DiMiceli: Ask Why West Hempstead BOE Won't Release Legal Opinion

West Hempstead BOE Trustee Cynthia DiMiceli responds to allegations that she violated board ethics by mailing letters regarding the school budget.

Dear West Hempstead Residents,

In response to about my alleged ethical violation of my obligations as a board member, I have requested the opinion of our school board attorney to be released. 

Those of you that were present at the Board meeting on June 19 heard that the attorney stated that he had rendered a written opinion to the Board of Education on May 31 in regards to the matter of: Code of Ethics and Responsibilities for School Board Members. I asked the Board to waive the client/attorney privilege with regards to this matter at the Board meeting on June 26.  

The Board voted by 5-2 to NOT release this memo. If my critics feel that they are right, they should ask the Board of Education why aren’t they releasing the legal opinion of their own attorney? I will leave it up to you to assume the response. 


Cynthia Di Miceli

TChermanski June 28, 2012 at 12:53 PM
TChermanski June 28, 2012 at 12:57 PM
Somebody please wake me up when this board member decides to stop whining about a poor decision she made and gets back to what she was elected to do. I can understand why those in West Hempstead are mad with her if this is how she handles school business.
Lorraine DeVita June 28, 2012 at 02:07 PM
We are talking about Ethics- and a proported violation of the code of ethics of a WH trustee- Seems to me as an outsider that IF Ms Dimiceli violated her oath to abide by the code of ethics the Attorney for the District would have JUMPED on it and the Board would immediately have asked for her resignation. However instead the Board Pres. plays the publicly embarrass her card by sending a Letter to the editor KNOWING full well as per their ATT'y That Ms dimiceli DID NOT VIOLATE the code of ethics. This board ALL needs a LESSON including Ms Dimiceli and the BOARD President on ADULT BEHAVIOUR. You got issues people ! DO NOT MANIPULATE the parents and taxpayers to gain favor for your side. AGAIN this community should Call NYSSBA and DEMAND an intervention because right now your BOARD is acting like 6yr olds. They cant LEAD a district effectively if their main goal is to embarrass and discredit each other. If she didnt violate her oath then let people know and put an end to this if she did demand her resignation. But to play the "we wont tell game" is childish and quite truthfuly lends credence to Ms dimicelis claims.. GROW UP WH. Your kids deserve better! Your tapxayers should BE demanding better from ALL of you!
Christine Fennes June 28, 2012 at 03:19 PM
Thank you TChermanski, my opinion exactly (except the children of our district fare much better when Cynthia is not handling school business. Cynthia needs this attention to thrive, feeds monster!
Christine Fennes June 28, 2012 at 03:23 PM
Now, for Cynthia's cohort Lorraine DeVita. You're right, you're an outsider. Again, come to a meeting and see Cynthia in action, it is very different from when she's at your kitchen table. Again, Cynthia is violating the code of ethics by not supporting a board decistion. And legally she could not say at the board meeting what was in the memo, yet she said (or suggested) that it said she did not violate the code of ethics, which violated it again. The thing is the people, which is many believe me, who are upset with Cynthia need to stop talking with her like nothing is the matter. She is interested in nothing but causing controversy and stroking her ego. Please, residents of WH, stop helping her.
Christine Fennes June 28, 2012 at 03:25 PM
Forgot to put this in, if she didn't violate the code by saying the lawyer said she wasn't guilty, it would only be because she was lying and the memo DID NOT EXONERATE HER!
Lorraine DeVita June 28, 2012 at 04:39 PM
