April 17, 2014

Medina
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Wadsworth board president accused of verbal abuse

WADSWORTH — The two unions representing teachers and support staff for Wadsworth Schools have accused the school board president of verbally abusing a secretary.

According to a news release from the unions, Chuck Pfeister berated Kim Daniels, a secretary at Isham Elementary School, after her union announced it would not endorse him for re-election.

Chuck Pfeister

Pfeister, who owns and operates Chuck’s Barber Shop on Broad Street, is the only incumbent member of the board on the Nov. 5 ballot. Board members James McIlvaine and Lisa Jones did not file to run.

The Wadsworth Educational Support Personnel Association, the union representing 200 secretaries and other support staff, and the Wadsworth Education Association, which represents the district’s 280 teachers, formed a joint committee to screen the seven candidates vying for three seats on the board.

The unions endorsed Julie Batey, Amanda Gordon and Mark Casalinova.

In addition to Pfeister, three other candidates are Jason Arnold, Ron Mendel and Donald Thomas.

Daniels, who was the chairwoman of the screening committee, said Pfeister came to her school about 1 p.m. Oct. 16 and asked to speak with her in private, according to the news release. Once inside a room in the main office, Pfeister began yelling and demanding that she reconvene the screening committee and endorse him.

“Mr. Pfeister’s actions and confrontational behavior spurred Mrs. Daniels to file an incident report with the Wadsworth Police Department,” the news release stated.

Pfeister acknowledged going to the school to talk with Daniels the day he received a letter informing him of the endorsements. But he denied acting improperly.

“I threatened nobody,” he said in an interview Monday. “I asked some simple questions about how you could not support someone with my track record.

“How could you not?”

Superintendent Andrew Hill criticized Pfeister for interrupting Daniels at work.

“In our school district, I would say that to have someone pulled away from work for something that is more of a personal nature is not normal,” he said. “As soon as we became aware of the situation, we immediately addressed it.”

Hill said he does not know what was said between Pfeister and Daniels and is not aware of anyone who heard the conversation firsthand.

The police report states that Daniel described Pfeister as “very loud and argumentative with her, which did concern her.”

She told police that “Pfeister also stated that he will no longer be an ally for the secretaries in the future.”

The report also stated that Daniels “did not want to pursue any criminal charges against Pfeister at this time but would like this documented in case any future incidents do occur.”

The union’s news release provides a more detailed account of the meeting and accused Pfeister of making sexist comments.

“Mr. Pfeister’s most offensive comment made to Mrs. Daniels was ‘If there was a man on the screening committee he would have been able to talk to them better and things would have been different,’” according to the news release.

The release also stated that Pfeister noted that two of the candidates endorsed by the unions were women and commented: “If you think you are going to put two more women on that board so that there is a majority of women on the board to vote for you, that’s not going to happen.”

Patti Back, co-president of the WEA, said the screening committee selected candidates based on a questionnaire and interview process.

“We chose three candidates who are involved in the schools and are the top-quality candidates,” she said. “In a time where public education is under attack, we are looking for board members who have innovative ways of working through difficult times.”

Back said Pfeister is was not actively involved in union contract negotiations and does not know many of the teachers.

“I would say when most of us see him in public he doesn’t recognize us,” she said.

Pfeister has served a total of 12 years on the board, most recently elected in 2009 after a two-year hiatus during which he ran for mayor. He served eight years before that.

Pfeister cites the school’s 10-year track record of receiving an “excellent with distinction” rating from the Ohio Department of Education and said his record speaks for itself.

“We don’t have a school building beyond 13 years old. We just finished the stadium and turned Overlook into administrative offices. We went out and hired the best young superintendent the state had to offer. We have passed levy recently and settled a teacher’s contract,” he said. “What do you want out of me?

“I’ve got an impeccable record and I’m proud of it.”

Contact reporter Dan Pompili at (330) 721-4012 or dpompili@medina-gazette.com.

  • Jeanne Hines

    Strange coincidence that this appeared now, one week before the election if it supposedly happened earlier. …???….

  • Jeanne Hines

    Mr. Pfeister is a good person. He has ALWAYS loved and supported the community and Wadsworth City Schools. His record has been impeccable. …..He has many accomplishments that are to be commended.

  • Jeanne Hines

    “Verbal Abuse”……Hmmmmm……What is the true and correct definition?… This was NOT abuse…

  • Jeanne Hines

    Could there be some sour grapes about previous contracts?… Not enough $$$ for union members ????…. seems like there is more to this story.

  • Jeanne Hines

    To the Gazzette….. this is the best you have for a news headline?????…..Geesh….

  • Jeanne Hines

    Beware of half truths…..You may have gotten a hold of the wrong half.

  • Concerned Citizen

    Perhaps the daughter protests too much.

