Wednesday, September 25, 2013

An Opportunity for Change

by Sue Nielsen

Yesterday's City Council workshop meeting began without Mayor Brooks, who had an appointment that delayed his arrival. In the Mayor's absence, there was significant Council discussion regarding Keith Severns' vacated position on the Cornerstone Charter Academy governing board. Several commissioners discussed the possible appointment of Edgewood Mayor Ray Bagshaw as Mr. Severns' replacement.

Upon Mayor Brooks arrival at the meeting, these commissioners expressed to him their desire to be included in the candidate selection process. In response, Mayor Brooks flatly stated that he would be nominating Dr. Torres, a Nemours emergency room doctor and a Belle Isle resident, because there were no other candidates as qualified for the position. While no one doubts Dr. Torres' significant medical credentials, is he really the best choice for this position? Mayor Bagshaw is not only a seasoned and respected community leader who represents the numerous Cornerstone students hailing from Edgewood, but has also personally requested appointment to the CCA governing board.

To really grasp the significance and importance of this board appointment, you have to go back to the beginning of the charter school. Cornerstone was conceived in 2009 as a joint venture between Belle Isle and Edgewood. The original board of the charter school corporation was Mayor Brooks and the members of the Belle Isle City Council. But the intent, as stated in the bylaws and applications for a school charter, was to form an interlocal agreement with the City of Edgewood which would ensure representation from both cities on the school governing board. When these negotiations broke down, the school governing board was formed according to the alternative spelled out in the bylaws - consisting entirely of Belle Isle city officials as it does to this day.

With the resignation of Keith Severns, we now we have the first-ever vacancy on the CCA governing board. This is a perfect opportunity to finally begin including members from Edgewood on the governing board, beginning with Mayor Bagshaw. With our City's financial security on the line, we all need the school to be successful. And Cornerstone Charter Academy can only achieve its highest possible degree of success if all of its stakeholders become involved.

With at least three Belle Isle commissioners expressing interest in evaluating both potential candidates for the school governing board position, it is disappointing to see Mayor Brooks continuing to make unilateral decisions and ignoring the will of our City Council.

Ready for a change in the way our City does business? Be sure to contact Mayor Brooks ( to express your thoughts on this issue.



  2. You should probably use 'his' email to express concern. The Belle Isle one is filtered by staff.

    If council doesn't support the candidate, they should vote no on the recommended appointment. That's the check and balance that exists our government.

  3. I want to thank you for your concern about Belle Isle and residents. I agree with the individual above. I thought that is why we have commissioners. I

  4. Here we go again with General Brooks making his demands, is this a one person run city if so why do we have a city council where only three members support the citizens. We however need the other council members to support the citizens or if they don't then they also should be replaced. Heed the warnings of the citizens of Belle Isle.

  5. You could address our mayor as King Brooks, as well. He decrees, he does
    not discuss.

  6. For the benefit of our voters who were not at the meeting, could you please list the 3 commissioners? I am interested to see whether District 1 was included since he never responds to constituents e-mail.


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