‘Unfortunate and disappointing’: Former CEC 24 president disputes allegations that she violated bylaws

President CEC 24
Photo via cec24.org

Just a couple of weeks after former CEC 24 President FerdieLynn Lee was removed from her seat by a majority vote, she told QNS she completely disputes any claims that she violated bylaws. 

Lee’s term was set to end in June, but the council worked to remove her as president on Wednesday, March 9, after calling for an investigation. Council members cited Article II, Section 5 disciplinary action per her removal: “An officer may be removed from his/her position as an officer by a majority vote of the whole number of the council for misconduct, malfeasance or neglect of duty, following the referral and investigation of charges.”

However, Lee adamantly claims she did not violate any bylaws. 

“I can say in full confidence I didn’t break any bylaws or regulations,” Lee said. “I attended every single meeting. I chaired everything I could. I read my officer’s duties and stuck to it.”

Lee speculated that her removal was really because of the politics of the council and her being an outsider as a non-native New Yorker. Lee was born and raised in Hawaii and said that her not going through the New York City public school system might have acted as a disadvantage for her. 

“I don’t know New York City schools like many other parents do,” Lee said. “I’m the strange one because I am not a product of New York City education.”

During a meeting last week, the council elected former CEC 24 Treasurer Michael Conigliaro as president. Conigliaro recently ran for City Council for District 29 but lost. 

The council conducted their investigation into Lee with a survey of questions, asking council members about their experiences with her. According to Lee, the investigative committee failed to even speak with her directly about these allegations to uncover the truth. 

“A survey was conducted and results were explained to me and voted based off that,” Lee said. “I would have involved me more, the person in question.”

CEC 24 Vice President Henry Choi initially called for the vote to consider removal in February, telling QNS he thought “a change in presidential leadership would best reflect the wishes of the parents in the district.”

Other council members have continuously refused to speak about the specific allegations and issues they held over Lee. The council did not respond to QNS’ request for comment by press time. 

Lee, herself said she doesn’t fully know why the council members or parents wanted her to be removed. 

“It’s not fully clear,” Lee said. “I’ve been by the book. If anyone had any perception of me, it was never said to me.”

Lee said that this experience has been extremely upsetting for her since she joined the organization to do “great things.”

“It was so unfortunate and disappointing,” Lee said. “When you volunteer to be a part of your own child’s life and their school life, it’s a big deal. [I wanted] to do it so that other children’s and parents’ experience was better. My hope was to serve as best as I could.”

The council removed her as president but does not have the power to remove her from the council, so Lee will act as a council member until June 2023 when she is up for election. 

“It’s not going to stop me from doing great things,” Lee said. “As a CEC member, I’m going to focus on the things that are important to me and my schools and the schools I liaise with. I’m no longer the chair of the meeting but that’s OK with me. We set out to be an advisory board and that’s what we’re going to do until we’re no longer elected.”

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