Ms Fennes, If it did NOT exonerate her WHY in the WORLD would she want it made public & the BOARD would have asked for her resignation immediately. Secondly i am not her COHORT.dont know the woman.. PERHAPS YOU ALL need to realize that just because ONE person is voicing dissenting opinions does NOT mean that person is WRONG.. You dont LIKE the woman Fine thats your perogative HOWEVER, to malign someone publicaly when you have NO Proof of impropriety nor any basis to substanciate your claims you walk a very precarious line of libel. IF THE BOARD collectively wanted to put an END to this childishiness then they would unannimously voted to reveal the Lawyers findings. So my question to YOU ms Fennes is why didnt they? Why didint they go to executive session & demand her resignation, why didnt they even when she WAIVED her right to privacy support her decision READ the darn finding? Perhaps all the BS would stop? PERHAPS the BOARD WANTS the community divided? I strongly suggest MS Dimiceli CALL NYSSBA & demand an intervention to resolve this childishness by ALL involved. Board members & PARENTS & taxpayers ALIKE. As AN outsider let me say this you ALL are embarrassing your district with this pettiness. Get over it &yourselves & move on & FOCUS on the business of RUNNING A SD. Your budget passed, so stop whining. FYI - MOST SB meetings are ripe with interjection, discussion , dissent form Board members. Its what they are supposed to do.. Review an issue from all sides
Lorraine DeVita June 28, 2012 at 05:01 PM
then debate the pros and cons and make an INFORMED decision..IT would be MORE suspect if your board DIDNT do that and just blindly followed Admin recommendations Its their JOB and LEGAL RESPONSIBILTY to question EVERYTHING to insure the fiduciary rights of the TAXPAYERs as well as the educational rights of the Students are protected. Thats why you HAVE board.
Felix Procacci June 29, 2012 at 11:45 AM
Release the legal opinion. The president of the WH Board has said in response to a comment I made in the Patch that the WH School District is transparent. Let's see some transparency.
Christine Fennes June 29, 2012 at 03:15 PM
Again! I wish people from outside our community would attend a meeting and see what we put up with and how Cynthia is trying to take over a district for her own ego. You could have attended a PTA meeting , a Little League Meeting, a Chiefs Soccer Meeting, a Sports Council Meeting, or any of the other organizations Cynthia has been part of in the past 8 years and you would see the same narcissistic, controversial, micro-managing, destructive pattern coming from one person, Cynthia. She has already tried to micro-manage an event that isn't taking place till next year. Cynthia knew the board would not release the document and that's why she pushed for it. She said it said she didn't violate any ethics, but under the ethics code....If the memo said that she would have broken the code, so it must NOT say that. I'm done giving her the attention she thrives on and will not respond to anymore outsiders. We know that you must know Cynthia, Lorraine, or you're just as destructive as she is because you are spouting her spouts and asking for mediation is telling the district to spend money on HER.
Lorraine DeVita June 29, 2012 at 06:48 PM
A) for the last time i dont know her! B) YOU DO NOT SPEND MONEY FOR NYSSBA- So your not wasting your money on mediation- C) WHy wouldnt the board release it ? Your BOARD Is supposed to be TRANSPARENT>> which means they should have disclosed the finding just to SHUT YOU and EVERYONE UP! and get back to work. But they didnt which is only causing MORE issues..which by the way COULD also be construed as a violation of ethics AND ficudiary reposnsiblity .. Ever think of that? . D) People who are SO adamant as you about how destructive ONE individual is ,should LOOK in the MIRROR..ONE person can NOT solely by themselves wreak the havoc you are claiming. IF so then you have a district full of lemmings or idiots or a majority who dont agree with YOU. so which is it? If she was SO bad how the hell did she win a seat on the board if as you say she personally destroyed PTA, LL , Soccer and Sports council.. THEY survived as did she .. seems someone has got their big girl knickers in a twist. I never said she was right OR wrong all i stated was if she violated the code it is the BOARDS responsibility to immediately remove her.. They didint, why didint they? If she violated the code of ethics then the ATTORNEY would have supported and URGED the board to remove her immediately. So MS. Fennes the outcome was and is something you dont agree with .. what i am proposing is a meeting with NYSSBA.. Perhpas you ALL could learn something..
Lorraine DeVita June 29, 2012 at 06:55 PM
DO you know it is the SD's financial responsibility to protect ALL Board members from LIBEL??? If i am not mistaken She could SUE becaseu her reputation as a board member is being besmerched by the LACK of tranparency of the board in NOT releasing the information and by not doing so is DISCREDITING HER and the SD would have to foot the bill.. bet ya didnt know THAT one did ya?
