Friday, January 11, 2008

Undercutting the Chair

Further evidence that no one is in charge comes from George Thompson in this morning's City Paper:

Board member George Thompson said it’s important to keep in mind that Warden, though she is board chair, was representing only herself in the e-mail.

“We have not authorized her to say anything, or to do anything,” he said.

Thompson pointed to a portion of the board’s governance process policy, which states that the Board of Education chair should “refrain from exercising any authority as an individual to supervise or direct the Director.”
He's exactly right, but of course the BOE hasn't authorized HIM to say this either.

So if you had hope that MNPS BOE Chair Marsha Warden's direct order
I expect you to review the questions asked at the meeting and present written responses to those questions to Ms. Smith, the members of the Metro Council, they Mayor, and the local press. I expect this to be done immediately.
in her email to MNPS Director of Schools Dr. Pedro Garcia yesterday was going to be fulfilled, think again. What I would have liked Mr. Thompson to say is something along the lines of: "I happen to agree that this information must be provided to these people as quickly as possible and I'll present a motion at the next BOE meeting to instruct Garcia to do so." If he did, no one is reporting that.

The Board has a Code of Conduct and in Governance Policy 9.2 it states:
2. Board members may not attempt to exercise individual authority over the

a. Members’ interaction with the Director and with staff must recognize the lack
of authority vested in individuals except when explicitly authorized by the

b. Members’ interaction with the public, press or other entities must recognize
the same limitation and the inability of any Board member to speak for the
Board except to repeat explicitly-stated Board decisions.

c. Members will not publicly express individual negative judgments about
Director or staff performance outside the formal evaluation process. Any
such judgments of Director or staff performance will be made only by the full
This Governance Policy is part of the problem with the BOE and thus the entire system. I'm not saying we need to adopt a free for all BOE but this policy becomes a very convenient excuse as well as a crippler for real action. I knew if I had stayed on the BOE I was going to violate this policy eventually. It's too easy to characterize legitimate public discussion of issues as 'negative judgments'. Never mind whether those judgments are accurate or not.

Anyone wanting to take on the task of running for School Board this August should read this entire document. Frustrated citizens and parents should be familiar with it also.

George Thompson is up for reelection in August.

1 comment:

din819go said...


The whole policy governance thing has been a huge reason why we have the problems with the BOE and Director we do!