There is a reason why elected officials come in large quantities.
Congresspeople, Senators, State Reps, Council Members, Commissioners, Supervisors, School Board Members all act as legislating bodies. The idea is to take a large enough pool of people with varying degrees of experience and outlooks to share the load of governing ourselves.
My local school board has a problem. It turns out the Superintendent, who theoretically answers to the school board, is alleged to be having an affair with one of the people who reports to him. The local Fox News Station had a splashy story on it complete with salacious emails.
Both parties, it is alleged, have recently started divorce activities to break apart their families. That is a sadness that will not be further explored here. These families have enough problems without having their names being dragged through the media. (This is also why there will be no links relating back to the original stories.)
This story is about how the government is conducting itself.
Since it does involve the Superintendent of the School District, these are delicate matters.
The school board chose to go public with the enlistment of the law firm of a former GOP County Commissioner to investigate the events at $150 per hour. Never mind that the Lawyer’s current web site (http://pview.findlaw.com/lawyer/paul-baker-bartle/pa/norristown/MTk2MTkwN18x/PP ) lists him as an attorney who performs primarily Estate Planning and Wills. Nowhere on his web site does it talk about the lawyer being able to do investigative work. Nor does it mention if he performs Human Resource litigation. Since the entire School Board are GOP members – I hear the faint sounds of the ceremonial circling of the wagons.
This week’s school board meeting offered no resolution to this issue. It was the middle of October that this firm was hired. We are now in the middle of December.
It is almost as though we have elected officials afraid or intimidated to do the jobs themselves. We elect these folks with the idea we trust them enough to do these jobs. We need to allow them that leeway sometimes. It is called a public ‘trust’ for a reason.
How about this – there are nine members of the Methacton School Board. All members of this board bring different experience to bear. Some are business people who know what a manager/underling romance can do to the work environment. One is actually a retired investigator by trade. The school board has a human resource director specifically hired to understand the nuances of the thicket of policies of the day. There is actually a solicitor already hired by the School Board.
The Superintendent works for the School Board. A sub-committee of the school board could have been appointed to pull the Superintendent into the back room and ask him some pointed questions. Optionally, the board could have reached out to community members having the proper professional experience in this regard.
A sane, humane, and proper determination can then be made away from the prurient eyes of the press and public. The committee could recommend any of the following along a wide spectrum of options:
- Nothing happened here
- Something happened, but we are getting the Superintendent Training on how to properly manage staff and get counseling for the families affected
The business people on the board like to boast about running government like a business – cheaply and effectively – then let’s see them do it.
We don’t need politicians getting payouts at the hint of someone messing up.