Just Saying July 03, 2012 at 01:46 AM
Ms. Fennes: Read the First Amendment. As an American first and foremost, DiMiceli is guaranteed the right to speak freely and to electioneer about yet another budget hike for an academically mediocre school district. Then again, with test scores as lousy as they are in West Hempstead, I'm not surprised you've never heard of free speech. Why not tell the truth: You and your cronies fear DiMiceli's voice is gathering steam and is moving towards wiping out the dead wood union lap dogs of the board of ed. Why ot admit you fear she and hundreds of fed-up taxpayers she represents will come out in droves when the union pushes for a new contract next year devoid of accomplishments, the cause of further cuts to actual educational program, all so the entrenched powers-that-be can line their pockets "for the good of the kids." Guess what? Your too late, and your fear is justified. The wrath of over-taxed citizens who can barely put away enough into their own 401(k)'s while the union soaks up the lion's share of $55 million in tax dollars is over-flowing. The 2009 push-back was just the start. And your Soviet-style efforts to muzzle opposition so you can protect you tax-funded perks has just run head long into Mr. Madison's cherished gift to democracy. DiMiceli's courageous speech is the best and most powerful antidote against corrupt ignorance like yours.
Jim Miskiewicz July 03, 2012 at 02:04 AM
Ms. Finnes: I'm not an outsider. I'm a WH resident and taxpayer, who's seen his school tax bill go up 100% in 10 years, while academics continue to decline and more of our tax dollars go to fund unsustainable pension and health plans un-supported by a union power who thinks its citizenship responsibilities end at with their union card. Never met the woman, but in my book, DiMiceli is a hero to be applauded for taking on this entrenched, yet dying system called Long Island Union-Dominated School Districts. You ought to be ashamed of yourself for trying to stifle debate and dissent in the name of what you misperceive to be the good of our children. Happy Fourth. May the next one bring liberty from small-minded tyrants, who think it's "ethical" to shut people up in the name of "the children" when all you're really doing is protecting the interests of a corrupt and entrenched few who are bankrupting our community and doing a lousy job of educating our children.
Jim Miskiewicz July 03, 2012 at 02:15 AM
I agree. The school district claims is can't release the memo that supported DiMiceli's actions because of some mumbo-jumbo about attorney-client privilege. Wouldn't ,in this case, DiMiceli be the client who sought the board attorney's advice? And if she's said she no longer wants the memo to remain secret, well as the client, she, not the attorney controls the privilege and the excuse for keeping the memo secret just flew out the window. For you lawyers keeping score at the WH School District, that's called a "waiver." C'mon, quit the nonsense that'd get you laughed out of court: Publish the memo and let DiMiceli, the Hero of West Hempstead, defend herself.
Jim Miskiewicz July 03, 2012 at 02:22 AM
Ms DeVita, you make a good point. Unfortunately, the group who want to silence DiMiceli, Rudy Schindler and a few as-yet silent but non-aligned board members before next years teacher union contract talks could care less about us tax payers having to fork over more money to defend against un-necessary litigation. I mean, they don't even have the self-awareness to recognize that the same First Amendment that protects union associations also protects individuals like Ms. DiMiceli, so why would they care if you or I had to spend money funding a lawsuit THAT's AGAINST OUR OWN INTEREST. Only one way to deal with tyrants like these, stand up to them in places like this site, at board meetings, at the polls, and demand transparency and above all, change.
Cliff Floyd October 01, 2012 at 11:47 PM
I agree with you Mrs. Fennes. As for Jim Meskeiwiks, at least have the decency to spell her last name right. You may disagree with her points but the fact of the matter is that she is knowingly hurting our youth, and needs to be removed from her position.


More »
Got a question? Something on your mind? Talk to your community, directly.
Note Article
Just a short thought to get the word out quickly about anything in your neighborhood.
Share something with your neighbors.What's on your mind?What's on your mind?Make an announcement, speak your mind, or sell somethingPost something
See more »