Friday, October 24, 2014

Big Hollow Taxpayer Pressure Forces A Little Transparency

January 21, 2009 by  
Filed under General

The Big Hollow Taxpayers have won a small victory. On Monday, the school board backed down in hiring one of their own as the technology director. The pressure brought about by district residents in this situation forced the board to reopen the process.

Wright had been volunteering at the district for the previous three or four years helping to upgrade the district’s technology, and also has kept the board apprised of technology upgrades as needed, Gallichio said.

“I realized that Todd was not running for re-election in April, and Todd guided us through the all of the technology upgrades at this district on a volunteer basis,” she said. “With technology constantly upgrading, the board felt it was important to bring back this director position for the good of the school district.”
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Board members did confirm, however, Wright stepped down rather than leaving after the April election, to apply for the IT director position.

Board officials also confirmed Wright has been interviewed for the position, though would not say if he is the front-runner.

The board still does not have a salary range for the position, yet were set to give Mr. Wright the job Monday night. There was also no job requirements on the application website. Despite the lack of requirements and salary, the board was ready to hire one of their own.

This situation demonstrates why transparency is absolutely necessary at every level of government. The job was recommended by the school board member who wanted the job. It was posted right before Christmas. The position was not announced in the News-Sun until January 13th. this was when the agenda was posted for the board meeting Monday night.

I have called the Superintendent and left a message along with emailing him and the school board. I have yet to get a response from either. Why is the board remaining silent on this issue? this is especially troublesome now that this situation is being watched closely by district residents and the media.

This also shows why there needs to be watchdogs at every level of governing body meetings. If it hadn’t been for a district resident becoming aware of the situation and alerted the media and other district residents the school board would have easily hired a school board member and there would have been virtually nothing the residents of the district could have done about it.

This position has been open for several years. There really is no reason to rush into the hiring before new school board members are seated in April. In fact, waiting until April or later will also increase the number of candidates who may apply. School districts tell employees at this level by the end of March whether their contracts will be renewed. This timing also allows anyone interested in the position that is currently at another school district to complete the school year before starting in BIg Hollow. All of this increases the number of applicants.

Even though the school board reopened the process, they could still go through the process and hire Mr. Wright regardless of the other candidates who apply. This process should be done in the open. A couple of suggestions on how to handle this are the following:

  • Post all candidates resumes on the district website
  • Interview all candidates in public
    • Have a first round of written questions/answers open to the public
    • Hold all second round of interviews on 1 day
    • Seclude candidates so they cannot hear the others answers
    • Interview each candidate in open session

By handling the process in the open it will show an openness. If not, any person who finally is hired will be tainted with hints of secrecy and a corrupt process.

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