Saturday, July 18, 2009

Citizen Representative Interviews set

Some refreshing news for a change. Interest in citizen representative positions has lagged the past several years, with, on at least one occasion, the need to re-post and further seek volunteers to fill a seat.

Not so this year. In fact we have 9 different applicants for 5 available seats.

Interviews are scheduled for Monday July 20 from 7:00 p.m. to 9:30 and then Tuesday July 21 from 11:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.

[5 applicants for one 2-yr vacancy]
John Welke, Jan Fournier, Christina Klawitter, Melissa Vervoort-Landsness, Patrick Anderson

[3 applicants for 2 vacancies; one 2-yr seat and one 1-yr seat]
John Welke, Erich Huemoeller, Patrick Anderson

[3 applicants for one 2-yr vacancy]
John Welke, Erich Huemoeller, Patrick Anderson

[4 applicants for one 2-yr vacancy]
Betty Collier, Harold Rayford, Christina Keeley, John Welke

What's the crystal ball say about filling the slots?

Well...let's start with FT&T and Finance, as those are pretty easy. There are 3 seats available between the two committees and the same 3 candidates (Anders, Huemoeller, and Welke) are the only applicants for both. Unless board president John Whalen has some reason to "DQ" one or more of these candidates, it's a titanium lock that each will get a slot on either FT&T or Finance. [SP-EYE- How on earth would it look to play musical chairs and say, "Hey...we have 3 slots and 3 guys, but one of you doesn't get a seat?] But let's look a little closer and see if we can project further.

There's only 1 seat, a 2-yr term, on Finance, a vacancy created when applicant Pat Anderson completes his term (1 yr) at the end of July. A casual observer might think, "Hey, he's served there, why not just "re-up" him and give him the seat. We won't presume to anticipate how Mr. Whalen will answer that, but certainly board Policy (BCE) and procedure (BCE-R) would seem to preclude Mr. Anderson's candidacy for Finance.

1. These policies only allow a citizen to serve on a Committee for a maximum of 2 consecutive years. Since this is a 2-yr seat, Mr. Anderson would have to serve 3 years, which would violate the policy. Of course Mr. Whalen could change the seat to a 1-yr term.

2. But that move would create some further problems with the policy by requiring that both citizen seats be filled next year. The board procedure indicates that "Every effort shall be made to avoid replacing both citizen members on any given committee in the same year". might be possible. We'd be interested in understanding how Whalen would substantiate that "every effort"...let alone any effort... had been made to so, however.

3. Last but not least, board policy states that in order to be considered for a re-appointment, Mr. Anderson would have had to have submitted his request to do so prior to July 1, rather than the July 10 deadline for open seats. SP-EYE did not request copies of the candidates' letters, but it would seem that since re=appointment does not require an interview.

Therefore, for Financed, we see candidates Huemoeller and Welke vying for the Finance seat. Based on Huemoeller's background in finance and investing, we'd have to give the nod here to Huemoeller for Finance. That would place Anderson and Welke on FT&T.

Taking Anderson and Welke out of the mix because they now have been seated, leaves us with Jan Fournier (just completing a 2-yr term on FT&T) , Christina Klawitter, and Melissa Vervoort-Landsness.

This could be a tough call. On the one hand, we have Ms. Fournier, who has served the board well and is seen by some as eying a run for the school board next spring. Passing her over, however, would open the door for one of the new-comers to board committees. This is a tough call. If anyone has curriculum experience, they would get the edge over Fournier; otherwise our money is on Fournier.

Taking Welke out of the mix because he has been seated, leaves us with three newcomers: Betty Collier, Harold Rayford, Christina Keeley.

Without knowing their qualifications, Pastor Harold Rayford jumps out as an obvious choice. As a pastor, he certainly understands and has experience with the confidentiality needs that go hand in hand with HR issues. In addition, Pastor Rayford also has provided the district with an excellent resource in their recent efforts to effectively deal with the changing diversity of the school district. Our money is on Pastor Rayford for HR.

Of goes without sayin' that...we're just sayin'. ANYTHING can happen with this school board! We will know for certain at the next regular board meeting on Monday July 27, when the committee appointments are voted on.

The downside of all this, of course, is that if the selections go as we predict, at least 3 and maybe 4 of the 5 newcomers to board-committee-land will be rebuffed in their first attempt to engage with the board. And that is unfortunate. Food for thought school board: since "nothing dies in committee" and ALL committee items eventually come to the full board, what's the harm in adding additional citizen representatives to the board committees? After DO want to engage the community...right? And, as the board has said, the committees are the place to engage the board in discussion on "hot" topics....right?

In the worst case scenario, you MIGHT get a few more administrative recommendations coming out of committee with a "NO" vote. You can always cancel that at the board table...right? Thinking out of the box???