He waxed poetic about the wonders of the Principal Search Committee. The extent to which the public’s input was sought and heeded was, one had to be convinced, a marvel of inclusiveness and populist democracy.
And the constant critics and naysayers, he was quick to remind all, were nowhere to be seen.
In light of this it will be interesting to see if he is just as quick to level criticism when there is a total lack of such openness and inclusion when it comes to the most critical hiring function of the school department. In fact, it is the one hiring action with which the School Committee is directly charged. However, given his history of changing convictions at the whims of convenience, I doubt we will see that happen.
Specifically, I am referring to the hiring of a Superintendent to succeed Basan “Buzz” Nembirkow.
It has been a longstanding practice to appoint a search committee when the need arises to fill a vacancy in this position.
Indeed, it was major players among the current denizens of the committee who spoke out about the need to establish greater openness in the hiring of school principals. How then do these committee members explain item XII. B. on the agenda for next Wednesday’s meeting?
Vote to appoint Patricia Gardner Superintendent of Southbridge Public Schools, effective July 1, 2014 through June 30, 2015.
This is not an interim appointment like Mr. Nembirkow initially had. It is an appointment to the position of Superintendent. There has been no search committee. There is no agenda item calling for one.
A little less than two years ago Mrs. Donovan spoke at length about “best practices”. She invoked the phrase to justify the insertion of the School Committee into the principal hiring process. However, it would now appear that such “practices” were only invoked as “best”. Given what they’ve accustomed us to, the same people now seem to assume that Southbridge will gladly accept second or third best, or less.
We’ve seen an “interim” Superintendent elevated to full Superintendent stature with no competitive search (even though a search committee existed at the time). And, now, we have seen another individual who didn’t even hold that “interim” position elevated without the benefit of any competitive vetting.
As to Mr. Abrahamson’s criticism, my response is that some of us were smart enough to realize that the exercise was little more than window dressing. Now our suspicions have been vindicated. So, get bent, Brent.