Sunday, January 29, 2017

Special School Board Meeting To Be Held January 30th, 2017

Looks like there will be a special school board meeting on Monday, January 30th, at 4pm. It says the purpose is to have the "Superintendent Evaluation Training" and "Any Other Business That May Come Before The Board". 
They usually send out a notice by email for meetings but I did not receive a notice of this meeting. I just happened to find this on the BOE webpage.** I did call and the meeting is still scheduled to be held**
Maybe they will get one step closer to actually doing the Superintendent evaluation.  I believe there is supposed to be one done every year?  I am not sure when the last time one was done.  I don't believe they ever did one for Tom Hill, at least not after I started attending the meetings.  And I don't recall them ever doing one for Carol Selby either. 

Friday, January 13, 2017

Bridgeport Spaulding School Board Meeting January 9th, 2017

On the agenda:
- Presentation by the Saginaw ISD begins at 2:17
- Organizational Meeting / Election of Officers etc... begins at 19:40
- Check Register and Minutes begin at 39:42
- Middle School Mackinaw Trip Discussion & Approval begins at 43:53
- Atkins Quarterly Report begins at 57:54
- Board and Superintendent Comments begin at 1:24:42
© 2017 Carla Citizen All Rights Reserved

First let me say "Good Luck" with trying to listen to most of this meeting. Turn your volume up as high as it will go and use headphones if you have any.

The presentation by the Saginaw ISD is about the renewal of the 18-mill non-homestead property tax that will be on the May 2017 ballot.  The Birch Run/Bridgeport Herald has a article about this in their January 11th edition.  The article discusses the 18-mill tax and also a new 3-mill "sinking fund" tax they will be seeking approval of.

I have been thinking long and hard about whether I will continue to attend the Bridgeport School Board Meetings; I still have not made a decision either way on this.  I have also spent days thinking about what to say about this school board meeting and the future of the school board.  So bear with me because this will be long.

The first meeting of the school board each year is the organizational meeting where they elect the members to serve in the various positions.  I was hoping for new leadership on this board and I am disappointed with the outcome.  Pat Nelson was made president again.  Robert Lange is vice president, Tedi Morris is secretary.
I was sad to see that John Rhines was elected as the Treasurer.  First off, I would think that position should have gone to someone that has been an elected board member for some time already.  Someone that has experience on the board, someone that has experience on the finance committee, someone that hopefully has gone through the training at least that is provided by the Michigan Association Of School Boards.  John Rhines has none of those qualifications that I am aware of.  John Rhines is a newly elected board member.  He won the election in November 2016 by a slim margin I think of about 27 votes?  He ran for a school board seat in 2014 but lost.  In 2015 he didn't run for the board.  He did though file a lawsuit with accusations against board member Marti Sageman and other board members.  He had no proof/documents or witnesses to back up his claims, he even admits in the court documents that it was all based on his own speculations. That case was thrown out by the courts as having no merit.  The filing of that lawsuit alone should have disqualified him in the eyes of the public at least of ever being elected a board member in my opinion.  His lawsuit cost the Bridgeport School District $5,000.00 in legal fees.  So even after all this, he then gets elected by the other board members as the treasurer?  Am I the only one in Bridgeport who is astonished by this?  I was at least hoping to hear John Rhines say in this meeting that he was sorry for the damage he did to the reputations of other board members and this school district, to offer to pay back the money he cost this school district.  Not a word about it at this meeting.  If these are the qualifications you need to get elected treasurer of the school board, maybe the school board needs to raise their standards????  Are my values and opinions out of date with the times?
In one of the past meetings board member Tedi Morris raised a concern about electing board members for some of the positions on the board, if they had charges made against them. Whether or not they had been convicted of those charges.  It was in the January 11th, 2016 board meeting.  Why then didn't she or any of the other board members have a concern about electing the man that filed those baseless charges, that were later thrown out by the courts, to one of those positions on the board?  To me, that is HYPOCRISY.  Maybe all the board members need to review the ethics portions of the board policy manual.

