HSE's School Board Debacle

Dunce_corner_2Here's an excellent lesson in transparency and one that bloggers in particular should appreciate.  Earlier this week the HSE School Board decided to fire Superintendent Concetta Raimondi.  This event occurred approximately six months after the same board voted unanimously to not only extend Raimondi's contract but give her a raise as well.  The cost to taxpayers: $266K.  So while valuable school programs are being trimmed across the state, these knuckleheads decide to waste more than a quarter million dollars of taxpayer money.  Nice.

But the real lesson in all of this isn't so much the waste and indecisiveness as how the message was delivered and continues to be delivered.  I think the Indy Star's recent editorial summed it up quite well.  When Raimondi's contract was extended back in August, Board President Jeff Sturgis was quoted as saying, "We're very pleased with her performance in maintaining the standard of excellence that we have come to expect at Hamilton Southeastern."  The day Raimondi was fired however, Sturgis noted how the board has become more "seasoned and decisive" since last August.  Gee, I wonder what new direction we can expect this board to take six months from now after they're even more "seasoned."

There's all sorts of speculation about the real reason Raimondi was terminated but the board isn't saying much.  The decision to fire her was made by the board in a secret closed-door session that morning.  Now that the board is feeling the pressure from the community's reaction ("puzzled and infuriated") they're following up that first closed-door session with another one today "to clarify their reasoning."

Are you kidding me?!  They need to meet behind closed doors to clarify their reasoning?  Is there some reason why they didn't do that earlier in the week, before they fired this Superintendent?!  This situation just keeps going from bad to worse.

Even if the board could suddenly stop their waffling and avoid any additional embarrassing decisions, they now have the task of filling an open Superintendent's position.  This begs the question: What qualified candidate would ever want to work for such an awful board, one that could reward you one day and then fire you for no viable reason six months later?  I'd have to question that candidate's judgment skills.  Seriously, it reminds me of that old Groucho Marx line, "I don't want to belong to any club that will accept people like me as a member."

What an unfortunate situation for this community to find itself in.  I'm embarrassed to say that I haven't voted in a board election for several years, so I have myself to blame.  That will change though as I am committed to voting out all the incumbents in the next election.

If Rumsfeld Writes a Book...

Rumsfeld...would anybody want to read it?  I agree with Kassia Krozser and her post on Booksquare, partly because of her point about what's likely to be an insanely high author advance, but mostly because I can't think of anyone else I'd care less to read about.  I take that back.  There is one book I'd read Rumsfeld's ahead of: How I Saved FEMA, by Michael Brown, a purely fictional project that (thankfully) will never see the light of day.

On a more positive note, my lovely wife got me a copy of Tony Dungy's Quiet Strength, which I plan to start reading immediately.  Now there's a guy I could learn a lot from I'm sure.  Local sports columnist Bob Kravitz offered this review of Quiet Strength in Tuesday's Indianapolis Star.  It's funny...I know a lot of people who can't stand Kravitz and his opinions.  I can't think of any time I ever disagreed with him though, and I'll bet this book review is no exception.


WikileaksI just read this article...  Why do I feel like this Wikileaks idea is a train wreck just waiting to happen?  I think it's a wonderful idea in the sense that maybe, just maybe it will hinder oppression somewhere in the world.  But I also wonder how much misinformation is going to appear, get edited, disappear, etc.

That's the nature of wikis, right?  Sometimes errors are posted and, as the article says, they "will rely on the global community to police the material."  That sounds good in theory, but how many angry employees are going to start posting all sorts of half-truths about their boss or the company they work for?  How long will many of those posts sit unedited, all because someone thought they could really spread the rumors under a cloak of secrecy?  How long will it take for the first company to track an employee's browser history or use some other means to pinpoint the post to them?