Don O’Day Resigns as Chairman of BoE
Eliza Llewellyn '14, Web News Editor
August 29, 2012 • 53 views
Filed under News
Donald O’Day stepped down from his position as the Board of Education Chairman, making his formal announcement of resignation at the Board of Education (BOE) meeting on August 13. O’Day resigned as Chairman due to the time pressures of balancing both his position on the BOE and his job as chief administrative officer in Citi Mortgage’s Stamford risk management division.
“To do a good job as chairman, it’s a full time commitment,” O’Day said. “I had to pick.”
Jim Marpe, Vice Chairman of the BOE, will take over as an interim Chairman. The Democratic Town Committee will nominate the seventh member of the Board, who must be approved by the rest of the BOE. With a full board, the members will take an official vote on the new Chairman in October.
O’Day’s departure marks the end of almost seven years of service on the Board. O’Day was elected as a member in 2005 and became Chairman in 2009. Throughout his time as Chairman, O’Day has worked to facilitate a collaborative environment between political parties and among the town funding bodies. “[O’Day] brought a quality to the Board that was collaborative and not combative,” said Marpe.
“The best way to create a collaborative environment is to not consider political parties,” O’Day said. “They should mean nothing for the Board of Ed.” O’Day’s nonpartisan approach is evident within the group. His vice-chair, Marpe, is Republican. “I don’t believe I would have been vice-chair if it had not been for Don’s nonpartisan approach to working,” Marpe said.
Beyond encouraging non-partisan cooperation within the Board, O’Day worked to make the BOE’s relationship with the Board of Finance (BOF) and the Representative Town Meeting (RTM), other town funding bodies, more communicative and positive. The Board’s relationships with these groups are integral in creating an effective budget, as both the BOF and RTM can review and modify the budget proposed by the BOE.
“My goal was to provide as much transparency about where the school spends to the BOF and RTM,” O’Day said. “That type of transparency helped the schools get the best budget we could have expected.”
Members of the other funding bodies also appreciated O’Day’s non-combative approach. “I felt like we were working together towards the same goal,” said Hadley Rose, moderator of the RTM. “He kept everyone in the loop of communication.” O’Day provided the BOF and RTM with benchmark data about spending and worked to prove that there was no frivolous spending within the schools.
O’Day’s perseverance paid off in terms of the efficiency of the budget process, even in difficult economic times. “For the last two years, there’s been virtually no debate over the budget,” said Rose. “[The BOE] presented it, and we approved it in a matter of minutes.”
This past year, for the first time ever, the BOF and RTM unanimously approved the proposed budget without a single cut.
O’Day has set a precedent for teamwork, a quality which ultimately helps garner enough money for the schools, funding activities and enrichment in the classroom. “If one kid did better because of my time on the board, then I was successful,” O’Day said.