There are probably some people out there who are thinking right now "Why does she keep harping about this lawsuit?" or "Who Cares"?   Well, I do.  And this is my blog and I will share my opinion here.  I feel that this lawsuit speaks to what I see as his character.  It is not just the lawsuit that makes me uncomfortable with him being elected to this school board.  It is other things I have seen that make me uncomfortable with what I view as his character.  I will share a few of them with you here.

On December 11th, 2016 I wrote this blog post -
It was about something very personal that Marti Sageman had shared with her friends on her Facebook page while she was being sued by John Rhines.  Someone took a screenshot of what she posted and shared it with another person.  That other person shared it with me.  What I didn't reveal in my post on December 11th was who it was that shared it with me.  That person was John Rhines.  Here is a screenshot I took of the email where he shared it with me.  I can provide the entire email if there is anyone that doesn't believe me.  If you are suing someone because you truly believe they committed a wrongful act, that is one thing.  But to relish in the pain and suffering you are causing them is another.  At least to me it is.  Maybe I am overreacting to this incident?  You can click on the photo to read it.

There was another incident involving Marti Sageman and the lawsuit that made me very uncomfortable with it all and with John Rhines character.  I believe it was in December 2015 that John Rhines and Marti Sageman had to give video taped depositions to the court for this lawsuit.  Philip Ellison was the lawyer for John Rhines and I believe that he is the one that deposed Marti Sageman.  I believe this deposition may have lasted for 3 hours?  Would I want to be grilled by Philip Ellison for 3 hours?  NO.  I think I would rather be waterboarded!!  Marti Sageman is about 70 years old?  Forgive me Mrs. Sageman if I am wrong on that.  This is not meant in any kind of a demeaning way, but I feel that Mrs. Sageman is someone who can get emotional very easily.  Someone who could get rattled very easily.   Especially when being questioned for hours by someone like Philip Ellison.  I can't remember for sure what the date was when I had the conversation with John Rhines about Mrs. Sageman's testimony during this deposition.  Sorry but this past year has been very hectic for me.  In this phone conversation I asked him what she said in her deposition.  His response was that they couldn't "break her" or "trip her up" and get her to admit that she was behind the firing of Jennifer McDonald etc....  If anyone is not familiar with this lawsuit, you can view lots of the legal documents pertaining to it here on my blog.  I also have posted some of the pages from the dismissal of this lawsuit. 
I was very surprised when he told me that they couldn't "break her".  At some point during this conversation he told me about the deposition being video taped.  I stated that I would like to see that video.  My reason for wanting to see it was because I had believed that she was guilty of all his accusations against her up to this point.  I felt that if I could watch the video, and see her face, listen to her voice, I would know if she was telling the truth or not.  The conversation took a turn that made me feel very uncomfortable then and still does to this day.  John Rhines became very "hyped" up in my opinion.  He started laughing and saying that he was going to throw a "viewing party" and invite everyone to come watch the video.  Everyone could sit there and laugh at the distress that Mrs. Sageman went through during the deposition.  It turned my stomach.  It also made me question if getting to the truth was really his true motivation behind the lawsuit.  At least at that point in time, if it was still the true motivation.  I didn't say anything to him then.  I just went along with his conversation because I really wanted to view the video.  I don't believe he actually had the video of the deposition at that time and I don't know if he ever got one.  I thought about all this for days, maybe weeks, after this phone conversation with him and I kept thinking to myself  "You Moron, you couldn't break her or trip her up because there was nothing to break her or trip her up on".  I don't know if he really ever did hold a viewing party, but I feel ashamed and guilty for not speaking up to him then and for having any part in what he was doing.

