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In Girard, Grumley could soothe troubled waters



Published: Thu, November 1, 2001 @ 12:00 a.m.



As the only incumbent Girard school board member currently running for re-election, Rosemary "Dolly" Schmitt must necessarily take the heat for the unfortunate circumstances surrounding the environmental problems at the new junior high school -- problems that have caused ill health to a number of children and their teachers, that have bitterly divided a community and have spurred multimillion dollar lawsuits against the district.

In her defense, Mrs. Schmitt maintains that until an April 2001 school board meeting, the board had been unaware of parents' concerns that first arose the previous fall.

Communication breakdown: The community may never know whether the board was truly unaware of the extent to which families and faculty were affected or whether the then-superintendent Anthony D'Ambrosio -- now with the Trumbull County Board of Education -- was trying to keep the lid on the explosive situation because of his own alleged involvement in the decision-making that led to the growth of molds and bacteria.

We find it hard to believe that in the tightly-knit Girard community the board had no inkling of the situation. Either they should have known, or they should have had enough control over the superintendent that such secrets weren't kept from them.

Regardless, when the concerns became explosive, the board reacted by circling the wagons and treated the then justifiably angry parents as if they were nothing but money-hungry leeches making excuses for malingering offspring.

This is hardly the way to deal with a public relations nightmare. In fact, when Mrs. Schmitt met with The Vindicator's editorial board, she said the only thing she was guilty of was "not taking seriously enough what rumors and misinformation could do." The environmental reports were hardly misinformation.

Don Rex, who was running for the school board until he was appointed to a special part-time administrative post with the schools last Tuesday would have made a fine school board member. But he has now withdrown his candidacy.

Of the other candidates, neither Dr. David Hunkus, Tony B. Maiorana, Edward J. Noufer Jr., Nancy Ross, Carla Manquette nor Peter T. Zeller chose to meet with The Vindicator and cannot be considered for an endorsement.

Mark Zuppo, a sales representative and part-time parks and recreation director for the city of Girard is an enthusiastic candidate but does not bring to the table as much as Thomas F. Grumley.

Grumley: Grumley, a Girard High School graduate and operations manager for Interstate Processors has been serving as Girard 4th Ward councilman and has now chosen to set his sights on the school board -- where his knowledge of government and level-headedness is sorely needed. With his commitment to bringing the people of the community together, Girard voters should feel confident casting their votes for him.




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