Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Davy to Spell Out Future of District

State Department of Education Commissioner Lucille E. Davy will come to Plainfield Thursday (Dec. 20, 2007) for a special public meeting on the “future direction of the district,” according to a legal notice today.

The board will meet in closed session at 6 p.m. and the public meeting will begin at 6:30 p.m. in the Plainfield High School Library.

On Tuesday, Board President Patricia Barksdale thanked Interim Superintendent Peter E. Carter and his “post-6/11” team, Interim Business Administrator Board Secretary Michael Donow and Interim Assistant Superintendent Walter Rusak, who also serves as interim high school principal. Carter’s last day in the district is Friday and Donow and Rusak are leaving Dec. 31.

“We are at a better place than pre-6/11,” Barksdale said.

The team took over the troubled district after the sudden resignation of former Superintendent Paula Howard and resignation of former business administrator/board secretary Victor Demming. It was only after coming on board that the team learned results of state DOE monitoring conducted earlier in the year. The New Jersey Quality Single Accountability Continuum report found the district failing in four of five performance areas and it was Carter’s team that had to address the findings.

On Tuesday, Carter distributed reports on actions taken or planned to fix problems in operations management, instruction and program, finance and personnel. The board must address the fifth category, governance.

Carter was supposed to stay on until June 30, but the whole team decided to cut their terms short after what Carter called “family missteps” in dealings with the board.

The DOE Office of Fiscal Accountability and Compliance found that general counsel Raymond Hamlin improperly interceded in the hiring process that brought Carter to Plainfield from Delaware. On Tuesday, Carter again alluded to the fateful morning when he was walking on the shore at Rehoboth Beach, Del., admiring the Atlantic Ocean, and got the phone call that launched his post-retirement employment in Plainfield.

Carter noted he would soon again be walking on the beach and looking at the ocean. Turning to Hamlin, he quipped, “Counsel, no phone calls, please.”

--Bernice Paglia


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