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Sunday, May 9, 2010

Shedding light on BOE 'emergency' meeting, Hernandez raises other issues

BOE member Renata Hernandez (at right), with
BOE President Lisa Logn-Leach and Council President Annie McWilliams,
before she left Friday's joint Council-BOE meeting.

Those trying to cut through the thicket of speculation about Friday's 'emergency' BOE meeting which failed to take place are in board member Renata Hernandez' debt for posting on her blog the sequence of events (and channels of communication) of that afternoon (see here).

While board president Lisa Logan-Leach speaks to pressures exerted by Commissioner Schundler's office as well as county superintendent Centuolo, it is clear from Hernandez' post that the chain of communication was seriously flawed, and that other questions remain unanswered.

Consider this: While they were elected on April 20, their election certified several days later, and they were sworn in on May 4, as of Friday new board members Abdul-Haqq, Edwards and Hernandez DID NOT HAVE --
a) district-provided email accounts,
b) district-provided Blackberries, or
c) district-provided computers.
Given the calamitous situation in which the Board of Education finds itself, it is beyond comprehension that the Board President did not ensure that ALL board members -- and ESPECIALLY THE NEW ONES -- were in the loop and provided with these necessary tools to perform their duties instamente.

Hernandez is absolutely correct to insist that board members be fully informed before being asked to make any decision. (That is even more interesting in the light of Maria Pellum's report on the maneuvering around firing the board attorney and hiring a new one -- see here -- where it seems board member Brenda Gilbert had information that was not shared with others, Wilma Campbell in particular).

It was no secret that
Abdul-Haqq, Edwards and Hernandez were coming on board and needed to be put in the loop and brought up to speed quickly. Was Superintendent Gallon so preoccupied with his woes that he overlooked this necessity? Was there no one else prepared to ensure the new board members' needs would be attended to?

Even if Gallon dropped the ball, shouldn't the new board president have considered it her first duty to make sure that new members' needs were addressed, espcially given the fraught situation?

There is way too much drama and not enough taking care of business.

Maybe those who call for a state takeover have a point.

-- Dan Damon [follow]

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Anonymous said...

Why do you seem to want Christie and Schundler to run Plainfield's schools? And if you don't want that, why not say so?

Rob said...

Would someone please assist me in moving the chairs here to the other side of the deck so we can have a better view of the water...It's funny. When my company hires someone they have an email address and computer that same day. But, that is in the "fantasy" world where most of us live..

Anonymous said...

Getting emails instantaneously in firms does not always happen.

I've worked at most of the major banks. Every bank is different. Some you have EVERYTHING the minute you walk in. Others it can take weeks.

It comes down to the HR process, IT responsiveness, overall administratitive effectiveness.

Renata is 100% correct a board member should have all the information -- and enough time -- to make thoughtful decisions. At the same token, laying the lack of email on the BOE president's door is not not fair either. Is getting "new hires" email, etc. her job? It's typically an HR functon. For all we know, the request was made, and is now going through the "process."

People need to quit the fighting and posturing, communicate with each other, and work together on straightening out this mess.

Anonymous said...

I think Plainfield should be the Charter City. I advocate for all our schools to be charter run, and get rid of the rest of the admins.

It's obvious that the people in the charter schools want their kids to learn. Let those whose kids who don't want to learn leave the city and let Plainfield get on with business.

Anonymous said...

@6:08 am--you are so right--and there's quite a mess to be straightened out! The Board president and the new Board majority have their work cut out for them and need community support.