To the Editor:
A perfect example of despotic political behavior and suppression of basic civil liberties has been on display during the Iredell-Statesville Schools Board of Education’s last three meetings. Chairman Bill Howell’s dictatorial approach to school board leadership has polarized the members of the board and subjected the entire board to public humiliation and criticism.
The focus of Howell’s oppression has been his petty accusations against fellow school board member Mike Kubiniec. Howell has solidly established a four-member voting bloc support his vendetta against Kubiniec. They have voted to remove Kubiniec from his position as vice chairman and threaten to censure him during a future meeting. It appears that Howell and his coterie don’t like Kubiniec because he asks a lot of questions, because he is unsatisfied with the status quo when it’s not working for the school children, or simply, as has been suggested, because his accent isn’t from the North Carolina Piedmont.
At the November school board meeting, Howell’s animosity was also directed against board member Anita Kurn, who asked a question about another board member who allegedly no longer resides within her district, which is against the law. Howell applied every procedural maneuver during the meeting to rebuff Kurn’s question because the person under scrutiny votes with him on every issue. If she were to be removed from the board that would upset Howell’s four-vote majority. Knowingly ignoring or covering up this residency question about a board member might even be a misdemeanor.
Howell behaves as if his word sets the rules for the entire school board, bending established procedures to suit himself, while imposing unfair restrictions on speech of the other board members.
Because of his outrageous behavior, Chairman Howell ought to be removed from the board. Unfortunately, we citizens of Iredell County must endure this dictator’s behavior until he is up for re-election.
Meanwhile, the important issues facing the school board will continue to take a back seat.