Kinnas makes himself the issue

Thursday December 20, 2012

Pittsfield School Committee member Terry Kinnas’ description of himself last week as "somewhat of a stickler for process" is an understatement to say the least, and there is a role for a stickler. What Mr. Kinnas doesn’t seem to grasp, however, is that he can come across as confrontational and intimidating, and in so doing he becomes the issue, not whatever perceived wrong that he is trying to make right.

The Committee voted to reprimand Mr. Kinnas, with his the only vote in opposition, after eight members of the Reid Middle School Council complained about his "threatening" behavior at a recent meeting at Reid. Mr. Kinnas said he found the doors to the school locked when he arrived for the 3 p.m. meeting and filed an Open Meeting Law complaint against the group. School Board Chairman Alfred Barbalunga complained at last week’s meeting about Mr. Kinnas’ "gotcha-type behavior" and other incidents involving the outspoken committee member.

Mr. Kinnas has long been involved in school and city politics and it is clear he is a skeptic in these matters. But a locked door does not necessarily indicate a scandal and the inadequate notice of a meeting doesn’t necessarily spell cover-up. He may find that if he does uncover a truly serious matter that his credibility has been shot because of his past over-reactions.

It is difficult enough to find volunteers to serve on groups like the Reid Middle School Council without subjecting them to tirades and accusations. The School Committee was right to reprimand Mr. Kinnas and ideally he will ask himself if he is truly helping the city and his own cause.


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