I am referring to an item in the Christchurch Press (March 26, 2017) headed ‘Government intervention at Canterbury’s Rangiora High School to end this year, report says.’
In the context, this unbalanced reporting does continuing harm to Peggy Burrows, already found to be unjustifiably dismissed.
In the circumstances the reporters should have contacted Peggy Burrows and her lawyer.
I could go through all the lies, distortions, and misinformation in the report, but following the workings of the commissioner’s mind would not be helpful.
Perhaps the most important place to start is that on March 15, 2017 Peggy Burrows and her lawyer filed in the court. The filing was based on Beverley Moore accusing Peggy of financial impropriety, which was not only wrong in itself, but somehow leaked, also for the production of what could euphemistically be called misinformation.
No mention was made of that in the Press report but it explains everything
Both the ministry and commissioner are panicking, that is what this so-called information released under the Information Act is about: the ministry wants away from the commissioner who is considerably out of their control (the ministry is also very concerned about individuals within the ministry being caught up in it); and the commissioner is trying to act as though everything is normal, to fool herself and everyone else by winning in the media what she has already lost in court.
I want to make one thing absolutely clear, huge efforts have been made by the commissioner throughout the three years of blaming Peggy Burrows for financial impropriety or financial lack of expertise. It pops up in everything the commissioner says.
Not one cent has ever found been out of place and the books were in excellent order. Peggy Burrows amongst possessing many other skills is a whiz at finance.
You will note that coming out of the head of the commissioner is the implication of problems that are somehow a carryover from when Peggy Burrows was principal.
This was, and still is, all made up, all from the head the commissioner. If there are any financial difficulties they are entirely of the commissioner’s making or imagining.
In desperation at her imminent day in court, she suddenly discovered $5 million dollars that Peggy Burrows was supposed to have carelessly overlooked. Nonsense – all in her head.
The story can be told very briefly though it begins back in Lockwood-Smith’s time in the ‘90s. A proficient reporter of a Christchurch newspaper ought to know this: Rangiora High School is asset rich – land was left to the school over 100 years ago and is protected under a special act of parliament complete with caveat about how the land could be sold. In the ‘90s Lockwood tried to take-over the assets but in the end the ministry advised him against it. About three years ago a few in the community and board tried again, tried to sell some of the land (one wanted to be the buyer), but Peggy Burrows blocked the attempt. Those people went to the ministry.
To settle things down a special adviser was called in and a financial one – and because Peggy Burrows and the other board members were entirely sure of their ground, they agreed. The financial adviser found all absolutely correct but suggested the amount of money the principal could spend without getting board approval be lowered.
Beverley Moore concocted a report, kept secret from Peggy Burrows, but bits shared with senior staff to defame Peggy, and then there was the claim of financial impropriety. (It was this that caused a strain between senior staff and Peggy, with the staff coming to believe the accusation of financial impropriety.)
Beverley Moore was appointed to being commissioner on the basis of this disgraceful report.
From then on every utterance from the commissioner about Peggy was slanted, wrong, a lie, or transcendentally trivial.
A new board of trustees had been elected, the chair an experienced one saying it was the best board he’d ever been associated with, it was all ready to go – but Beverley Moore sacked them and became the cuckoo in the Rangiora nest to devastating effect to the host.
Because Peggy Burrows had been suspended then fired on the basis of stopping the sale of the school’s assets, a big thing had to be made by the commissioner about that; she regularly declared that there was nothing stopping the sale of the land and no caveat.
She had searched everywhere, she said, but it was nowhere to be found. Yet the caveat is part of the special act.
I have often wondered if the commissioner fits the pattern of two other people I have had to unmask as unfit to be a commissioner, the key part of that pattern is that they had usually trained for something but got nowhere in it because they weren’t willing to put in the structured effort – but they were so drawn to power, near absolute power, that being a commissioner was sought as providing an instant fix.
How the ministry appoints commissioners – what knowledge, requirements, and skills are sought in the applicants – needs to be investigated.
Here is a commissioner found to have wrongfully dismissed a principal and facing a serious defamation case, having the temerity to say via the ministry report ‘that there were major concerns around long-term planning financial planning and school property.’
This sounded a bit weak so the commissioner strengthened it up with ‘These were deemed to have a significant impact on student achievement, teaching and learning, and wellbeing.’
All made up after she made herself commissioner.
The implication was that these were a carryover from Peggy Burrows. They weren’t an issue when Peggy Burrows was principal but apparently they were now. She has either been incompetent as commissioner or is lying.
The wrongful dismissal of Peggy Burrows is being trivialised by the commissioner as a distraction to her work.
How could she? Bring crashing down the life of a beautiful human being and a first-rate principal.
The commissioner was found guilty of doing this wrongfully and here she is acting as if still in the right, still acting if somehow it is Peggy Burrow’s fault.
Is the commissioner disassociated from reality?
And how could the Christchurch Press continue to be complicit in this extended psychological cruelty?
I want to let readers know, even if giving satisfaction to the commissioner, that Peggy was in Japan with her grandchildren on holiday, when Press article arrived.
I said forget it – let me reply.
An utterly innocent principal – the reasons for her dismissal utterly groundless, but years later the commissioner is still making things up, and in this case the timing devastating.
The ministry knows the new board should appoint the principal, you can read that between the lines, but they have lost control of the commissioner (the ministry is bound to deny this), and the commissioner wants the satisfaction of appointing the principal as final hit, judged on the basis of her actions, against the woman she has come to hate.