For a second night in a row I went to Old Central and the School Board room to listen in on the standing committees. Last night after two hours of a meeting I thought would be completed in half an hour I gave up the ghost and left. My brief discription of that meeting can be found in the previous post.
I made light of it but the tortured length of the meeting and the board member’s willingness to nail down every detail demonstrates how serious they all are about making the selection of our next School Superintendent next year flawless. No one could have, or should have, had any doubt about the importance of dotting every i and crossing every t. But evidently one person did just that. Perhaps intentionally.
I was amazed when former teacher and now county attorney Nora Sanstad called on Rosie to step down from the chairmanship in the Duluth News Tribune a couple days ago. Her ire may have begun well before she learned that she had been asked to vote to hire an assistant principal without being informed he had a colorful past. But when internal politics led Josh Gorham to resign Nora seems to felt Rosie Loeffler-Kemp’s machinations were responsible for his abrupt departure.
When Alanna Oswald joined the Board Art Johnston and I finally had enough votes to make school board meetings public on Youtube. Thank goodness. Here’s tonight’s meeting.
Alanna begins the meeting asking for an explanation about how the District can hire employees before the board approves of the hires. This likely related to the hiring of our new assistant superintendent who has recently been caught in the public glare. Then Nora put the topic in sharper focus after David Kirby brushed off Alanna’s question by saying that board members shouldn’t interfere in the hiring process other than their only employee the Superintendent of Schools. That lit a fuse.
23:00 minutes in Nora fiercely asked HR Director Sworsky why he ignored her request to preview the RFP (request for proposals) to potential headhunters who will manage our Superintendent Search. After some fencing Mr. Sworsky suggested Nora ask the Chair of the Board – Rosie.
For the next twenty minutes Rosie pointed fingers everywhere but herself. Nora pursues her lame answers like a surgeon with a sharp scalpel. In the end Rosie sniffs that she chose instead to help clean her Mother’s house. “The dog ate my homework.” That comes at 42:10.
I’ve always wondered if Nora would ever regret letting the public know that she thought Rosie should resign the Chair. That was answered at 46:34 when Nora repeats her belief that Rosie shouldn’t be the Chair.
I sympathize. A couple months into my return to the School Board Rosie stung me one-too-many-times. From then on I decided to capture every slight Rosie committed. There have been a lot of them.
I was slow to conclude that Rosie needed tending to but as I reflect on the two worst years of my School Board life Rosie Loeffler-Kemp always lurked around the periphery of every arson fire that Art Johnston and I got blamed for. And lately I’ve met people who are afraid of her. That blows my mind. But then again, Rosie seems to have oozed into every nook and cranny of Duluth politics. And she’s the School Board Chair.
I would remind Rosie what my old colleague, George Balach, said when I beat him for the Chairmanship. George told anyone who would listen that the Chairman only has one vote just like every other School Board member. Ah, but some Board Chairs are stingy with public data. I guess that’s because they are special.