The Bangor Daily News did a nice job, in its weekend front-page feature, of facilitating the character assassination of a good man, David Gallant (“Board asks for police at meeting; Bangor School Committee fears disruption by candidate,” BDN, Oct. 7-8).
For those readers who have no experience in dealing with School Superintendent Robert Ervin and other city officials, you might be tempted to accept the story’s characterization of Gallant at face value. But there are quite a few of us others who know different; both in terms of the credibility of city administrators, and in terms of the character of people like Gallant.
To its credit, the Bangor school system excels in many ways. For this, the superintendent deserves and receives – from both the BDN and the school system’s own PR publication – overflowing recognition. But there does exist another side; one that receives virtually no attention from city administrators, officials, and the media.
As a parent, student and family counselor, and door-to-door candidate for public office, I have seen and heard much of this other side. From this informed perspective, a less-than-professional pattern of administrative behavior reveals itself: Denial; defensiveness; ignoring; excuse-making; disingenuousness; stonewalling; and finally, discrediting (of individuals and their concerns).
Is it therefore any surprise that Gallant and others should feel so frustrated? It would behoove the school board, and this paper, to try to take a closer look at the root causes of the discontent experienced by so many Bangor families. Meanwhile, regarding the upcoming elections, my votes will go to those candidates, like David Gallant, who demonstrate empathy and integrity; and the courage to stand up for Bangor’s families when city employees fail to do so.