A local official got schooled, as it were, after being overheard joking about a parent’s weight on a hot mic.
The gaffe resulted in his resignation.
School board president Ray Cote apparently can be heard telling a colleague during a break in a public meeting that “this one here, chubby wubby; she gets fatter and fatter at every meeting. She really does.” The woman to whom he was referring reportedly is a mother of six who is a long-time volunteer in the local schools.
The video footage in question, which is somewhat noisy, is embedded below.
As a result of the backlash after the footage of Cote talking on a live mic at last month’s meeting surfaced, he quit the Mahopac, N.Y., board on Tuesday and has dropped his reelection bid. Mahopac is located in Putnam County, about 50 miles north of New York City.
The election for the Mahopac Central School District Board of Education is scheduled for May 20, however, and ballots have already been printed with his name on it along with the other candidates. Officials indicated that will disregard any votes cast for Cote.
Cote, who also served on the district’s diversity committee, issued an apology: “I would like to apologize for my choice of words after the close of the board meeting on April 8, 2014, which are regretful. My words were inappropriate and do not reflect my feelings or attitudes. I will strive to regain the trust and respect of the community.”
The school board also issued a statement that “The Mahopac Board of Education acknowledges the apology of former Board President Mr. Ray Cote regarding his comments after the close of the meeting on April 8th. We are disappointed by and do not condone this lapse of judgment on the part of Mr. Cote. The BOE expects all of its members and meeting participants and attendees to act in a respectful manner. It is our commitment to move forward as a community in a positive manner and focus on the education of our children.”
Prior to the chubby wubby incident, some bad blood had apparently already existed between parents and board members. According to one parent, “Cote and some other board members often are disparaging to parents who attend meetings and ask questions. Cote and others roll their eyes and give parents dirty looks.”