  • OhioGuy10

    Wow. Interesting. The Gazette does seem to be loweringnthemselves more and more to the sewer level. This story does smell a littlenrotten. If it was that bad I reallynsuspect it would have been published when it happen. If I am a Board Candidatenrepresenting the public why would I really want the teachers to endorse me?nWhat it comes down to is an employer/Employee relationship. The public and community are what matters notnendorsements. The Union could have sponsored a debate (Which should happen innall BOE elections) so the public can ask questions. He did use bad judgment inntalking to her. Should have just ignored it. It is exciting to see the Gazette publishnanything on a race other than Medina. That little serving the county thing theynput on the papers should come off. This is the first I have heard about thisnrace. I still have not heard about Black River, Buckeye, Cloverleaf or Highlandnat all. What about some actual news coverage Gazette instead of water coolerngossip and he said/she said drivel?

  • PJP

    When did this happen? October 16th, now you bring it to the press a week before the election. Any one else hear the so called verble abuse? Is this a Union runner? Sounds like a set up. In addition maybe the Gazette should get the facts straight before printing. I know the comment from Superintendent is not what was quoted. Pfeister is right when he stated the track record of the school was strong and honest. Also, to state that Pfeister is not a good representative and not visable is not true. The fact is I have seen him at more events than the other board members combined. Could this be a political issue with a candidate, with a little research you can find alot about candidates party affiliation and Facebook is a great resourse to see candidate behavior. This is certainly a case of Defamation of Character. Bottom line is Chuck Pfeister is a lifelong Wadsworth resident and people that know him realize he bleeds Grizzly red. He wants to do the best for the students of Wadsworth Schools. You still have my vote.

  • Another concerned citizen

    My Mother always taught me that if someone should sing your praises let it be someone other than of your own family.

  • Jeanne Hines

    Gee, could ‘Concerned Citizen’ be a school employee who is too cowardly to sign his/her name?

  • KMKV

    To clarify, there WAS a public forum at the library where questions from the public were welcomed. After several meetings, personal interviews, and questionnaires, the candidate selection committee chose to endorse the three strongest candidates. Regardless of the decisions of the selection committee, the actions of Mr. Pheister were unprofessional and inexcusable. He interrupted the work day of employees at multiple buildings. Verbally intimidating employees is a misuse of power. I feel this proves Mr. Pheister can no longer be objective and serve productively as a board member.

  • Jeanne Hines

    Oops …. I had a typo….impeccable.

  • Jeanne Hines

    It is spelled ‘Pfeister’.

  • Jeanne Hines

    ……Just voicing what I feel to be the “big picture” and a more truthful and honest side to this disgusting story…..As a “concerned citizen” myself….

  • Neil T

    I’ve witnessed and been a part of verbal abuse by Mr. Pfeister. I can only speak for myself and no one else, but I have been the victim of verbal abuse by him. My family has know his family for years and a couple of years ago he came over to my home and invited me to go to a sales meeting with him. I told him that I wan’t interested and he called me “stupid” for not going and selling his stuff. When he was running for Mayor, he put signs in my yard without asking my permission. I had all ready had an opponents sign in my yard. He put his in front of theirs. Just to be clear, this is my personal opinions of Mr. Pfeister only. I do want to put out there though, that I believe the “Jeanne” in these posts, is Mr. Pfeister’s daughter.

  • A Very Concerned Parent

    Unions are ridiculous! Another example of them using their power to destroy people! I support Pfeister 100%!

  • Ticked Off Taxpayer

    People are not stupid……This press release and police report are tactics used by the teachers’ union and support staff union…….just ridiculous…..Moves like this make the taxpayers and voters angry, and I know I am not going to vote for any school levy in the future…..These Wadsworth employees just want money, money and more money!!!! They make plenty!!!! …. Mr. Pfeister has helped to keep this system in the black.

  • KMV

    Really, Daniels calls this abuse??? If she thinks that this is abuse, then she has no idea what abuse is…..Maybe Wadsworth should consider hiring more educated employees….

  • OhioBuckeye

    I agree with the previous comments in support of Chuck Pfeister. This is going to come back to haunt the school system in years to come. Citizens are upset over this….It is as if the teachers and other workers are upset with the money they make. They should be grateful in times like this, and be glad they work in a nice community like Wadsworth. This so called press release was probably from them.

  • busybee

    Wow!!!! disgusted with the Gazette. what a great headline. maybe you should be printing more newsworthy stories. who really cares about wadsworth schools anyway? I believe there are other more interesting stories about things happening in medina county.

  • rlc

    Isn’t Pfeister a candidate who running without a child in the system? The others want to make sure their kid(s) get all the glory and recognition. Isn’t that why most moms and dads run? Batey, Cassalianova, Arnold, and Gordon all have kids in school. I am for Pfeister. I want a veteran incumbent.

