Op-Ed: Shelton BOE member calls Eldridge comments ‘way out of line’

Letter to Editor

Letter to Editor

Hearst

Recently I heard a replay of the Oct. 5th radio interview on WICC, The Lisa Wexler Show, with Shelton mayoral candidate David Eldridge.

Topics discussed concerned Shelton, it’s growth, the educational system and his positions on each. Incumbent Mayor Lauretti’s record was also discussed as expected in this type of format. I believe the Mayor’s work for the past 15 years speaks for itself and the growth and development that he has guided makes Shelton a great place to live, work and thrive.

In this interview, I believe Mr. Eldridge crossed the line in his references to certain Republican Board of Education members. His description that members of the Mayor’s team “ do not have the interest of the school system at heart” is totally false and inaccurate. He further states “that a good percentage of the members are builders.” Is he implying that the two builder/developer board members are incapable of making decisions in the best interests of the children?

One of the builders, Amy Romano, is also a developer, an interior designer and a mother of three, with two children presently attending Shelton schools. Amy is involved in all board activities especially in curriculum and finance. She also serves as the board secretary.

I am the other builder referenced and as developer/engineer and a longtime Shelton resident, I take pride in my profession as well and having served my City as a volunteer on every building committee for either the renovation or the construction of schools throughout the system. As a board member I gladly serve as chairman for the Buildings, Grounds and Transportation Committee.

The other members of the team have their own distinct career passions. To state that, “you question their sincerity and what their efforts are” is a total insult.

Kathy Yolish, board chair, has more than 35 years teaching experience in the school system and twelve years on the board. She is accessible daily to answers any and all of our questions and has her hand on the pulse of central office administration as well as every full and sub board committees. She is visible at the majority of school functions, and expends 25 to 30 hours per week at the job , clearly showing her dedication to the children and community.

Vice Chair James Orazietti is a passionate civil servant and long time Shelton resident. He takes great pride in his years of volunteering as a youth coach in a variety of sports. He has served on multiple building committees as well as being a multiple term member of the board. James is chair of Finance and Vice Chair of Buildings, Grounds and Transportation — always emphasizing discipline, fiscal responsibility and transparency.

Carl Rizzo, our other member, is also a lifelong resident. He is an electrical engineer and information technology consultant. His passion for Shelton is evident by his many years of coaching youth baseball.

Under his watchful eye, Carl is able to utilize his expertise in monitoring technology upgrades and the many updates and improvements that are now being implemented.

Mr. Eldridge, I respect your career choices as well as those of my colleagues across the aisle. All are admirable in their own right — but respect is a two way street.

My colleagues are the ones “who put their lives into the system.” We have worked through many items these past two years including dealing with a pandemic — the biggest challenge ever. But we did it willingly and collaboratively and will continue to face challenges that come upon us.

We are working for the best of Shelton, the children of our families, friends and neighbors. We work tirelessly- always looking for ways to better the educational experience for the children — our children. We do not, nor ever will “leave our brains at the door.”

John K Fitzgerald is a Republican member of the Shelton Board of Education.