The heavily criticized Milford Board of Education ended the Harvey Polanski Saga last night by agreement. The closed door agreement entailed a payment of $110,000.00 an extension of his health benefits and an immediate suspension of his other benefits.
Milford's Board of education has taken the job of our schools as a top priority, and has now established a record of intolerance toward Superintendents that act in a manner that creates animosity toward co-workers and an illusion of perverse impropriety.
Firn, the Superintendent prior to Polanski was also paid off for similar controversial behavior. The parents of our children in Milford take their kids education seriously, as they should, they also want our school Superintendents to act in a professional manner and refrain from behavior that could be construed as lewd or lascivious.
Supporters of Polanski, alleged the now former Superintendent, was never permitted to tell his side of the story. This may or may not be true, but those investigating this case have had correspondence with his attorney Mr. Dorsey who on numerous occasions had numerous opportunities to set the record straight.
Polanski's court date is set for February 2, 2010 at the Milford court house. This day will most likely be his arraignment on the allegations made against him. While anyone who knows the legal system will tell you that an arrest is not any proof of wrong doing but rather a method of due process, we could expect his case to be placed before the court for a resolution.
Harvey Polanski, will have his opportunity to tell his side of the story should he so chose and those who accused him will have to take the stand and prove beyond a reasonable doubt that there is a basis in fact in the allegations they made against him.
While it is real easy to blame the the Milford Board of Education for the way this issue was handled, we must not forget that it has never been the role of a board to decide guilt or innocence. The job of the board, has and will remain political, as they are the public liaison who represents the wishes of their constituents who elected them. The people of Milford spoke "loud and clear" in Firn's case some three years ago. This should have been a warning to Polanski, that our community demands high moral standards and is intolerant of anything less than that.
This lesson was missed because the newspapers and Mr. Polanski mired themselves in controversy. Controversy that went back to the Rhorigs, also in court for criminal sexual misconduct. The public also had a suspicion over the investigation at his last place of employment. It could be fair to assume that mistakes were made during his hiring process, that the original decision was marred by the fact a thorough enough back ground check was not completed.
However, in defence of that decision, his stellar record and awards, mesmerized and wooed many people at the time. From the onset, and even amid failing CAPT test scores the Board of Education members gave him high praises. Our boards have an uncanny way of keeping their "blinders on" and ignoring the ugly truth until the apex of controversy no longer can be ignored. If anything his critics should be accusing the MBOE of being overly complacent, not "harsh, unfair or extreme."
The decision to rid our schools of this unfortunate situation was, in my view, a good one, and the Milford Board of Education Chairman Mark Stapleton should be commended for signaling yet again that our town will not tolerate, ignore or protect any conduct that is damaging to the image of our school system.
Sincerely, I hope that all Mr. Polanski said on record is in fact true. The people of Milford will be watching as his day in court approaches. Should he be vindicated, I am certain his reputation will be restored and action will be taken against those Principals who bared false witness against him.