Auditor Says School Administrators Asked for the Money
By Josh Resnek
The ongoing battle between the mayor and School Superintendent Frederick Foresteire did not end Monday night when the City Council voted 9-0 to approve a $500,000 transfer asked for by the mayor to the School Department.
City Auditor Eric Demas insisted that Assistant School Superintendent Charlie Obremski asked for that amount of money several times during discussions before the mayor decided to give it to the School Department.
However, Demas failed to recall or to mention that the mayor requested the City Council give the money to the School Department and that it was not the other way around as he suggested. No request had been made by the School Committee.
Demas also failed to discuss the mayor’s travel ban, which he announced after the $5 million transfer to the School Department several weeks ago following a contentious period of battling between the mayor and Foresteire.
The mayor quickly rescinded the order after parents and students protested that their sons and daughters on the award winning Everett High School Band would not be allowed to march in a national celebration of Memorial Day in Washington DC, and that the EHS percussion ensemble and choir and the noted STEM group – all award winning groups – would not be allowed to travel out of state to compete.
When the mayor rescinded the order, he later announced he was asking the City Council to approve a $500,000 transfer to make it happen, after first informing Foresteire that this was what he was going to do.
“Mr. Obremski asked for that amount of money several times during discussions we had about the travel issue,” said Demas.
Obremski might have suggested that amount as Demas told the City Council but he did not ask for the transfer, nor did Foresteire, and the record of the public meetings shows this.
Demas repeated his claim that the School Department seeking such transfers was placing the city’s bond rating in question, when the bond rating is not in question, another instance of revisionism by the talented city auditor whose memory seemed to fail him Monday night at the City Council meeting.
A week ago, the City Council Ways and Means Committee met on the $500,000 request from the mayor where it was discussed for 1 1/2 hours.
“Is this the same thing we talked about last week?” asked City Councilor Mike Marchese expressing amazement the subject was going around the table again.
“Yes it is,” his colleagues told him.
“Let’s vote on this right now,” he said.
They did just that.
The measure passed 9-0.