There is another incident that makes me question his character.  During a regular school board meeting on July 20th, 2015 the board went into a closed session.  A closed session is exactly that and the information discussed in there is confidential.  This closed session involved the separation agreement for Jennifer McDonald, and it indirectly involved the lawsuit since that is a big part of what John Rhines lawsuit was based on.  He also filed a lawsuit against them for a Open Meeting Act violation based on his claim that they held a "secret meeting" by holding that closed session.
John Rhines told me in a phone conversation after the July 20th meeting that the board member Tedi Morris told him some of what went on in that closed session.  I can't remember everything that John Rhines said Mrs. Morris told him, but part of it stuck in my head.  Mrs. Morris supposedly told him that she "read the riot act" to the other board members during the closed session based upon their decision to vote to approve the separation agreement that had taken place in 2014 between the school district and Jennifer McDonald.  I believe that Mrs. Morris told him that she told the other board members that they were probably violating the law, etc..., that she really gave the other board members an earful!!   I don't know if Mrs. Morris told John Rhines anything about the actual legal aspects of this closed session, I don't know if she actually told John Rhines anything at all about this closed session.  I only have John Rhines word that this happened.  If it did happen, Mrs.Morris was in the wrong no matter how much she told him. In my opinion at least.  In the court papers from the dismissal of the lawsuit, John Rhines claimed that he had no knowledge of what happened in that closed session from July 20th.  From the court documents it states "Importantly, Plaintiff testified that he has not talked to any Board members about what occurred during the closed session, and he admitted that his only knowledge of what was discussed or occurred at the closed session was what the Board read and voted after coming out of the closed session with respect to the subject Agreement."
Maybe I am looking at this with too simple of a view, maybe I am missing some kind of gray area.  But to me, either he was being truthful when he told me that he discussed that closed session with Mrs. Morris OR he was being truthful when he told the court that he Had Not discussed the closed session with any of the board members.  It can't be both can it?

Some of my other concerns about John Rhines and the future of this school board involve his interaction and communications with members of this school board, before and even after he filed the lawsuit against them.  The impression I got from John Rhines, from my many conversations with him, was that he was being given a lot of information from board members about what was going on behind the scenes concerning other board members and board affairs.  This is based strictly on the things that John Rhines shared with me, I never heard any of this personally from any of the board members myself.  I will share with you several examples of why I believe that he was working closely with,  and that information was being shared with him by board members.  I think it is important to remember that he was not a school board member at these times, and some of the things took place after he had filed the lawsuit against Marti Sageman and other school board members.

Before the April 13th, 2015 school board meeting, John Rhines had sent me several emails wanting to know if I was going to be attending that meeting.  He said it was going to a "good one".  Either by phone just before the meeting or in person at the school just before the meeting, John Rhines told me that Dempsey Allen would be asking Marti Sageman to step down as school board president at that meeting.  Dempsey Allen did ask her to step down in his closing remarks at the board meeting.  She was forced basically to resign as board president.  How did John Rhines know that was going to happen?  My impression from talking with him was that it was all planned out ahead of time, and that someone shared that information before the meeting with him.

Another incident that happened was when he told me that the school board members were going to vote board president Jay Bruns out and vote Pat Nelson in hopefully.  This took place at the January 11th, 2016 board meeting, and exactly what John Rhines said was going to happen happened.  Jay Bruns was voted out and Pat Nelson was voted in as board president.  My impression was that it had all been planned out by other board members before hand and that their plans had been shared with John Rhines.

