Wednesday, November 25, 2015

A Lovely Story

There's a sweet, human-interesty sort of piece about PTACHC President Reg Avery in the Howard County Times this week. Complete with two family photos, it paints a picture of a family man devoted to community and education. I would certainly love to have an article like that written about me.

There's just one problem. It doesn't accurately describe the Reg Avery I know and worked with on the Oakland Mills Village Board. Not even remotely.

I'm not going to go into detail here, because it is not my intent to turn this post into a personal attack. But, more than once, Mr. Avery has been dogged by questions of conflict of interest. It is difficult to understand how he is able to wear so many hats in so many different capacities and remain true to each one.

Mr. Avery loves to run for things. He loves serving in leadership positions. Since I have known him he has run for County Council twice, served on the OM Village Board, served as CA Rep from Oakland Mills, served in PTA leadership positions, and there's much, much more. You may, as the article seems to suggest, interpret this as the purest of desires to serve the community.

My bigger concern about this article is that Mr. Avery is possibly positioning himself for a run for Board of Education. Or perhaps he is being encouraged to do so. As President of PTACHC he has publicly aligned himself with the Board of Education. It is my belief that PTACHC should provide an independent voice for parents. It simply cannot function that way if leadership serves at the pleasure of the BOE or Central Office.

Being President of PTACHC gives Mr. Avery another opportunity to be in the public eye and get his name and picture in the paper. If he is using it as a springboard to run for the Board of Education, well, that feels like a conflict of interest to me. The motto of the PTA is "Every child. One voice." I think it would be wise to see how true Mr. Avery is willing to be to the spirit of that organization.


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