Westfield School Superintendent Mark ...

Westfield School Superintendent Mark Sissel

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Westfield Resident

Dunkirk, NY

#1 Oct 15, 2010
Was anyone at the school board meeting (thursday, Oct 14) last night? I have heard the Board of Education recieved an outside audit of Mark Sissel expenses accounts and the some members of the board and Mark Sissel are trying to hide the findings. Anyone know anything?

Dunkirk, NY

#2 Oct 15, 2010
I heard that the board and Superintendent met with the school attorney privately. Then they told the public that they had to leave. What are they hiding? Pass the word around that more people need to attend these meetings. I am going to start attending and so are my neighbors. What is going on at this school? Since when do we not have the right to know where our tax dollars are going?

Dunkirk, NY

#3 Oct 15, 2010
From what I heard at the diner the superintendent is in trouble for abuse of power and fraud? He and some members of the board are trying not to let it become public. Where is the Westfield Republican on this? Will going to a board meeting help anything, I have heard the Westfield BOE yells at anyone who has a question?
Trisha Hudson

Dunkirk, NY

#4 Oct 15, 2010
I was at the meeting on Thursday - this is my second BOE meeting now. I think that it would be great if more people decided to come to the meetings too. I don't know what the audit was about I did, however, think it was extremely rude to have a meeting - put it on the WACS website and put it in the Westfield Repulican but then when the public shows up to go confer with your attorney for 35 minutes and walk back into the room and ask the public to leave. Both times I have attended I did not feel welcome. The thanks for coming as your walking out the door just didn't do it for me. I am new to all of this but I thought the BOE was the voice of the taxpayers in their district. I plan on coming to the next meetings and would love if more parents and concerned taxpayers would come as well. PS - This is my real name as I don't believe in hiding behind anything.

Dunkirk, NY

#5 Oct 15, 2010
The meeting was held so that the outside auditor Baghat, Laurito and Baghat could do a presentation on what the finance comittee noted most important; Superintendent Mark Sissel's expense accounts. Major concerns in the school superintendent's personal expense accounts raised issues which 2 residents brought up in newspaper articles about a year and a half ago. The 2 individuals found that the superintendent had purchased toys for his children and put them on his expense account and he was paid for them. Second, the superintendent's travel vouchers raised much concern as numerous errors were found on them. Someone informed me it involves thousands and thousands of taxpayer dollars. A newspaper article quoted there were thousand of miles that were paid to the superintendent which were false and he was not entitled too. Third, there are additional questions raised by the audit company regarding the superintendent spending which were found during the audit. From those I have spoken with it concerns fraud and abuse of power.

From what I understood happened at the meeting is when people started showing up some BOE members didn't want to discuss the matter. Yes the school attorney was there. Why do you think a school attorney was at a meeting which was scheduled to discuss a superintendent who had questions raised about his expense account? Hummmmmm

Why was the meeting posted at the last minute in Thursday's Westfield Republican? Some BOE members and Mark Sissel wanted to sweep this under the rug.

If it wasn't a public meeting why was there a sign in sheet?

Something is big time wrong at Westfield Central School. When attorneys start showing up something smells wrong.

What are the residents of Westfield paying for all this?

As far as posting names its good Ms. Hudson can do so. There are a few in Westfield who are watchdogs, however lots of us have jobs there, have family members who work there or just don't want to be harassed. As Mr. Hudson stated the BOE doesn't treat people who question them very nice.
very interested

United States

#6 Oct 15, 2010
Time to go, time to go,time to go!!!!!!!!! The taxpayers need to be heard. I understand the parent connection isn't meeting at the school, maybe they too are afraid of the BOE and their "Boss" That, in itself, should tell how welcome the taxpayers and parents are at the school. The administration and BOE are hiding something and they aren't giving it up. Don't give up all you do-gooders, you have a lot more support as time goes on!

Elmira, NY

#7 Oct 15, 2010
Don't let this die. The cover up is starting. All of those that wrote the articles a year ago were on the right path!

Dunkirk, NY

#8 Oct 16, 2010
A message to Supt Mark Sissel, BOE members Edwards, Poscoli, Habig and Bodenmiller: THE COVERUP IS ALWAYS WORSE THEN THE ACT. Let the truth come out and let the chips fall. If Sissel broke rules, regulations or laws let it be known and take the corrective action. Leadership SHOULD BE KEPT TO A HIGHER STANDARD THEN THE AVERAGE EMPLOYEE.

United States

#9 Oct 16, 2010
We have been hearing about this nonsense for too long. It is clear that there has been a coverup all along. It is very clear that all on the BOE and some past members are involved UP TO THEIR EYEBALLS and can't make this go away without incriminating themselves. All on the BOE have proven themselves to be WEAK LEADERS! ALL SHOULD BE REPLACED! It is time for ALL involved to FACE THE MUSIC!

Dunkirk, NY

#10 Oct 16, 2010
What is going on at Westfield School? We pay some of the highest taxes in the nation. We don't have the right to question how this money is being spent? My family moved here from another state so my kids could go to a community school. I have seen first hand how other districts work. Most schools not only expect but welcome parent involvement. Even districts surrounding ours welcome community input. I think the main objective of the school has gotten lost in the politics. Giving the children of Westfield the absolute best education possible should be the first thought in the decision making process. We have some wonderful teachers, a great facility, and the funding to make Westfield School what it once was. If the funding isn't there, then show the community where it went. This isn't a witch hunt. It is the community trying to make sure that our dollars are being spent wisely. Every business has a system of checks and balances. In a school district, the community needs to be that system. "Don't rock the boat" mentality doesn't make things better. The children of Westfield need you to show up.

