Going Through the Motions

by John Belfy

I attended the meeting last [Wednesday, March 17] night including the Search committee at 4:00. Watching this was probably analagous to watching hot dogs being made — it was ugly. I think John Erwin sincerely hopes to come up with the best possible candidate. But it is clear that 3 on the Committee and 5 on the Board want a candidate that fits their “master plan” — and that probably means Gurban.

To do it right, they would have to agree on an unbiased, professional search firm and probably spend about $40,000. That probably won’t happen unless someone funds it from the outside. They seem to have defined qualifications sufficiently — only to ignore them. Their salary limits may present a problem and they might have to include the Wirth house to land the best person. But the search firm would be able to help with those definitions and decisions.

They have approved a schedule that includes unnecessary steps and pushes the decision to November 3 — final selection resulting in an offer. There was already a mention of “what if we don’t find someone by then?” And the
statement was made that “we could extend the interim superintendent’s contract.”

In simplistic terms, it seems to me that:

  1. Public input called for a “parks” person — it was ignored
  2. The controlling 5 wanted “their” person
  3. Public outrage was recognized only for window dressing
  4. They will spend $20,000 to $30,000 on a process with the only practical purpose of looking good
  5. Then the “five” will vote in Gurban

I just went into that meeting to listen. But
I have seen enough of this Board to recognize
the obvious. If they ignored the pretense and
had the guts to say what they were doing, it
would at least be honest. Am I naive to think
or hope that this Board would collectively
want the “best” superintendent? I am afraid
that ultimately the “Five” will get “their”