  • Godfather

    Yep, for Pfeister all the way!

  • Matt

    Pfeister can be proud of his children. I know both of them. They are loyal, educated and class acts.

  • akronprof

    You may want to check your grammar.

  • Jeanne Hines

    I remember when your family had financial problems, Chuck Pfeister helped your family by giving your father a job. I also remember you and your brothers playing ball for hours each day at our house and having bonfires in our backyard. I also remember you going on a vacation with our family. I also remember Chuck giving free haircuts to your family during your childhood. Could this hatred stem from childhood when he made kids on his driveway tow the line?….Chuck and Judy Pfeister are good people who raised LAW ABIDING, honest, kind children who have grown to be productive, educated citizens…..NOBODY in the Pfeister family has ever spent time in prison.

  • parentoffour

    Ohhh brother! just a bunch of nonsense and crap. where is the real news? kinda surprised the paper would print a press release from the source (unions). doesn’t give much value

  • heiperone

    I put little stock in daniels’ words and accusations.

  • heiperone

    I put little stock in daniels’ words and accusations.

  • Jeanne Hines

    This was the last line in Pfeister’s rejection letter from the unions: “OUR DECISION WAS PRIMARILY BASED ON THE FRUSTRATIONS FELT DURING THE PAST SEVERAL CONTRACT NEGOTIATIONS WITH WEA AND WESPA.”……..I believe that when Pfeister was interviewed by the WEA and WESPA he was probably asked very different questions from the other candidates. When he was not endorsed, he had every right to question why. This was NOT abusing his authority. Again, his record for twelve years is impeccable. Anyone in politics knows that the incumbent usually has a better chance for reelection. I believe that the unions were upset about money and wanted to squash his chance for reelection, and they filed a ridiculous police report and notified the Gazette themselves with their big press release for publicity (a week before the election – NOT when it supposedly occurred) Also, it was not abuse – NOBODY was in danger, hurt or harmed mentally or physically in any way……..Unions are powerful machines that many times protect employees that do not perform at their jobs. They often use the media and other news outlets to push their agendas…..As a member of the NEA and OEA myself, I am disgusted and angry with this ploy. I am sure other teachers feel the same way I do. The people at the top of these organizations are making irrational and ridiculous decisions that have added to the negative public view of teachers and education today………………….nnnTo try to ruin someone’s name and character is wrong and hurtful. Hopefully, Daniels, Back, and others involved in this never have to go through a situation that this family has endured.

  • Former Concerned Citizen

    Chuck is a man that is honest and truthful. Wadsworth is a city on the verge of implosion. If the Unions have merged to support each other, then there must be a serious weakness within the two as Certificated and Certified rarely if ever support each other and each have there own agendas. Wadsworth needs experienced leadership to guide them through transitions, but so do the Unions. It appears the liberal pinkies have gained power in Medina County!

  • CJ

    There is no “big picture” in regards to this article. This article is simply stating that Mr. Pfeister’s conduct was completely unprofessional. He acted impulsively when he found out that he was not being endorsed by WEA and WESPA. If he wanted to know the reasons why he was not being endorsed then he should have called someone on the committee and requested a meeting. Instead he interrupted an employee at her place of work, pulled her away from her work station and yelled at her for the decision of the committee. nThis article was not released right away to the press because the union went through the proper channels before making the decision to make the public aware of the behavior of one of our board members. Kim Daniels did not claim verbal abuse. That was written by the Gazette – her claim was that his behavior was inappropriate and concerning. This article could have been avoided if Mr. Pfeister would have apologized for the way he handled this situation. Even if he does not think he said anything inappropriate, he still should apologize to Kim Daniels for interrupting her at work and for the way he handled this situation. nYes, I am a community member, parent, and an employee of the school system. Regardless of the decision of who the union decided to endorse, I had already made the decision to NOT vote for Mr. Pfeister. Fortunately, they have selected the candidates that I have chosen to vote for in this election.