The last incident that I will share, was shared with me by John Rhines concerning a school board meeting that took place on June 13th, 2016.  John Rhines told me that Pat Nelson and Jay Bruns had been having a very heated email exchange going back and forth between the two of them.  Supposedly at some point Jay Bruns made a comment along the lines of "I hope the state does take over this school district, then maybe something will finally get done".  I have never seen this email so I don't know the exact wording of it.  But it sounds like Mr. Bruns was very frustrated  in this exchange.  So John Rhines told me that Pat Nelson was very upset and that he would be bringing this up at the June 13th board meeting.  John said that after Pat discussed it publicly in the meeting, then John was going to ask for clarification on the date of the email and that he would then FOIA the email exchange.  His plan was then to share it with me and have me publish the email on my blog.  During the closing board member comments of the June 13th meeting, Pat Nelson does bring up that he had a disturbing, negative email exchange with another board member. He gave the date of the email during his comments.  This starts at about the 1:24:00 mark in the video of this meeting. John Rhines does interrupt Pat Nelson while he is speaking, asking for the date of the original emails that Pat Nelson is referring to.  After the meeting John Rhines approached me and said " I will FOIA those/that email tomorrow and give it to you to publish".  I just replied back to him that I would not be publishing it, that I was too busy and I walked away.  Once again here, what John Rhines told me would happen at the board meeting, did happen exactly the way he said it would.
I felt this was being done for no reason other than to smear the reputation of Jay Bruns and possibly be used as grounds to try and force him from the school board.  I wanted no part of it.  Was Pat Nelson a party to John Rhines plan to share that email on my blog?  I have no idea.  I have never asked Pat Nelson if that was his intention or if this was a plan by John Rhines alone.  I can understand Pat Nelson discussing his frustrations with someone, but I don't feel it was appropriate to be shared with a member of the public.

The school board members are expected to listen to the Bridgeport residents when they have questions or concerns about something involving the district.   But I believe there are things that should be discussed with members of the public and then there are things that should Never be discussed with members of the public.  EVER.  Confidential information, problems within the school board among the members - Not for public consumption.

My impression from my conversations with John Rhines was not only that information was being shared with him, but that he was at times actively working with members of this school board.  And possibly doing so to undermine other school board members.  I head things from John Rhines like We need to get rid of Marti, We need to get rid of Jay, We can't depend on Larry.  My impression was that someone wanted to get Marti, Jay and Larry removed from the school board.  Some of the things he said to me left me with the impression that "they" & "we" meant him and some of the board members. This impression of him is again based on just his word alone.
If anything that John Rhines said to me, if any of my impressions of him and also of his interactions with other members of this school board are accurate, then I have a problem with that.  This is not the kind of morals, integrity, honesty that I hope to see in the school board members.  If this is the true character of John Rhines, or any of the other board members, then I don't feel they belong on the board.  In my opinion, if any of the board members shared any confidential information with John Rhines, especially while he was suing Marti Sageman and the school board, then they should step down from the board.  If any board members were actively working with John Rhines to undermine any of their fellow board members, then they all need to step down.

What do I see for the future of the Bridgeport School Board?  Nothing good.  I think about Michelle Young Albertson.  She just got elected in November 2016.  I don't really know her personally, but I do have a good impression of her.  I believe that she is a sincerely nice person, an honest person.  I can't ever foresee her engaging in the kind of behavior that I fear was really committed by other members of this school board.  I believe that she will do her utmost to work for the betterment of this school district and for the staff and students.  But what will happen if she disagrees with the actions of some of the other school board members?  What if she openly opposes them on some matter?  Will she become one of the "obstacles" or "adult problems" that Tedi Morris referred to in her closing comments at this last board meeting?  Will she be back stabbed, undermined, have one of her emails shared publicly?  Will she be openly treated with hostility in the board meetings by the other board members?  Will she be shut out by the board president?  John Rhines told me that after Pat Nelson became president of the school board back in Jan 2016, that he was going to remove Marti Sageman from as much as possible on the school board and just stick her on the curriculum committee.  Why?  Because they only meet maybe a couple of times per year, and that way they wouldn't have to deal with her too much. And once again, he was exactly correct in what he said would happen.  What will the future hold for Jay Bruns on this school board?  Is he going to also be removed from everything and hidden away on the curriculum committee so they don't have to deal with him?  What will happen to anyone on this school board who doesn't go along with the will of the majority?  With the leadership?  With the little clique?  I would never want to be on this school board because I would feel like I would have to watch my back every minute.

