School Board appointee wants colleague booted from audit committee

skinney@keynoter.comJanuary 1, 2014 

A member of the Monroe County School District's Audit and Finance Committee has filed a protest with the School Board against the committee's chairman, saying he needs to step off the panel because of politics.

Roger McVeigh took the action following Stuart Kessler's elevation to the chairmanship on Dec. 9. The vote among committee members was 4-1, with McVeigh against.

The five-member Audit and Finance Committee meets once a month. Its members are appointed, one each, by the School Board.

Following Kessler's move to chairman, McVeigh fired off an e-mail to the board asking that Kessler not only lose the chairmanship but be booted off the panel altogether. In his Dec. 12 e-mail, McVeigh lays out his opposition on two fronts.

"One, I believed it would be in the best interest of the AFC for other members to take a turn as chair," he wrote. "Secondly and most importantly, I felt it would be inappropriate for Stuart to remain on the AFC once he acknowledged in the media that he was considering entering the race for School Board, which I believed was imminent."

Kessler hasn't confirmed he'll run against District 1 board member Robin Smith Martin in 2014, but there has been much speculation that the former candidate for Monroe County clerk will try again for elected office.

McVeigh speculated that Kessler's "election as chair would trigger more self-serving conduct."

Kessler said McVeigh's comments "hurt the committee. Difference of opinion on the committee is a good thing but we all need to be on the same page."

"It's a very difficult job," he continued. "Sometimes you have to be a conveyor of news people don't want to hear."

School Board member Ed Davidson, a strong supporter of Kessler, weighed in on Dec. 13, e-mailing board members and some district employees, calling McVeigh "highly disingenuous."

Davidson wrote that "over a period of several years I have personally witnessed Roger's strongly evidenced, starkly stated, guttural and emotional, and decidedly personal dislike of Stuart."

Davidson also called out McVeigh for tamping down Audit and Finance Committee investigation into Horace O'Bryant Middle School construction change orders. His behavior "has repeatedly proven not to have been in the best interests of the AFC or the" School District, Davidson wrote.

Board member Andy Griffiths chalked it up to McVeigh "venting some frustration. We've all been there. Move on."

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