Friday, November 1, 2013

Southbridge School Committee Vacancy: Submit Application To Your Future Subordinate

On Tuesday October 29, there was a joint meeting of the Southbridge School Committee and the Town Council’s subcommittee on Education and Human Services.

Item number two on the agenda for that meeting was, “Discuss the process to ‘temporarily’ fill vacancy on the School Committee until the 2014 election.”

On October 30 a memorandum was released to the media that outlined the “process” that was adopted by this joint session. It reads as follows: 

DATE: OCTOBER 30, 2013
The Town is now seeking to fill one (1) vacancy on the Southbridge School Committee. The individual selected will serve until the Town election in June, 2014.
Residents who would be interested in serving on the School Committee should submit a letter of application, including experience, qualifications, and resume to: Superintendent of Schools, Town Hall, 25 Cole Avenue, Southbridge, MA 01550. The deadline is FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 22, 2013 AT NOON.
Applicants will be invited to attend a joint meeting of the Southbridge School Committee and the Southbridge Town Council, and at that time, they may make a brief presentation concerning their candidacy. The successful candidate will be chosen by a majority vote at a joint meeting of the Town Council and the School Committee to be held on DECEMBER 3, 2013.

Now, I might be overly critical, but I have several problems with this.

First, and foremost, since when does a person submit their application for a position to a person over whom they will have jurisdiction if selected?

The superintendent of the school district is, after all, the subordinate of the elected members of the school committee. Who in their right mind would submit an application for a position to someone over whom they would ultimately be the boss?

It would be far more appropriate to have such applications submitted to either the Town Clerk or the Town Manager.

Second, if one were running for school committee the only requirements would be that they be a town resident of voting age. What is this business of submitting an application, “ including experience, qualifications, and resume”.

Does this imply that an evaluation will be made about whether one is “worthy” of being considered for this position that goes beyond the basic requirements imposed for candidacy for election imposed by law? Who is to know if applications that do not meet the scrutiny of the superintendent will end up being discarded?

Finally, let’s assume that more than two people apply for the position.

Will the joint gathering keep voting until someone gets a majority or will a second runoff vote be held between the two top vote-getters or a least among those who receive a minimum number of votes? The word majority means more than 50% of the votes, anything less being a mere plurality. 

So, do we really need to wait until December 6 to resolve this? Well, I guess that, in light of the foregoing, that may be appropriate. It certainly shows that our town leaders would not have done any better a job with the Obamacare website.


  1. I want to say welcome back. I missed you.
    It seems that the once active blog culture has disappeared from Southbridge.
    Dennis Martinek has stopped writing about what matters to this town. Brent Abrahamson has removed his Massachusetts Obsrver site from his Link To Southbridge page.
    The Southbridge News has devoted most of its front page to articles from Charlton and Sturbridge.
    As a long time follower of Speak Out Southbridge, Brent and the Ozone I know that you guys sank into a swamp of infighting. But without you three we have nothing more than what the political bosses want us to know.
    I hope that we will see more soon from all of you.
    Thanks too to Paul Zotos for recording meetings we would not get to see without him.

    1. Thank You.
      Let me say that I hold no grudges. I have spoken out on policy issues about which I have disagreed with my blog colleagues as well as others. When there was a resort to personal attacks I have responded in kind. Perhaps this was unwise. But allow me to emphasize, I have no personal animosity toward anyone except those who have attempted to harm me on a personal level.
      I hope that ‘Nuff said on this.

    2. P.S. I too want to express my appreciation to Paul Zotos for his efforts.

    3. Also missed are the blogs formerly written by Raciel Fernandez, Monique Manna and Amelia Peloquin.

  2. Wow he said it all. He is right. We do need all of you. I miss them all.
    I had to run for council without all those views.
    Weighing in and infighting.
    It wasn't the same and we need to hear from all sides .
    Your welcome.
    And let's work together.
    Look around !!!

    1. I was at the Education, Health and Human Services subcommittee meeting. The issue of submitting an application stating your experience, qualifications, and including a resume was brought up. Members of the Town council and EHS subcommittee stated that being a registered voter was the only qualification needed to be on the School Committee.

      Town councilors agreed that if there were more than one candidate, each candidate would be given time to answer questions from the joint committee.
      Dr. Nembirkow offered to collect the names of the candidates and bring them before the joint committee.

      I agree with Mr. O’Brien’s point. The names should be submitted to the Town Clerk, as they would be for a regular election. This would avoid any appearance of deals being made.

    2. If the EHS subcommittee and members of the Town Council stated that the only qualification for the school committee candidate is to be a registered voter, why does the memorandum written by the superintendent state that a resident interested in serving on the school committee must submit a letter of application (to the Superintendent) including experience, qualifications and a resume? I do think something's rotten in the state of Southbridge.

  3. O.K, so we want someone to step forward and volunteer their time to take a seat on The School Committee but they have to send a resume?? What kind of bull is this and who is the smarty pants who asked for such a thing? This is volunteer with no pay therefor no resume necessary!!! Did all the other members send in their resumes when they ran? Let's be real, who the heck would go thru all of that for free!!!!

    1. I have a bad feeling that the superintendent and the chair of the school committee will be going through the resumes and only put forward those candidates they deem worthy. Applicants beware! They cannot do this!

  4. Queen McLaughlin and her ladies in waiting need to stop this nonsense now! Who the heck do they think they are by requiring the submission of a resume, qualifications and experience? If I recall Quinny and Congdon were unopposed in June's election. The community asked nothing of them. Get off your high horses girls, and do your damn job as school committee members not as the rulers of Southbridge.

  5. Well it seems that more and more folks have opened their eyes to the McLaughlin/Donovan frauds. Too bad so many of you voted for them and ousted jack Jovan. Voter remorse?
    You got what you wanted and deserve. The students, who couldn't vote, got a worse educational opportunity as a direct result of the actions and decisions of the girls.
    And it is only going to get worse with Buzz's decision to "terminate" several veteran educators recently. The law suits will be coming and the payouts, at taxpayer expense, will be paid out. But as the legal system is as slow as our MCAS scores are low, Buzz will be long gone. He'll be out bullying others in a different district.
    Why do the girls love him so much? Because they truly know so little!

  6. Hurry up and apply to be a school committee flunkie. The winner gets their own system provided IPAD. That's more than you get for being a town councilor.

  7. Kudos to Monique Manna for speaking out and protesting this travesty at last night's town council meeting.


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