Daily Archives: April 21, 2009

Middletown School Board Election – Anyone But Cody

Middletown School Board elections are today there are 7 candidates seeking 3 seats on the Board of Education. I don’t know much about the 7 candidates that are running other than 3 are incumbents seeking new terms on the BOE and 1 person that I would not even vote if he were running for dogcatcher. That person is James Cody. Why wouldn’t I vote for Cody? It’s simple; the man is nothing but trouble. 

James Cody is a life long resident of Middletown who likes to boast that he and his family all attended and graduated from the Middletown school system. He has said that he wants to see a change in the way tax dollars are spent. “I’m running for school board as I’ve been involved in the community for a number of years and I’ve seen a number of things that need to be changed,” Cody said. “Hopefully, if I get on the board, we can make some of those changes which I think the district needs.” 

That sounds pretty good doesn’t it? Cody wants a seat on the BOE so that he has a say in how tax dollars are spent, because he has been involved in the community for a number of years and so that he can be an agent for change. James Cody is rather noble, don’t you think?  He sounds a bit like Barack Obama, doesn’t he? 

The problem with all this however, is that Mr. Cody has been a polarizing individual throughout all the endeavors in which he has been involved in. You either love him or you totally despise him, there is no middle ground. The bottom line with this guy is that he is really just out for himself, regardless of what he wants you all to believe. 

The saga behind the football fields: Cody looking out for himself. 

 As one of the founding members of Middletown South’s “Touchdown Club”, James Cody, amongst other things was one of the driving forces behind the artificial turf football field that was installed at High School South.  

 Mr. Cody at the time worked as a consultant for I.C. Improvements, a company that specializes in the installation of artificial turf fields. Cody lobbied the BOE for months in order to convince them to have a turf field installed at the “swamp”, as the field was affectingly referred to, due to the poor conditions that the field would be left in after a rainstorm. The BOE eventually relented to Cody’s pressure and sought bids for the installation of a turf field at High School South. 

Cody and I.C. eventually won the contract to install the field by being the lowest bidder for the job. How low did they bid? Low enough to have cost overruns, at which time Cody had to go in front of the BOE to request more money to complete the job. The BOE turned Cody and I.C. down, saying that a contract was a contract and that by state law the BOE could not reimburse I.C. for the overruns. I.C. would have to finish the job for the contracted price. 

This burned Cody’s ass, but I.C. Improvements finished the job for the contracted amount, losing money in the process, with an eye toward the turf field that would be installed at High School North later on.  

When it the time came to install the turf field at High School North, Cody and Co. did not feel that they should have to bid on the job, they felt that because they finished the installation of South’s field on time, even though they lost money on it, that I.C. Improvements should be given the contract without bidding for it. The BOE, to its credit turned down Cody. The BOE let it be known to James Cody again that by state statute, the BOE was obligated to seek the lowest qualified bid on any and all work sought by the BOE. 

In July 2007, the contract for the project was awarded to I.C. Improvements, the company that completed the work on High School South’s main athletic field in 2004.

The bid later was voided after it was deemed that IC was not a responsible bidder because the bid was missing documentation. 

The contract to install the new turf field at High School North was awarded the lowest bidder, Mondo USA.

 Cody and I.C. Improvements then filed a lawsuit against the BOE looking to stop Mondo USA from gaining the contract. They argued that Mondo USA was not qualified to for the job because they had never installed a turf field before, North’s would be its first. James Cody lost his case against the BOE; Mondo USA was allowed to start the project. 

As a result of Cody’s lawsuit, the cost to the BOE was $20,000 in legal fees. 

Now we all know what happened next, Mondo USA didn’t have a clue when it came to installing North’s field and after 2 years and thousands of dollars later in litigation costs, the BOE dismissed Mondo USA from the project. 

In the mean time while all of this was going on, James Cody attended every BOE meeting to badger its members with “ I told you so” at every opportunity that was given. At one point the BOE offered Cody a chance to be a project consultant and to compensate him for his work but after all of his talk, he turned his back on the board. He was just happy grandstanding. 

Eventually, I.C. Improvements was finally awarded the contract to fix the field when they were the lowest bidder after the project was resubmitted for bidding by the BOE.  James Cody swooped in like a hero and rubbed it into the faces of the BOE members. North’s field was completed in time for last years Thanksgiving Day game. 

 It should be noted that the Middletown Board of Education is now in litigation against Mondo USA to recoup the $1 million that it paid Mondo and others for the work that was never finished on the field.  

Cody and the phony Recall Walsh petition

Another good reason not to support James Cody‘s candidacy for the Middletown Board of Education is last years phony recall petition against fellow BOE member Patricia Walsh. 

Patricia Walsh has been a stellar member of the BOE for the past dozen years; at one time she served as its president. Last year while she attempted to gain a seat on the township’s governing body, Cody decided that it was a good time to payback the BOE for all that he and IC Improvements went through to gain the contract on North’s field.  What better way to seek revenge and embarrass a member of the BOE than to head a recall effort against Walsh? 

James Cody, Anthony Testa, and Kathleen Bjelka (Cody’s sister), calling themselves the Committee to Recall, B. O. E. Member Pat Walsh, made a lot of noise by threatening to file a recall petition against Walsh. They issued press releases  that stated  absurd claims like she raised spending and taxes more than any official in Middletown history or that she was responsible for the botched turf field.  They had  plenty of help from the local GOP, who helped to fuel the attacks of Cody and friends to embarrass and slander her. 

In the end, James Cody and his Committee to Recall, B.O.E. Member Pat Walsh, never filed their petition. It was all an attempt to embarrass Pat Walsh and the Middletown Board of Education. 

So I ask you, is “big Jim” Cody really a person that should be sitting on the Board of Education? A man who lobbied the BOE to install artificial turf fields at our high schools in order to gain financially from the projects and when he was turned down for North’s field filed a lawsuit against the BOE that cost the tax payers $20,000.  Is the man that lead a phony recall effort against a sitting board member, in revenge for being turned down for a job on a turf field, have the integrity that is needed to be a member of that board? And if elected, could he serve along side the person that he slandered effectively? I think not. 

When I walk into the voting booth this afternoon, I will be remembering ABC, which is Anyone But Cody


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Filed under High School North, High School South, IC Improvements, James Cody, Middletown Board of Education, School Board elections, Turf project