By VOICE STAFF
Shortly after our January 25 issue hit the streets last week, Pelham Mayor David Augustyn sent an email to Pelham Town Council to address the revelation that he had sent what some observers considered an apologetic email to DSBN Trustee Dale Robinson, following Council’s June 2016 decision to support advocates who wished to retain the E. W. Farr school name.
The Mayor’s email to Council, a copy of which was provided to the Voice, is largely an explanation for what last week the Mayor maintained publicly, in an extended online explanation, needed no explanation. He also takes the Voice to task for its coverage of the issue, asserting that because he was being “attacked,” his opinion should have been solicited to rebut the impression that his email to the DSBN struck some as apologetic.
In answer to a Voice request for follow-up comment, the Mayor continued to chide the paper early this week.
“I wanted to inform Council about the true nature of my email to Ms. Robinson and provide them with a copy,” the Mayor wrote in an email on Monday. “Again, I found it necessary to share this with Council because of the misleading story you printed in your paper last week.”
Following publication of the article, the Mayor first posted, then apparently removed, then re-posted online the full text of his email to DSBN Trustee Robinson. When informed of the Mayor’s online explanation last week, the Voice linked to it from our website, and also posted the full text of the disputed email.
In his Monday email to the Voice, the Mayor acknowledged that there was a moment last autumn when the DSBN was having second thoughts about renaming the school.
“I understand that DSBN Trustees did debate reconsidering the matter at their September meeting,” he wrote.
In a letter to the editor in this week’s issue, E.W. Farr proponent Kevin Ker asserts that in a September meeting with DSBN Superintendent Wes Hahn, Hahn told Ker that Mayor Augustyn “was not in support” of Town Council’s letter to the DSBN, a statement which confused Ker at the time, given Council’s unanimous vote to send it.
Only in retrospect, writes Ker, after the Mayor’s email to Trustee Robinson came to light, did the Superintendent’s impression start to make sense.
It remains an open question as to what extent the Mayor’s email to Robinson may or may not have played a role in the DSBN’s eventual decision not to revisit the E. W. Farr naming issue.
At press time, the Mayor had not responded to repeated requests to clarify his personal stance on whether the E.W. Farr name should have been changed initially, or whether he now supports, or opposes, its restitution.