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It is Called a Public Trust for a Reason

A School Superintendent is alleged to be having an affair with one of the people who reports to him. How come there are payouts to a former GOP Commissioner?

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
  • Termination

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.

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truthsayer December 13, 2012 at 04:50 PM
I would agree that it seems like a waste of taxpayer money to hire a laywer to "investigate" the situation to which you refer, but here are the likely reasons for doing so... The subordinate to whom you referred was recently hired. This gives rise to the question of whether a preferential treatment was received, due to the implied relationship. Were there more qualified candidates for the job, and if so, could the district be at risk of a law suit? Are there specific policies in place that would prohibit co-workers from having a relationship? And are there policies that prohibit an employee from having a relationship with a person to whom they report directly? These are likely the reasons a lawyer is retained, so as to sort out the legal ramifications of such issues. Lawyers have complicated our society beyond belief, by bring suits for every conceivable reason, and they have guaranteed themselves a constant revenue stream in almost every aspect of our lives. You take this opportunity to bash Republicans, but miss the real danger to our society...lawyers.
truthsayer December 13, 2012 at 04:52 PM
As for the Fox 29 story, it seems like a non-story to me, and I was shocked that Fox 29 aired it. The story was based on innuendo and speculation, showing emails that could have come from any email account, including a jealous spouse. There was no evidence of any wrong doing, and the reporter stated it was newsworthy because it involved "public officials" who should be setting a good example for the children. Unfortunately, that shipped has sailed. No one much cared about the phyical relationship Bill Clinton had with Monica Lewinsky in the Oval office, and I can't see them caring about this incident. Since when did Fox 29 become the morality watchdog? However, should anyone lose their well-paid jobs over the story, I suspect the lawyers will be circling again, hoping to bring forth a law suit against the district and Fox 29, and then more tax dollars will be spent, and the lawyers will once again profit. Funny how the lawyers always come out on top, and we citizens pay the penalty.
Joe The Nerd Ferraro December 13, 2012 at 09:19 PM
it changes the work environment.
Joe The Nerd Ferraro December 13, 2012 at 09:21 PM
actually the subordinate was a long time teacher who was promoted from within. The lawyer hired shows no indication of doing this type of work - I see only of a political connection..
Joe The Nerd Ferraro December 13, 2012 at 09:22 PM
the Fpx29 report aired about a month AFTER this lawyer was hired. still no word from the school board on this.

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