Wine at School Board Meetings Leaves an Afterburn on the Nose

BY JACK LOCKE

wine

File photo.

When I saw four bottles of wine being rolled on a cart toward the English Montreal School Board(EMSB) meeting room, I thought I must be hallucinating.

But I was not.

The board, I would soon discover, regularly drinks wine during the dinner break of their monthly meetings. Both meals and beverages are paid by taxpayers.

“Was wine consumed during our meal? Yes sir, there’s usually a glass of wine consumed by whoever would like a glass of wine and that is part of the expenses we have,” confirmed Angela Mancini, chair of the EMSB.

I had asked her the question during the public question period at their January 28, 2015 board meeting. With not a scintilla of regret or acknowledgment of wrong she disclosed the board’s indulgence.

But not every school board is so fond of vino. The Lester B. Pearson School Board(LBPSB) does not follow their Montreal counterpart’s example during board meetings.

“It is not a social engagement, we are here to work,” explains Suanne Stein Day, chair of the LBPSB, “We wouldn’t think of having wine at meeting meals.”

Not only does the Lester B. not drink wine at meetings, but they also do not accept alcohol as a legitimate expense when board members attend conferences.

“Wine is not a legitimate expense at conferences, it’s something we won’t reimburse,” says Stein Day.

She draws the line at sober and reasonable.

“I don’t think the school board should be expected to purchase wine for me.”

Stein Day has good sense. When a school board drinks wine at work, at taxpayer expense, it yields an unpleasant afterburn upon the nose.

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