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Livingston GOP publicly supports Conely’s effort to oust union office

The Livingston County GOP has officially lined up in support of a Brighton school board member in an effort to oust the teacher’s union from its office in Brighton High School.

Following their county convention on Thursday, the Livingston County Republican Party issued a statement offering full support for Brighton School Board Treasurer John Conely in his effort to force the Brighton Education Association (BEA), which represents the district’s teachers, to vacate their office space at the high school.

“The action to allow this office to remain on the tab of tax payers, placing students in imminent harm having non background checked employees in the school, shows bias at the highest level of the administration,” read the statement. “As conservative Republicans in Livingston County, we request the district remedy this situation immediately for the benefit of all children in Brighton Area Schools.”

The statement of support follows reporting by GIGO News last week that indicated the Livingston GOP is doing more than just publicly supporting Conely’s efforts to remove the union office, but in fact has been instrumental in leading it forward.

Jennifer Smith, Chair of the Livingston GOP, was requesting legal advice on the issue in a social media forum  more than a week before Conely brought the issue up at last Monday’s school board meeting.

The provision of an office for the teacher’s union has been a standard arrangement for approximately 40 years in Brighton, and is commonplace in many other districts as well. It is also written into the contract with the BEA.

While a previous opinion from the district’s legal firm confirmed the legality of the agreement, Brighton Superintendent Dr. Matt Outlaw said the school board has requested and received guidance from counsel regarding the matter and Conely’s allegations. 

“The Board has not authorized me or anyone else to disclose that advice, he said. “Based on the consensus of the board, the administration is working with the BEA to ensure both parties honor the requirements of the contract and applicable law.”

This latest incident is not the first time Smith and Conely were alleged to have coordinated on issues involving Brighton Area Schools. Last year, when Smith was leading the local Moms for Liberty chapter, she and two other members of the group sued several members of the board for actions concerning containing COVID-19.

They eventually dropped the lawsuit after the district sought “all communications related to this action, which included all emails or other communications between Plaintiffs and Conely and Trombley,” referring to Treasurer Conely and Vice President Bill Trombley.

The motion went on to question why Conely and Trombley were not included in the lawsuit along with the other board members.

“The answer is simple,” stated the response, “these blatantly frivolous lawsuits were filed by Plaintiffs at the behest of and in secret collaboration with Conely and Trombley to judicially harass Defendants with whom Conely and Trombley had an axe to grind because of their positions on various school board issues.”

Conely and Smith have not responded to a request for comment.

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