whether to save or not save the gifted and talented program in the elementary schools (the ALAP program). If I were the mayor, I wouldn't want to have her endorsement, as it may be the kiss of death for him. At least I know who I'm not voting for for mayor this time around.

Completely ridiculous. Bachus and Furtado are members of the Warwick Democratic Committee, openly supporting/endorsing a Republican Mayor, when they are supposed to be NONPARTISAN! What kind of leadership is this?

On the bright side, at least they didn't table this descision until a year after the election.

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