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The Boston Globe

South

Stoughton

School Committee could censure member

The chairwoman of Stoughton’s School Committee said the panel is expected to vote Thursday on whether to censure member Erdem Ural for “rogue” behavior over the past several months.

Chairwoman Deborah Sovinee said members are unhappy with Ural for “an array of incidents over months and years,” including overstepping his authority in unilaterally deciding to reprimand a school principal, an incident Sovinee called “the last straw.”

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But Ural said he has no personal issues with any of his fellow committee members.

“I am trying to get us to be more transparent as a board while holding the superintendent accountable,” he said of Stoughton’s top school official, Marguerite Rizzi. “Other members believe we should be supporting the superintendent no matter what.”

Sovinee said she made the decision to add the discussion of Ural’s behavior to the agenda for Thursday’s committee meeting.

The vote would have little effect on Ural, first elected to the board in 2008. He lost his seat in 2011, but regained it a year ago after defeating longtime member Allan Mills, and has two years left on his current term.

“I’m glad to have opportunity to discuss the issues,” said Ural. “I’m just trying to do my duty while the board is trying to intimidate me.”

Sovinee stressed that whatever action the committee takes, Ural will be free to speak his mind at future committee meetings.

“There’s no taking away of his rights under the First Amendment,” she said, adding her problems are with actions Ural has taken as a member of the board. “I appreciate disagreement, but that’s not what this is about.”

Ural has filed several complaints with the state attorney general’s office alleging that the School Committee had violated the state’s Open Meeting Law. In November 2011, the attorney general’s office upheld one of his complaints, forcing the committee to re-vote on a contract extension for Rizzi.

Rich Fahey can be reached at fahey.rich2@gmail.com.
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