I won't speculate on why Neshaminy residents voted the way they did in November, but I can tell you that it made me the lone school board member not under control of the Republican party. That lack of political diversity is certainly not good for the district. It doesn't matter which party you're talking about - nothing good comes from single party domination. And it didn't take very long for the politically empowered to prove my point.
At Monday's meeting where our newest board members were sworn in, a last-minute motion was brought before the board to vote for a new health insurance broker. The last time the issue of our insurance broker was considered was during a May 2009 meeting of the Finance & Facilities Committee when four brokers were interviewed. The Committee expressed interest in interviewing three of the brokers a second time, and that was the last time we heard or discussed the matter. Nearly six months went by with no second interviews or further consideration, and all of a sudden our new board is voting on it. But we weren't choosing from among the three finalists from the May 2009 meeting. Only one insurance broker was brought forward for a vote on this night - The Selzer Company.
Aside from the short notice given, what made me suspicious about this vote was contained in the minutes from the F&F Committee's May 2009 meeting. As you can see at the very bottom of section 1(D) on page 2 where each board member rates their two top candidates, Selzer Company wasn't even the top vote getter:
Based on the statements made by the Committee members, the broker with the greatest support was Gallagher Benefit Services but it is clearly stated that a second round of review was necessary.
Through notes taken by F&F Committee members, I also learned that Selzer did not provide a fee schedule for their services while Gallagher stated their fees and offered to return any commissions earned. And while Gallagher freely stated some of their existing customers, Selzer would only provide such information IF they won the bid.Despite all this, our new board saw fit to ram through a vote for Selzer. I wonder what made that company so popular that the F&F Committee would inexplicably forgo a second round of review?
There were more partisan political dynamics going on this evening than just the insurance broker issue. Watch the meeting for yourself on cable TV and take note of who spoke during public comment and what was said. All this courtesy of an election that put one party firmly back in charge.
Our school board has made tremendous strides over the past year, and I believe our political balance had much to do with that. I can only hope that the partisan behavior evident at this past meeting was an aberration, and that our Board will continue to serve the entire community rather than political interests.