  • ForKids

    To CJ,nI, too, am a parent, taxpayer, teacher and member of the WEA. I am getting a bit tired of the “union” antics. Looking at the ‘big picture’, Pfeister has always been supportive of us. In addition, he has also been supportive of our support staff, too. He is fair and friendly to everyone, and he has no secret agenda. Truthfully, he did NOT negotiate the past contract, and in his interview, he WAS asked questions about it. I am sure there were things that he could not reveal due to the confidentiality of previous executive sessions. In my opinion, he should have automatically been endorsed, and then we should have selected two additional candidates.nAs a present member of the BOE, he has every right to enter a school at any time during the day as does any other BOE member. I am sure that if there were pressing issues in the office, he never would have spoken to Kim Daniels. Although we work hard during the day, there is still time for a two minute conversation periodically with colleagues, parents, and other employees. We all socialize with each other at work, and we all make time for conversation (and/or disagreements) with others. He was not being unprofessional. I believe he had every right to question us as to why. I honestly believe that Kim Daniels was exaggerating due to her union’s pressure to ‘get Pfeister’. (AND, she probably was scared what would happen if he did happen to get reelected). This has been blown completely out of proportion.nI, too, have made my decision. I definitely am going to vote for Mr. Pfeister. At least we know how he stands. He has been supportive and positive about us in the past, and he is the most visible BOE member. I know I have seen him at numerous school events through the years. With the other candidates that we endorsed, they all have children in our system. They probably have their own agenda to help their own child(ren). We don’t really know if they will support us fully. I think that we are crazy for not keeping Pfeister. nBy the way, I am not the only one with this opinion. I have heard many others are quite unhappy being associated with WEA and WESPA. Many believe that this was ‘over the top’ and unnecessary. With us using the police report and press release, it probably will end up causing difficulty with the passage of future levies and community support. I think we made a BIG mistake……….

  • felloweducator

    Yay! A teacher with some sense! Well said. Thanks for your voice.

  • LMN

    he owes no apology. he should be receiving one!

  • disgustedwithschools

    Wow! What a stunt? sounds like this woman likes to draw attention to herself at the expense of others

  • ShakingMyHead

    AMEN!!!

  • gb

    “concerning” probably because she knows he is going to win

  • KMKV

    Goodness! Obviously not a Christian!

  • KMKV

    No, The Gazette called it verbal abuse. Not Daniels.

  • KMKV

    He was asked to apologize by a big person who I won’t name. He said he’d consider it.

  • KMKV

    Sorry. Glad there was only that one error!

  • KMKV

    Will The Gazette retract their false headline and false opening sentence? The words verbal abuse are theirs, not the two unions as they stated.

  • iLuvTheGrizzlies

    Who is Jeanne Hines? She seems biased. All i know is Feester gave me a terrible haircut once and he gives extra 50/50 raffle tickets to other old guys at basketball and football games. We want the Feester Senior Citizen Raffle Discount!

  • SG17

    Hmmmmm, and how would you know? I see this as Ms. Hines stating some family facts. Actually, I know her personally, and she is a very sweet, kind, Godly woman. Good for her for sticking with her family. She is a loyal friend, colleague, daughter, mother, and sister. We grew up together here in Wadsworth. She helped me through one of the roughest times in my life with her advice and prayers. If you knew her, you would not make such snide, rude, and smart aleck remarks……As someone stated on another post, she is a class act. I hope someday, that my own children stand by me and love me they way she loves her entire family and all of her friends. I am proud to call her my friend.

  • FedUpFellowTeacher

    Good grief! For Pete’s sake, like people believe that bunch of poop…….I don’t believe that for a minute. RIIIIIIGHT (insert sarcasm)….. The big person at the top is too smart to get in the middle of this mess that WEA and WESPA created.

  • lxm15

    Seems like another smart aleck, union supporting, rude person…..Too bad you don’t know her, she is very sweet and kind.

  • giftgiver

    post like this give no credit to your cause. have some class.

  • ILove2Run

    Absolutely RIDICULOUS!!!! I cannot believe this!!! People throw terms around too loosely today. Daniels may want to check the correct definition of abuse.

  • SGSW25

    This story is getting way too much attention. The world is full of other breaking stories. It seems like a bit of a witch hunt for Pfeister. C’mon, People/Unions/Citizens/Teachers/Secretaries/Whoever, – The guy loves Wadsworth and everything about it. So what if he questioned someone on the committee about something? Like he should not be allowed to??? Cripes, he is not a criminal. Why fall into a pit of hate and negativism? Leave him alone and let it die. Focus on making the world a better place. Focus on educating the future of America. Focus on doing good deeds. Focus on God and all that is good.

  • Jeanne Hines

    Thank-you, for your words of support…..not sure who though???

  • Jeanne Hines

    Thank-you, and well said…. We should focus on other more important issues. Great advice that I need to remember.

  • Jeanne Hines

    Thank-you!….Your words were appreciated…..not sure exactly who this is, but I may have a clue…???….

  • Jeanne Hines

    Thanks, Matt!

  • Jeanne Hines

    Thank-you!

  • GrizzlyEmployee

    Wow! That took some guts!!! Good for you! Glad you had the courage to speak against our union. Many are too afraid. (I know I am)

  • SmartMama

    For sure! Me, too!!!! We think alike ;-)

  • DD

    This was NOT a good move by WEA or WESPA….should have thought about it more

  • Grizzly for life

    Another teacher who disagrees with the way all of this was handled. Mr. Pfeister has done his best for the schools and if anything is at fault for being too passionate. I am saddened that our education community has come to a day and age where there is such infighting (local, state, and national levels). Let’s try to focus on educating the kids, please.