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Wednesday, December 22, 2010

With Gallon gone, what's next for the schools?

Plainfield's Board of Ed now must choose a new Superintendent.

The state has finally put its seal of approval on the deal ending the Plainfield Board of Ed's contract with Steve Gallon III, as the Courier's Mark Spivey reports (see here) today.

Though a half-year's salary may seem expensive, it may be the best real-world compromise compared to a prohibitive cost several times that to the District if it had pursued its legal options against the erstwhile Superintendent. On the other hand, if the Board had simply let the criminal charges Gallon faces play out and he was found guilty, Plainfield might have escaped paying him anything.

But the outcomes of criminal cases are always a gamble, and the Superintendent would have continued to pull down his salary while his attorneys played to run the clock out. So, this may be the best deal possible, even if Board members Logan-Leach, Hernandez and Edwards think it too lenient.

Now comes the really hard part.

Finding an EXCELLENT superintendent is now the problem of the entire Board, but even more so of the Grand Slam majority, who campaigned on a platform of how the previous choice had got it wrong (never mind that one of the key 'choosers' was Grand Slammer Wilma Campbell, who waxed eloquent over Gallon when he was selected -- which just goes to show you it ain't all that easy to pick a real winner.)

How will this Board conduct its search?

Will it work through the traditional NJ School Boards Association or once again try an expensive outside consultant? Will the process be devoid of political interference and cronyism?

I am far less concerned about transparency than getting a SEASONED, HONEST, and EFFECTIVE new superintendent.

Having sat on my share of search committees, and had my share of disappointments in choices made, my only words of advice are: make it the best possible search committee you can, with the best possible members you can find, and BEWARE THE CANDIDATE WHO IS AN 'INTERVIEW ACER'.

In the best of all possible worlds, the interview should probably count for only 10% of the decision's weight, instead of the 90% that often appears to be the case.

I wish the Board of Ed good luck; much hangs on their success.

-- Dan Damon [follow]

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Anonymous said...

After watching what has been going on for the last thirty years. I am sure these individuals will find another way to squander taxpayer money. If you go back in this time period you will most likely find evidence the Plainfield BOE has cost taxpayers of Plainfield well over $100 million dollars, due to arrogance, ego, self interest and absolute and utter STUPIDDY.

Anonymous said...

Why would anyone in their right mind want to be superintendent in Plainfield. Once Gallon was broadcast on TV, it sent a clear signal to everyone in the country. Plainfield citizen eats their own and then complain when they taste bad.

Anonymous said...

Why would anyone in their right mind want to serve in any public position anywhere, appointed or elected? There is no one that I can think of that has not been the target of offensive personal attacks, no matter whose side they are on. No matter how competent. Truth be damned everyone has a bone to pick and an axe to grind. It is a shame because I think that people in their right mind, potentially successful and highly competent people stay away from public service, while egoists and power grabbers go into public service. Someone said recently "the most dangerous person is the one whose ambition exceeds his/her ability". I think that sums it up.