Do you think former elected school district officials should be employed by the school district or its associated SAU?
I think the answer is an emphatic “No!” How can any person be assured that an elected official faithfully discharged their duties to the public when shortly after their public service they land a job with the school district or SAU with which their service was associated? How can the public be assured that acceptance of this practice is not influencing the decisions of current elected officials or those who may run for future offices?
On June 9, 2017, SAU 55 announced the appointment of Tom Geary to the position of Business Operations Coordinator. Mr. Geary was an elected representative from Plaistow on the Timberlane Budget Committee as recently as March 2017. The public job posting for the position says it pays $70,000 – $90,000.
The official posting for this job is SAU Business Operations Coordinator.
It called for
- A degree in Accounting or Business administration
- Minimum 5 years experience in Accounting or Finance with at least one year of supervisory experience
- Experience in physical plant operation and project management preferred
- Certified or certifiable as a NH School Business Administrator.
Here is SAU 55’s press release announcing Mr. Geary for the Business Operations Coordinator position. Mr. Geary was formerly Supervisor of Facilities for the Haverhill School District. Note especially his enumerated qualifications in the release: Geary
His credentials include successful completion of the University of Massachusetts, Lowell – Project Management Certificate Program and the American Physical Plant Administrators Educational Facilities Professional Credentialing Program.
Whether or not Mr. Geary’s qualifications even remotely meet the job posting – whether or not the job description/requirements have subsequently been altered without consultation with the SAU board – whether or not Mr. Geary has a PhD in Operations Coordination from MIT – no elected official within a few years of their elected service should be accepting employment from an entity closely associated with the municipal entity they were charged with overseeing.
The Business Operations Coordinator position will be vacant when Geoff Dowd assumes the role of Business Administrator upon George Stokinger’s retirement. When I requested to see Mr Geary’s resume, Dr. Metzler replied by email to the board as follows:
His contract has already been executed and he is an employee. He is already working part time on special assignments.
I do not believe, because he is now employed, that Mr. Geary’s resume is necessarily protected from a Right to Know demand, and I’ll be following up with a letter showing so. (Stay tuned.)
The SAU board has not seen Mr. Geary’s resume or application – nor will they. The SAU board has not discussed Mr. Geary’s qualifications for this position – nor will they. The SAU board has not voted on the employment of an extra person not in the 2016/17 budget, transitional though it may be.
The SAU board is currently working on a code of ethics for its elected officials. I hope it will prohibit board members, their spouses or close relatives from accepting jobs from either districts or SAU55, but you can be sure it won’t. Mr. Cipriano’s wife became a teacher at Timberlane during Mr. Cipriano’s service on the SAU board. There’s a political machine at work in SAU 55 that serves the interests of the administration. Certain elected officials do not seem to mind the public perception, true or false, of having been compromised.
Do your own elected officials on the SAU board see nothing wrong in allowing SAU55’s hiring practices to discredit their own service? When everything is up for grabs, let the grabbing be done!
They say the problem with Socialism is that you eventually run out of other people’s money. The problem with our hiring practices is that we will never run out of relatives, “friends” and former elected officials.
Education ultimately suffers when the moral fabric of an institution becomes a moth-eaten rag. An undisciplined budget is merely a symptom of much more profound problems. Sandown deserves so much more.