BY C.B. MILLER
West District school board candidate Jennifer Mecozzi has residents concerned over her lack of educational and professional credentials that would qualify her to sit on the governing board of a agency that controls nearly a one billion dollar annual budget.
According to her LinkedIn profile, Mecozzi graduated from Lakeshore High School in 1990 but lists no additional degrees. She works as a coordinator with the organization known as PUSH, which is widely seen as a viscerally leftist front group. The teachers’ union is expected to back Mecozzi, calling into question the judgement of Mike Deely, the political operative who controls spending in the western region of the New York State United Teachers (NYSUT).
Mecozzi is unlikely do well at the election booth running against the educator Adrian Harris, who holds a masters degree and enjoys a career of experience with the Lancaster School District; and the incumbent James Sampson, who holds a masters degree and served as CEO of Gateway-Longview, a social services provider.
Teachers’ unions remain deeply unpopular. The obstructionism and unabated anger spewed by union goons at biweekly school board meetings has brought the district to a halt and sabotaged long delayed contract negotiations. Many observers say that an ideological union backed candidate who lacks a depth of education credentials, like Mecozzi, will further entrench obstructionists who are desperately attempting to stop a reform agenda that is largely inevitable.
It is unclear why the Buffalo Teachers Federation would back Mecozzi when more qualified and experienced candidates are actively running. Some even wonder aloud whether or not Mecozzi is a candidate secretly prompted to run by Carl Paladino in an effort to protect Sampson. Many activists suspect that Deely is working with Paladino.
What is more clear, Mecozzi will need to exhibit a considerable level of independence from deeply unpopular union bosses who are seen in the body politic as the root of the city’s socio-economic dysfunction. Otherwise her candidacy will lack viability and have the inadvertent effect of mobilizing Paladino supporters in droves.