By CARMEN L. LOPEZ
Regarding Groton's decision to appoint John Ramos as interim schools superintendeng ("Groton schools pick another interim super," Sept. 25), the people of Groton should send a thank-you note to the taxpayers of Bridgeport.
The note should be addressed to Barbara Bellinger, the former president of the Bridgeport Board of Education, and to Patrick Crossin, Leticia Colon, Dolores Fuller, Nereyda Robles and Thomas Cunningham, who were board members in the fall of 2010.
The note should be sent in care of Mayor Bill Finch, without whose foresight and intervention the note would not have been possible. The note should read as follows:
"Thank you for your contribution to our municipal education budget. We, the people of Groton, have just hired John Ramos to be our interim superintendent of schools through June of 2013.
"Without your generosity and compassion for our taxpayers, we would be forced to pay benefits for both Superintendent Ramos and his wife. However, due to your visionary decision in October 2010, the taxpayers of Bridgeport will defray the costs of those benefits, while Dr. Ramos serves as our interim superintendent of schools.
"It is indeed comforting to realize that Bridgeport has agreed to help the hard-pressed taxpayers of eastern Connecticut in spite of your city's recent tax increase.
"This gift is in the best tradition of your former mayor, the great showman Phineas Taylor Barnum. Perhaps we can send you a decommissioned submarine as a token of our appreciation."
As incredible as it sounds, our Bridgeport tax dollars are now at work in eastern Connecticut.
Some may remember that three members of the Board of Education in October 2010, Maria Pereira, Bobby Simmons and Sauda Baraka, voted against this largesse. That is why they were omitted from the proposed thank-you note.
You see, they had this strange dysfunctional notion that their first responsibility was to the students of Bridgeport.
In the article, The Day quoted the Groton Board of Education chairwoman, Kristen Hoyt, as saying that Dr. Ramos' departure from Bridgeport "was based on nothing more than a difference in strategy with a new school board."
Observers in Bridgeport will recall that Dr. Ramos was very good at "strategy."
He successfully strategized a sweetheart deal for himself and his wife obligating Bridgeport taxpayers to pay his and his wife's health benefits until they reached the age of 65.
He was complicit in a strategy orchestrated by Mayor Finch to flat fund the Board of Education for four consecutive years.
When that strategy could no longer be justified, he adopted another strategy. He recommended that the Board of Education refuse to adopt a budget in light of a projected deficit.
When this strategy was executed by a near-unanimous board, Ramos strategized a means of using that refusal to label the board dysfunctional.
He then strategized and conspired behind the backs of some of the members of the elected Board of Education a takeover of the school system by the state of Connecticut.
The night that his strategy was executed, he was doing his best Pontius Pilate imitation by presiding over a religious retreat, while the six-member board majority, most of whom had voted him his benefits, was voting to abdicate its responsibility and request a state takeover of the elected board.
For Groton's sake, let us hope he has a different strategy in mind for them.
Carmen L. Lopez is a retired Superior Court judge. She lives in Bridgeport.