By JOSH RESNEK
First term Councilor at Large Gerly Adrien went to a place where few have dared to go who have come before her on the city council when she questioned the school department and the school committee for their response to a host of issues she claims have been brought to her by parents, teachers and administrators, none of whom wished to be identified.
Those who do not care for Adrien, who feel she is an upstart too big for her britches, bristled at her for making comments about how the school department is responding to the epidemic crisis – how it hands out food, how it supplies Chromebooks, how it is letting down seniors, and how the school system is excluding kids from working-class homes living in other communities from going to Everett Public Schools.
Her intrusion into the workings of the school committee and the school department is akin to her joining the army and becoming a general and then telling the navy admirals what they should be doing, or what they have failed to do.
It is not a crime to raise questions as she has done.
It is certainly within the Everett constitutional realm for any publicly elected official to ask whatever questions they wish about other elected public officials or to speak about the mayor.
However, the crossover from questioning fellow city councilors to questioning school committee members is as unwelcome an intersection for school committee members as it is for Adrien’s colleagues on the city council.
“I will hesitate from criticizing her for doing as she’s done,” said Councilor Mike Marchese. “She is free to ask whatever questions she has and to address her concerns about the school committee and the school administration. However, protocol for many years means councilors pay strict attention to the work of the council and the school committee pays strict attention to the work of the school administration,” he added.
It remains to be seen whether or not her messaging has had much of an effect on the school department and the school committee.
She identified parent and employee confidence in the school system raising a prescient question.
In places like Brookline, a much wealthier community, teachers are already being laid off or being given notices about their employment.
Everett has yet to respond to the demands being put upon the schools to trim staff and programs to meet the imperatives of an anticipated shortfall of revenue this year, and a much larger expected shortfall next year.
This has left nearly everyone in the dark but the new superintendent who is holding whatever moves she is going to make close to herself.
“There is a need to know what is going on with this,” Gerly told the Leader Herald.
“It is unfair to everyone involved not to be up front, honest and forthright during a critical time like this,” she said.
The administration is said to believe that when all is said and done, communities like Everett will do better than communities like Brookline in securing revenues from the state.
Right now, as things stand, the state would be hard pressed to meet Everett’s cash needs as it has done in years past.
Unless the Trump Administration finances the state’s cash shortages, the Everett schools and all the school in all the cities and towns are in for a real bad awakening.
Topping the ticket and having served but six months as a councilor at large is not viewed by Adrien as a reason to be constrained.
“I was elected by the voters of this city to guide the city to do the right thing. This is exactly what I am trying to do. If some people don’t care for this type of effort at extending my responsibility it will not stop me from doing so. I am duty bound to represent all the people all the time,” she said.