The needler in the haystack.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

'Acting' vs. 'Interim': Is there a difference?




Both 101.5 FM's Dave Matthau and the Courier are referring to Plainfield schools superintendent Steve Gallon's replacement as the 'interim' superintendent of schools.

My notes from last evening's meeting reflected that I heard both the word 'interim' and the word 'acting' used; I opted to refer to Anna Belin Pyles as the Board's choice for 'acting' superintendent.

Here's why.

ACTING can refer to a person who discharges the duties of another because that original person is prevented -- whether by suspension from office or incapacitation (as in an illness, accident, or absence) -- from executing their responsibilities.

For example, Plainfield's charter provides (Section 3.3) that when the Mayor is disabled or away from the municipality for LESS THAN 48 HOURS, the City Administrator is automatically designated the 'acting mayor' (or a pre-selected department head, if the city administrator is unable to serve).

For situations extending BEYOND 48 HOURS or during an emergency declared by the Council, a council member shall serve as 'acting mayor'.

INTERIM often refers to a person temporarily filling the vacancy caused by the RESIGNATION or PERMANENT REMOVAL of an official, pending the filling of the vacancy with a permanent appointee.

In normal parlance, I would expect that since Dr. Gallon is apparently SUSPENDED and not REMOVED from his office as superintendent of schools -- that would be dependent on his conviction of the charges lodged against him -- the term should be ACTING.

However, English being English, you can apparently have it either way (see here), which gives a little insight into why non-English speakers find learning idiomatic English so maddening.


-- Dan Damon [follow]

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8 comments:

Ron said...

I'm fascinated by how much worse the city continues to get. It's astounding how terrible things are and how the people in charge seem completely incapable of getting much of anything right. At all. I'm horrified by these stories. Plainfield deserves better.

olddoc said...

For what my opinion is worth, your definition of "acting" and "interim" correctly describes the intended meaning of the terms.In this case she is "Acting" at present, but if he is terminated and she continues in the role until a new superintendent is appointed , then she should be designated a s"Interim".
It makes little difference since this board or its attorney seem to have a distorted concept of their legal exposure.

Anonymous said...

Gerry Green has been the King of Plainfield for far to many years. When are the citizens going to make the changes needed ? City Hall,PMUA,School Board,Planning and Zoaning, he has his hand in them all. So we all do not wind up drowning in debt while he retires a rich king,we all need to go to the School Board and City Council meetings and fight to save our city!

Anonymous said...

Acting=not csa certificated

Interim=all certications to meet state requirements for a csa

Anonymous said...

Not sure which is more horrific - The BP Oil Spill or the City of Plainfield. The only thing - at least there is a chance of the oil spill being cleaned up

Oh - that's gotta be the quote of the year and make the "Best Of" list. What you think Dan?

Anonymous said...

As a plainfield resident (you see I did not capitalize plainfield) I can say this....
The apathy is disheartening. So many complain, but when it's time to vote, many don't. If only all of those complaining would VOTE, it would show the mayor and jerry green that we are tired and we're not going to take it anymore.
While I did not grow up here, I am frustrated at meeting people who have and their attitude is...."it's always been like that..". Well if that's the case -do something about it.
I love my house, I love my neighbors, but the politicians and political ineptitude in plainfield suck!

Anonymous said...

maybe a new term should be contrived since their are 2 paychecks now going for the same position. How bout something like "double-dollar superintendant" as a quick thought.

Anonymous said...

Teach Plainfield!

http://teachplainfield.blogspot.com/2010/05/solutions-in-box.html