The Carlisle Mosquito Online

Friday, December 4, 2009

Sykes resigns from the School Committee

[Ed. note: The following letter was addressed to the Selectmen and a copy sent to The Mosquito.]


I wish to resign as a member of the Carlisle School Committee (CSC). I have made this difficult decision after long and careful consideration, because there are serious philosophical differences between my own view regarding the role of the CSC in the governance of the Carlisle Schools and that of the other members of the CSC. Although no component of the budget of the Carlisle Schools should be immune from examination by the CSC, I disagree with the process that was used and with the resulting decisions made by the majority of the CSC regarding the administrative structure of the Carlisle Schools. In my view, the CSC is inserting itself into the management of the Carlisle Schools in an inappropriate way and I do not wish to participate.

My membership on the Carlisle School Building Committee and the Long Term Capital Requirements Committee was assigned by the CSC; therefore, I wish to resign these positions as well so that the CSC can replace me with their own selections.

Very truly yours

Wendell G. Sykes

Indian Hill Road

School Committee meeting was surreal

To the Editor:

I attended the School Committee meeting on Wednesday, November 18, and had a surreal experience. The Superintendent Marie Doyle resigned and the consultant from NESDEC recapped the proposal to move to a part-time superintendent model in order to save $89,000 per year (not the $169,000 number in the NESDEC report). The consultant admitted that he didn’t know which job functions were not going to be performed under this new model (except that they were probably not very important). During the approximately two hours of public protest at this plan, there was nearly unanimous support for Marie Doyle and her achievements over the last few years. The School Committee appeared uncomfortable when they revealed, under questioning, that they had not asked the superintendent whether this money could be saved as part of the normal budgeting process.

After hearing the extensive complaints about this proposed plan, the School Committee voted (four to one), without any discussion, to adopt this part time superintendent/principal model. It was clear that this decision had already been made before the meeting, but the unspoken question lingering in the air was “in what forum was this decision made?”

The effect of this vote will be the loss of the superintendent, the termination of one of the principals (which one?) and the start of a costly search process. The smart course of action for both of our current principals will be to start looking for another job as quickly as possible. Thus we could end up losing four of the five members of the leadership team within 12 months. In any event, we will lose the educational vision for our multi-million dollar school building project.

I recommend that the School Committee work with, rather than against, the superintendent and her administrative team to find the $89,000 budget cuts for next year, and thereby preserve the continuity of education vision and leadership.

Philip Gladstone

Curve Stree

It is time to look forward and learn from our mistakes

To the Editor:

I just finished reading the Mosquito and feel quite sad by the state of the fiscal hole we have dug for ourselves. Recently our Superintendent of Schools, Marie Doyle, resigned after the School Committee followed a recommendation to demote her position to one of principal and superintendent. Until 1998, Carlisle always had a principal who was also a superintendent; whether that is the right move now, only time will tell. What is telling is that we have lost an excellent school advocate and dedicated education professional in order to save money during the current fiscal crisis. The Mosquito also stated that the DPW may have to defer maintenance due to losing two people from a staff of ten. That is a 20% reduction in manpower. Deferring maintenance does not mean something won’t deteriorate as fast; it means we wait till it is a bigger and more expensive problem when we get to it. That form of budget manipulation has always been a long-term disaster and a short-term fix. I have driven on Carlisle roads and deferring road and tree repairs further is probably a winter hazard in the making!

Our Fire Department plans to turn off the heat in the building. Our Police Department plans to have five days a week without a midnight shift to meet the planned budget cuts. I hope no one has an emergency or a burglary during those time periods. My fear is that we will soon force cuts so that both John Sullivan and Gary Davis will follow Marie Doyle’s example and leave. We created a system that stresses our town employees more than the joy of working in this bucolic town of Carlisle.

Our budgets require minimal increases without reserves during the good times and cuts that harm during bad times. I believe that when things start to improve in the future, we should look at our system and plan differently and allow for reserves so that we can weather these economic storms better.

Richard Colman

Audubon Lane

What is humor?

To the Editor:

I am writing in response to Rik Blum’s Carlisle comments (“A Taste of Primary Rib.” November 20) for two reasons: to support him in his efforts to add a degree of levity to our gem of a local newspaper, which these days seems to be full of mostly bad news, and to offer a brief tutorial on humor to the letter writers who objected to it.

Funny means you make fun – of gender, ethnicity, age, youth, prosperity, poverty, religion – any and every aspect of human life. (Speaking of religion, did you hear the one where a rabbi, a priest and a Protestant minister walk into a bar, and the bartender says, “What is this, some kind of joke?”)

To be funny, a joke must have an edge. Otherwise we’re left with “Rose is Rose” and “Family Circus.” The thing about an edge is, it cuts, however slightly. To have a real sense of humor is to be able to laugh extra hard at a joke that gores your own particular sacred cow.

So folks, put down your dukes and relax. Humor is by definition not politically correct. It mocks political correctness. It pokes holes in every sort of pretense to let the gas out. I’ll close with a cartoon caption that could offend many people in Carlisle if they are humor-impaired. Father, in three-piece suit, to son: “I’m sorry, my boy, but we WASPs have no traditional wisdom to impart.”

Roger Goulet

Westford Street

Thanks to Sandi Martinez

To the Editor:

A shout-out thank you to our State Committeewoman Sandi Martinez for being the force behind organizing the Carlisle Republican Town Committee (RTC) after several years of absence. This is yet another example of Sandi’s inspirational resolve, work ethic, and leadership at work for the people in the 3rd Middlesex District and the Republican Party.

