Wednesday, December 19, 2007

The Issue that Won't go Away

A letter to the editor in this morning's Courier Times accuses former school board member Jason Bowman of influencing the recent hiring of an athletic director. The author of the letter, Steven Kramer of Middletown, adds that these actions represent an abuse of power and that any of the board members who were involved in this action should resign.
Please indulge me for a moment while I climb back on my soapbox . . .
1) To Mr. Kramer and all those who feel the board abused its power: I encourage you to focus on the issue, not the people. I have not seen any evidence which indicates that Bowman influenced this decision, and unless you have verifiable proof of inappropriate actions, please refrain from making baseless accusations. This makes an already bad situation even worse.
2) Instead of participating in the rumor mill, keep your argument grounded in fact. Talk about what you do know - the board, without any participation in the interview process, inexplicably went against the overwhelming recommendation of administration. Ask for answers. If you do not get answers, ask again.
3) To my fellow school board members: This is what happens when you take actions that contradict established best practices. Even if you made a decision with the best of intentions, people will assume the worst and make accusations as Mr. Kramer and others have done. I know you all wish this matter would go away - and it will, as soon as you can reassure the public that you understand their concerns and will act accordingly in the future.

11 comments:

pianomom1980 said...

This issue shouldn't go away because our school board never learns its lesson. It was only a few years ago we had a problem with a controvery over the food services manager. You think people would not make the same mistakes twice.

K.Colando said...

The school board should NEVER be involved in the hiring process.
I have complete confidence in Mr. Kadri and Dr. Muenker’s ability to do their job. I would imagine they both are well compensated for their positions…why not let them complete their job objectives/tasks.

I too was compelled to write the Courier, but my letter would be based on community talk (of which there is much). It’s true; I do not have confirmation on the information– although I am inclined to believe most if it.

Mrs. Pennington should have gotten the job based on her presentation/plan to administration. Apparently it was outstanding and that is why they wanted to make her an offer. Mr. Mags is a fine person, but the way he secured the job is dishonorable. Mr. Bowman should not make a recommendation for someone he golf’s with on a regular basis. They have a personal relationship and Bowman should have removed himself from the process---a process in which he has no business being in the first place.

Also, I truly believe the Mr. Webb’s interest in the hiring process stems from NOT being hired over Marie Wallace.

The board should do what is right…. NOT what is right for the board.

Anonymous said...

There should be qualifications for school board members other than simply wanting to run for office. I don't think any of these people understand how to run a mult-million dollar company. They certainly don't act like it.

Anonymous said...

Increasing taxes, declining test scores and our board full of inadequate board members hires inadequate staff. Things won't get better on their own. We need a million Neshaminy march.

mpmom0662 said...

I have heard many rumors like k.colando said. I wish they weren't true but I've been in Neshaminy too long to give board members the benefit of the doubt. Mr. O'Connor encouraged us to keep asking questions of our board, but I don't see the point. We get angry and demand answers, the board says whatever they say to justify their actions. Maybe there is change for a little while but it doesn't last. If it did, we wouldn't be going through this crap all over again. There are more people interested in ruining Neshaminy than improving it.

TV-observer said...

As I watch these school board meetings on TV, it is appears that something is going on between the school board and the administration. It is so obvious that Mr. Kadri is very highly qualified with his knowledge of educational, financial and technological issues. I have confidence in the administration. As a parent who has sent 3 kids through the system, I must say that I have been very happy, especially with the teachers and personnel staff. And with Mr. Kadri on board, it looks it has gotten even better. Leave the hiring decisions to the admimistration staff. That's their job. When your grade is an A+, and you are being micromanged and criticized by a board whose grade is far less, something doesn't make sense.

Stephen K. in Langhorne said...

I saw the township meeting on tv the other night and a couple of the directors were yelling over each other. Now we have all these problems with our school board. What is going on behind closed doors that makes these people act this way? Politicians always seem so honest when they run for office, then all hell breaks loose when they actually are on the job. Please don't lose your convictions to politics Mr. O'Conner. Our children need someone who will fight for them. Happy holidays.

Anonymous said...

Just because someone has a title doesn't make them qualified in everything. Every system needs a checks and balances...

Regardless of what happened, those in admin need the support of the community, to handle the real problems impacting the children, not the politicians. The kids need support to stay off of drugs, not join gangs all while earning an education that will assure a life sustaining income.

Concentrate on what is important!

William O'Connor said...

Dear Anonymous:
You're right that every system needs checks and balances, but that's not what our board did in this case. 10 administrators participated in numerous rounds of interviews, meeting with the final candidates. In the end, 7 or 8 of them agreed on one candidate. Since that would be considered strong consensus, they put forth the recommendation to hire who they believed to be the best candidate. Our board, none of whom participated in those interviews, chose another candidate not endorsed by the interview team. Board members did not cite any problems with the interview process, so there are no accusations of inappropriate actions on the part of administration. The Board simply chose another candidate because of his experience. Problem is that if this ever went to court, the attorney would ask our board members if experience was so important to them, why did they ignore the experience and recommendation of the 10 administrators?

Poker Player said...

I wonder if the board really wanted the chosen candidate or they just wanted to make a statement by picking the opposite of the administrators. It seems like both candidates were excellent choices. So maybe the administrators should have recommended candidate 'B' even though their pick was 'A'. So then when the board picks opposite, the administrators' candidate gets chosen.

Anonymous said...

Did anyone know that people were removed from the interview team during the process. This is not good hiring practices.