Allen Dyer Says 'Gloves Are Off' in Dispute With Howard County School Board
School board member Allen Dyer requests a hearing with the state.
If Allen Dyer is ousted from the Howard County School Board, it won’t be without a fight.
“The gloves are off,” Dyer said in an interview. “Very clearly the gloves are off and I am a red-blooded American. If somebody punches me, I punch back."
On June 9, the school board passed a resolution agreeing to send a letter to the State Board of Education asking it to remove Dyer from his seat.
The resolution said Dyer had acted unilaterally, spurned less contentious methods of mediation in favor of court and breached confidentiality rules.
On June 24, School Board Chairperson Janet Siddiqui sent a letter to the State Board of Education. The letter was not approved by a vote of the school board and in it were allegations that were not in the resolution that the board had voted on earlier in the month.
“They [the board] have a right to lay out charges and to file those with the State Department [of Education]," said Dyer. "I have no objection. That’s their right. I think what they did was misguided and very bad judgment.”
His lawyer, Harold Burns, Jr., has asked the state to disregard the additional charges, saying that adding charges without a vote by the board does not comply with state education code.
The code states, with exceptions, “all actions of the county board shall be taken at a public meeting and a record of the meeting and all actions shall be made public."
In an email sent to the school board, board member Cynthia Vaillancourt agreed the letter contained information not approved by the board and referenced incidents that she was not aware of.
“I believe we, as duly elected members of the Howard County Board of Education should be apprised of all the details being used to advance an action being undertaken in part in our names,” she wrote.
Vaillancourt and Brian Meshkin both voted against the resolution to have Dyer removed from his seat. Meshkin is a Republican and Vaillancourt is not affiliated with either party.
Dyer has sued the school board nine times--seven times since he was voted onto the board. In seven of those cases, he has been found to be "without standing," meaning the court would not hear the case. But he continues to accuse the board of operating, if not illegally, then outside of the spirit of the law when it comes to transparency.
In the official letter to the State Board of Education, Siddiqui wrote that Dyer "has engaged in a pattern of behavior that the Board believes constitutes misconduct in office."
"Mr. Dyer is an elected official and I respect that, but his conduct since he's come on the board has not been a benefit for the children of Howard County and the taxpayer," she told the Baltimore Sun. "He disrespects the vote of the majority of the board. And several other areas of misconduct will be forthcoming at the hearing."
But what some members of the board call “misconduct in office,” Dyer might call the democratic process.
"Look at the allegations," he said. "It was right out of the can ... It was stage managed. And we don’t need a board that is stage managed. We need a board that is more like a college dean's meeting, when everyone is throwing out ideas and shooting down ideas."
According to The Baltimore Sun, a spokesman for the State Department of Education said an administrative law judge in the state’s office of administrative hearings will hear the case.
“If either Mr. Dyer or the local board has issues with the [administrative law judge's] decision, it can be sent to the State Board for further consideration," spokesman William Reinhard told the Sun.
If one of the parties wants to contest the State Board’s decision, the case can be taken to Circuit Court.
This story includes updates to Cynthia Vaillancourt's party affiliation. She is not affiliated with either party.