Tuesday, June 05, 2007

BOE Meeting a Bust

The agenda for Tuesday’s special school board meeting included a resolution to appoint a new business administrator/board secretary, but after an hour in closed session, members emerged and board President Patricia Barksdale said no action would be taken.

Former business administrator/ board secretary Victor Demming left the district June 1 to take a similar post in East Orange.

The resolution Tuesday had blanks for the name, date of hire and salary of the new individual.

The agenda Tuesday also included a resolution to hire Evan S. “Steve” Gillingham as interim business administrator/board secretary at $100 per hour and one to hire Lerch Vinci & Higgins to provide financial advisory services for the district until June 30, but no vote was taken on either of those items. The firm was to have helped the district respond to the state Department of Education’s request for more information regarding the 2007-08 budget at a fee not to exceed $10,500.

The meeting was scheduled for 7 p.m., at which time Homeland Security Director Don Moye opened the door to the nearly empty school library and announced there would be a 20-minute delay. Although the library was fitted out for a crowd, only Plaintalker and a staff member to operate the sound system were present. As time passed, two other people came in.

Just before 8 p.m., board members entered. After the Pledge of Allegiance, Barksdale said no decision was made in executive session and no action would be taken in public on any of the items. The meeting was then adjourned.

The meeting clashed not only with the June primary, but also the school district’s “Laws of Life” awards ceremony Tuesday at the high school. In addition, the agenda for the meeting was not placed online. Those who bemoan poor attendance at board meetings might take this as the “poster child” example of how not to engage the community. Call a meeting, don’t let folks know what it is about on the official web site, set the date to conflict with other important events. And then don’t take action.

The average citizen who might have sat around for an hour only to find there was no outcome will surely opt for staying home with TV the next time and figuring the system is just too cryptic to follow.


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