Reporter Editorials: In praise of two leaders

JULIE LANE PHOTO |  Water Advisory Committee Chairman John Hallman.

Water Advisory Committee Chairman John Hallman.

Getting it done
Something unusual happened around here Monday night.

A town leader called for action on an issue without forming a study group or insisting on taking an “on the one hand, but on the other hand” tactic to working through a problem.

Instead it was short and sweet: A basic acknowledgment of a serious problem and a call to do something immediately.

John Hallman, chairman of the Water Advisory Committee, took the second word of that group to heart by openly advising the Town Board to take action to provide water for families whose wells have been salted by Superstorm Sandy.

Typically storms wash saltwater into wells, especially in low-lying sections of the Island. The hurricane that struck us 17 months ago had a particularly devastating affect on a number of wells.

Mr. Hallman wasn’t particularly interested in how to get water to residents hit hard by the storm — there were a couple of questions about logistics — he was more interested in getting it done.

What’s a house worth if you can’t drink the water? he asked his colleagues.

What indeed?

REPORTER FILE PHOTO | School Superintendent Michael Hynes.

REPORTER FILE PHOTO | School Superintendent Michael Hynes.

Taking action
Another leader  in our community deserves our praise and support.

Superintendent of Schools Michael Hynes has taken the lead in questioning authorities and fighting the good fight on education directives that have come down from on high and may be damaging to students.

“They may have heard us, but I don’t know if they’re actually listening,” Dr. Hynes said, summing  up a meeting he and 29 other superintendents from around the state had with members of the New York State Board of Regents last month in  Albany.

The problem is the so-called “Common Core” standards that quite possibly can derail students’ chances at a comprehensive education and handcuff dedicated teachers striving to do their best in the classroom.

Dr. Hynes didn’t throw up his hands and do nothing. He took the spirit of the old union organizer, Joe Hill, who said, “Don’t mourn … organize.”

He and like-minded fellow superintendents David Gamberg of Southold and Steven Cohen of Shoreham-Wading River have organized a free event tonight, Thursday, March 13, entitled “Public Education at a Crossroads.”  The event kicks off at 7:30 p.m. at Stony Brook University’s Wang Center, with Dr. Hynes and his colleagues hosting a panel of education heavyweights, prestigious authors, theorists and activists from here and abroad.

You can be part of it by attending the event in Stony Brook or by going to the Reporter’s website,, where  we will be streaming the proceedings live for you.