Sunday, February 20, 2011

HR Position Tabled AGAIN-- Whalen Putting $$ Where His Mouth Is

In his 5-year tenure with the school board, has John Whalen EVER seen an expenditure he couldn't pass up? Has he EVER used the word "cut" in a sentence that didn't have food as its subject? At Monday's school Board meeting, Whalen surprised us all. Apparently he is SO convinced that hiring a new Human Relations and Recruitment Specialist position (to the tune of $75-80,000 in salary and benefits) is the the preeminent panacea to solve the district's growing diversity puzzle--- that he used the "C" word.  

“This is an item that I am willing to support right now.  I am willing to cut other items in order to make it work. We have talked about this for a long time, we can continue doing that, but it is an item I feel like I need to put my money where my mouth is, and I’ll support it again.”
---Board President John Whalen

Whalen's voting buddy Jim McCourt used the "C" word during a plea to support an earlier agenda item.
"We need to cuts somewhere else to [implement the district's new AVID program]"
---Board Treasurer Jim McCourt

How did other Board members react?

We have to start taking action on this.  Our track record [for recruiting and retaining teachers of color] is abysmal, and I think we have to make it better. Regardless of what happens in the budget, we are going to have turnover of teachers. We have turnover of teachers every year. I think we have got to get this person in here now and not wait.”
---Jim McCourt

"I was against this before and I haven't seen anything to change my mind."
--David Stackhouse

"I encouraged bring this forward, but as I look through the action plan, a lot of the things we've tried have not been overly successful.  I'm not sure throwing a position with no sunset date will fix it.  I, too, would like to postpone [this decision]."
"A couple of you  have talked about cuts; I look forward to hearing them on Monday [Feb. 21st, scheduled School Board Work-study session on the budget]."
--- John Welke

"I'm not going to vote for it tonight.  There's too much uncertainty [in the state budget picture].
---Board Vice President Terry Shimek

“I still am uncertain as to how hiring one person is going to change the culture of our school district.  We need to be looking at exit surveys. We don’t need to hire someone to do that. We should have that in place right now.  The last thing I want is to turn around and say we don’t have the money to support the position, and we need to let you go.  That is the worst thing we need."
---Jill Camber-Davidson


Motion by Terry Shimek, second by John M Welke. Final Resolution: Motion Carried

In Favor: Caren Diedrich, Jill Camber Davidson, John M Welke, Terry Shimek

Opposed: David Stackhouse, Jim McCourt, John Whalen
(Note1: Don't be misled by Stackhouse voting against postponing the motion.  He clearly does not support hiring the position.  We believe his vote reflects a desire to vote the position down and be done with it.)

(Note 2: In  Caren Diedrich's characteristic tradition for zaniness, she initially made the motion to approve the position.  Then --after seeing that wouldn't be flying---she withdrew her original motion and made a second motion to postpone the issue until the board's March 14th meeting.  That motion failed on a 2-5 vote.)