I am sorry Bridgeport but I have no faith in these board members.  I see nothing good in the future for this school board.  Effective leadership?  Sorry, I haven't seen it since Pat Nelson became president.  They are a "High Functioning" school board now?  Well, I guess their opinion of what makes a highly functional school board is different than my definition.

So my message to the Bridgeport residents is if there is anyone out that that gives a damn about the future of this school district and the students, then start showing up at the meetings.  Pay attention to what is going on.  Hold this board accountable for their actions and also for any failures.
The next school board meeting is being held on January 23rd.  Will I be there?  I doubt it.  If no residents show up, then I guess it doesn't matter then what ends up happening to this school district.  

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

$500.00 Reward To Help Catch A Thief

My family is offering a $500.00 reward for information that leads to the arrest of the person or persons that stole from our family farm.  Our family farm is located on Tittabawassee Road in Saginaw Township.  The farm was started by my Great Great Grandparents in 1888.  One of my uncles was living in the farmhouse when he passed away in April of 2016.  He was a hoarder so you can imagine how much stuff was in the home and on the property.  There were many items outside on the property and in a large storage building.  I had no way to secure those items so many were lost to theft.  The house though has been kept secured and to this day has not been broken into.  Only family members have had access to the house, that includes me, my elderly mother, and several other family members that helped me do some of the cleaning work etc...  There was also a couple of other people that were briefly allowed into the house.

It is the items that were stolen from inside the house that I am mainly looking for information about.  Some of the items were small, some inexpensive.  Some were larger, some expensive.  Some were old, some were newer.  Some were family items, some quite old.  These thefts happened in late April to early May of 2016.  We do not ever expect to recover these items but it would be nice to at least recover the older family items.  WE DO WANT to see the person / persons that stole from our home caught and prosecuted.  That is why we are offering a $500.00 reward.

If you have any information about these thefts and the persons responsible, Please contact me at

Tuesday Truths - Con Men

Con men come in all disguises, with all means of trickery.  How do you deal with con men?  You need to understand them, learn to recognize them, and learn that the only way to beat them is with the TRUTH!!

Monday, January 9, 2017

Bridgeport Township Board Meeting January 3rd, 2017

On the agenda:
Public Comment begins at 2:12
New Business -
- Resolution R17-01 Performance Resolution for Governmental Agencies begins at 3:35
- Oath of Office - Erik Skabardis begins at 5:02
Board Member Comments begin at 8:51
© 2017 Carla Citizen All Rights Reserved


Comments to follow soon

Bridgeport Township DDA Board Meeting December 14th, 2016

On the agenda:
New Business -
- 2017 DDA Meeting Schedule begins at 1:57
- Best of the Best Awards begins at  2:15
- New CEO President Birch Run Bridgeport Chamber of Commerce begins at 3:48
- Township Hours for Holidays begins at 8:06
Old Business -
- Carpenter Plaza Demo begins at 8:55
- Cass River Trailhead begins at 9:25
DDA Coordinator's Report begins at 10:54
DDA Member Comments begin at 24:20
© 2016 Carla Citizen All Rights Reserved

Sorry I am almost a month late in posting this.  Comments to follow soon.

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Welcoming 2017

Hoping that everyone had a Very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!!

As my blog is approaching 34,000 views I would like to say Thank You for taking the time to come and view the blog and videos!  I would also like to remind everyone that sometimes my life gets a little hectic and I get behind with sharing the township and school board meetings here on the blog.  The videos always go up first on YouTube then I share them here when I have time.  You can view them at

and I try to share other things going on in Bridgeport on my Facebook page

I believe things are truly looking wonderful here in Bridgeport.  There are so many good things happening in Bridgeport, there are some great people working hard to make these things happen, make the future brighter for our township.  I want to say Thank You to all of those that care so much about our community and work so hard to make it better!!