Dunkirk, NY

#11 Oct 16, 2010
The problem starts with Mrs. Habig. She tries to control the other boardmembers. Some of the things she has done are just plain wrong. I don't know if she is trying to get back at people because her son was forced out of the school when he was a teacher or if she is just on a power trip. She controls Edwards, Bodenmiller and Cardy. They don't dare cross her. When Lebarron was on the board she controlled him too. Some of the other members are trying to set a standard, however members like Piscolo are trying too hard to make everyone happy. The board members need to tell Mrs. Habig to take a hike, she didn't get the most votes last election and if lebarron had gotten about 10 more votes Habig would be gone and the BOE and the Westfield residents would be better off for it. Stop the politics Mrs. Habig, everyone in Westfield knows you for what you are. Stop babysitting Mark Sissel, he's not the son you always wanted. Grow up! Residents should demand Habig resign.

Dunkirk, NY

#12 Oct 16, 2010
I also heard Mrs. Bodenmiller son-in-law Adam Bratton was at the BOE meeting Thursday. That is very interesting. If you recall Adam Bratton wrote a letter of support of Mr. Sissel when the 2 residents had articles printed about Sissel's inflated travel vouchers, toy purchases and other questionable purchases/expenses. I think Adam Bratton stated in that letter to some effect that it wasn't a big deal and Mr. Sissel's expenses where hardly anything to get excited about.

I wonder if that is how Mr. Bratton handles his expense account at his job. I wonder if his boss or his board members would accept false expenses? I wonder if his boss would just blow off him spending taxpayer or donated funds?

At the time Bratton printed this letter he stated he was a Westfield resident at the bottom of the letter, yet he lived in Jamestown (very misleading and false, false like in false travel vouchers).

He also never stated he was the son-in-law of Mrs. Bodenmiller a Westfield school BOE member and a very close friend of Mark Sissel and his wife. Also Mrs. Bodenmiller's husband is the pastor of the church that both Adam Bratton and Mark Sissel attend.

All of this is either very, very, very coincidental or very political. Either way its not right. And it appears very, very strange too me.

If it was not a meeting on Thursday why was Adam Bratton (BOE member Joy Bodenmiller son-in-law) there. Very interesting? Who notified Adam to come or did he get news of the meeting from heaven?????

Its obvious there is too much politics and favors going on at the Westfield School. Its really looking sad. And these people claim to be unbais and christians.
very interested

United States

#13 Oct 16, 2010
Being a christian has nothing to do with the operating of a school. I am a non-christian. A school should be in the hands of moral, honest, hard-working individuals (christian or other denomination) who have the best interests of the taxpayers,parents and children foremost in their goals. The Westfield School has none of the above. It has been proven in the past and is again being proven now. Being a board member is a thankless job that requires a good deal of time and effort. The Board members were aware of this when elected. It is not easy to make the tough decisions but the time is now to make those decisions. Give Mr. Sissel his walking papers.
Westfield teacher

Dunkirk, NY

#14 Oct 17, 2010
I just happened to come across this site. Its important if more people were aware of it. Posters and readers pass along this site to friends and others so they can keep updated.

Does anyone know if there is a message board or other site to allow information to be posted?

The public should be aware employees at the school keep to themselves or small groups because of intimidation. We are kept in the dark. Superintendent Sissel's expense errors were known but no outside audit was ever mentioned, until now.

No teachers would be working if involved in this type activity. We have a hard time ordering classroom materials.

For those of you speaking out you should be aware the employees are greatful. This type of bad behavior by someone who is in charge of the school makes all of us look bad.

Rome, NY

#15 Oct 17, 2010
It's time to know if Sissel's actions are ERRORS or CRIMES!

Dunkirk, NY

#16 Oct 17, 2010
You know they are crimes because no one would go to the depth that some of the BOE members like Marie Edwards and Mrs Habig would go to try and hide them and then try and convince others (bodenmiller, cardy, etc) that the audits are just water under the bridge. Filing false expense vouchers is a crime. Sissel signed and cerified they were correct and truthful, its not water under the bridge just because it happened a 1 1/2 years ago. A crime is a crime, and corrective action needs to be taken NOW. ITS LONG OVERDUE. For heaven's sake Sissel is the head of the school making $125,000 a year plus benefits. What does hiding all this say about leadership. Didn't some of these BOE members run for the position saying EVERYTHING SHOULD BE TRANSPARENT. Don't let them fool you Piscoli, Cockram, Smith, Reynolds and Winslow!

Dunkirk, NY

#17 Oct 17, 2010
has anyone called the news channels in erie/buf?
Any more ideas

Dunkirk, NY

#18 Oct 17, 2010
Yes Multiple Buffalo stations have been notified but they have not shown any interest yet. We can always try Erie. If anybody has any more ideas as to how we can keep the public notified I'm sure there are parents willing to try.

Dunkirk, NY

#19 Oct 17, 2010
The taxpayers and residents of Westfield need to form a small group of folks who are interested in getting ahold of this audit and getting on top of issues involving the school and the problems. After all this is about the students. If the school superintendent has broken laws the school board needs to know the community wants action taken. Also, if the school is spending funds on attorneys for both the superintendent and the BOE its a waste. That money could be spent on teachers and the students.

We need to form a small informal group for now. Maybe 5 to 10 individuals to inform the public, pass out flyers and get information and look at some of the past issues of the superintendent and BOE members. Find out who is putting pressure on who and for what reasons. Maybe even form a fund to hire outside assistance. Heck this might even be a learning experience for everyone. Who would be willing, maybe Mrs. Hudson could be a contact person? Is she or anyone else willing?
Trisha Hudson

Dunkirk, NY

#20 Oct 18, 2010
I'd be happy to be a contact person. I'd love it if a few of the people who responded on this forum would join in.

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