Sandi has a history of fighting for the people, for a long time. She is a strong voice against the culture of corruption, an aggressive advocate for reforms to excessive relegation and taxation on businesses and citizens of the Commonwealth and she is committed to transparency in every area of government. Sandi Martinez’s principles plus values inspire citizens across the district from all political parties... and she will be a strong voice for We the People of the 3rd Middlesex District on Beacon Hill when she is elected to the Massachusetts Senate in 2010!

If you have interest in the Carlisle RTC, please contact the chairman, Dr. Jim Bohn at 1-978-371-9593.

Citizens of the 3rd Middlesex District are encouraged to contact State Committeewoman Sandi Martinez if she can be of assistance. Also don’t hesitate to contact her at if you wish information about town committees in the district, the “Friends Of” local town committees or to learn more about Sandi’s 2010 platform – Leading Massachusetts to Prosperity.

Sally J. Naumann

Lowell Street

Support for Mike Capuano

To the Editor:

I am writing to tell you why I am supporting Mike Capuano in the Democratic Primary for Ted Kennedy’s Senate seat, and to encourage others to support him also.

In every election, I make an effort to go to as many events as I can to hear all candidates in the important races, so that I can pick the strongest Progressive candidate. In the current senate race, I am extremely confident that Mike Capuano fits this description. He is extremely passionate about his progressive ideals, and supports: single-payer healthcare; getting out of Iraq and Afghanistan ASAP; protecting human rights and civil rights everywhere; working to halt climate change (he supports Cape Wind); equal marriage and a woman’s right to choose; ethics reform; a middle class tax cut; and a balanced budget. He is known for working across the aisle and has brought much federal funding to Massachusetts for highway and transit projects. He was a five-term Mayor of Somerville and was responsible for a significant turn-around in that city. He has since been a Representative to Washington for 11 years, gaining great experience in how to get things done on Capital Hill.

Mike has been endorsed by six of the nine other Massachusetts Representatives to D.C. and has been formally endorsed by Mike Dukakis (his first primary endorsement since being Governor). He has been endorsed by nearly 30 Unions and many organizations, including the Progressive Democrats of America. He has been endorsed by prominent women including Nancy Pelosi, Kitty Dukakis and Diane Patrick. Even the Democratic Town Committee of Sudbury has formally endorsed Mike.

We are now only days from the primary. If you feel as I do that Mike Capuano is the best candidate for Ted Kennedy’s Senate seat, I urge you to contact me 1-978-369-7802 to help with sign holding at the polls on December 8 and possibly some visibility this weekend.

Bob Wallhagen

Timothy Lane

Chest thanks donors

To the Editor:

The Community Chest would like to thank our generous and compassionate donors who, despite a difficult economy, have contributed to our annual campaign this fall. We are almost half-way to our goal of raising $650,000 for local human services. With the continued help of residents and businesses, we will be able to fund more than 35 agencies in 2010. If you have not contributed yet, please consider donating to the Chest so that we can help as many residents as possible. Every single donation makes a difference in our community.

Astrid Williams, Executive Director

Concord-Carlisle Community Chest

Gleason Trustees say thank you

To the Editor:

The Gleason Library construction is now at about the halfway point and the Gleason Library Board of Trustees would like to take this opportunity to offer our thanks. The construction has been going very well. Already the water penetration has been greatly reduced. Most of the brick has been repaired and re-pointed. Currently they are working on the slate roof and the foundation. We hope to have the entire project completed in January.

Many people have contributed to the repair and restoration of the historic envelope of our library. We would like to take this opportunity to thank Ginny Lamere and the Carlisle Garden Club for removing the daylilies, the Seawrights of Seawright Gardens for taking care of the daylilies over the winter, John Bakewell, our town arborist, for caring for our oak tree and marking where construction can proceed and Mrs. Gray’s third-grade class for donating four Dwarf Alberta spruce trees for landscaping. Shelagh Tomiano from the library, Priscilla Dumka our Town Accountant, and Mark Ellis our Project Liason, have all done outstanding work to help make the historic envelope repair go so smoothly. Everyone on the Gleason Library Staff has gone above and beyond, rallied to the cause and helped in so many ways. Along with everyone else involved in the project we would like to thank the BRIC Committee that guided us through hiring an architect and a construction firm and are still very involved with the repair of the building. Lastly we would like to thank all of our friends and neighbors in Carlisle for your cooperation and patience, especially with the library parking and library closings.

We can’t wait for you all to see how great the library will look (and be water-tight) when the construction is finished. Thank you for giving us the opportunity to repair and restore the Gleason Library so it will stand for at least another 114 years.

Priscilla Stevens

Ann Rosas

Larissa Shyjan

Gleason Library Board of Trustees

Election Day, December 8

To the Editor:

The polls will be open next Tuesday, December 8, 2009, from 7 a.m. until 8 p.m. for the Special Primary Election for the Senate seat to replace the late Ted Kennedy.

If you will be in the hospital or out of town on Election Day, December 8, 2009, you are eligible to vote by absentee ballot. Absentee ballots are available until noon on Monday, December 7, 2009. Ballots must be returned by 8 p.m. on Tuesday, December 8, 2009.

You may request an absentee ballot for yourself or for a family member and you may vote in the office until the noon deadline on December 7, 2009. Blank ballots for family members will need to be mailed to the voter; they cannot be hand carried by a relative. Anyone who has already requested an absentee ballot for this election is eligible to vote in person at the polls as long as their absentee ballot has not yet been processed.

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact the Town Clerk’s office by telephone at 1-978-369-6155 or by email at

Charlene M. Hinton

Town Clerk

© 2009 The Carlisle Mosquito