Elections must scare off candidates

Tomorrow the Dayton Daily News will have a story about the 8 people applying for the Dayton Public School Board seat vacated by Jeff Mims.

Note- the school board only has 7 members (at least 2 more than necessary IMHO) and in the last election where there were 4 seats up- we only had 5 candidates (including 4 incumbents).

The only logical conclusion: elections scare off candidates.

Of course, once appointed to the board- you run as an incumbent and invariably win. Therefore- why do we bother to have have elections? (current members who were appointed first- are Stacy Thompson and Ron Lee).

The candidates are being asked to supply 3 letters of recommendation, a bio/resume and a letter of interest to the board on why they think they should serve. These are public documents- and the interviews, scheduled for 45 minutes each- are open to the public. How many of you are willing to dedicate the time to review that much info? The board calendar does not have these meetings- or the documents listed: http://www.dps.k12.oh.us/about-us/board-meetings.html

After a bit of digging- here is the link to the posting from December 28 for the applications- which were due last Friday- January 7 http://www.dps.k12.oh.us/news/archives/18/709/

Of the eight candidates, we have a cog in the political machine running from the Roberts clan, former candidate Bill Schooler- and a recent grad from Thurgood Marshall- as well as a Kettering teacher who lives in McPherson town and a few others- including my significant other, Teresa Lea Whitley.

I’ll post the link to the DDN story tomorrow– but, it would be nicer if each candidates info was posted online by DPS.

They are Malcolm Keith Sr., president of the Thurgood Parent Association; Len Roberts, former chief of staff for the provost’s office at the University of Dayton; Kristen Bodiker, a Kettering City Schools teacher; Kevin Scroggins, disease intervention specialist for Public Health — Dayton & Montgomery County; Hazel Roundtree(sic), assistant director of Affirmative Action Programs at Wright State University; Wiliam Schooler, pastor of St. Peter’s Missionary Baptist Church; Willie Walker, a 2010 Dayton Public Schools graduate; and Teresa Whitley, a user-centered designer for Elsevier Science.

Members of the school board will interview all of the candidates this week, district spokeswoman Jill Moberley said.

The interviews are expected to be held during special meetings at 6 p.m. Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday in the district’s 115 S. Ludlow St. administration building, possibly in executive session.

via 8 seek Dayton BOE opening.

No matter who the School Board picks- the real question is why can’t we have this many choices in an election?

Note- the interviews have no reason to be held in executive session- they are not personnel issues- they are interviews of public people for a public position. We don’t need any more illegal secret meeting in Dayton.

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7 Responses

  1. Joe Lacey January 11, 2011 / 9:12 am
    ORC 121.22 (G) (1)  allows executive session “To consider the appointment, employment, dismissal, discipline, promotion, demotion, or compensation of a public employee or official…”.  It is apparantly legal although there are some good reasons for allowing the interviews to be open to the public.

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  2. David Esrati January 11, 2011 / 9:26 am

    @Joe- we have open hearings for Supreme Court Justices- I think we should follow the example for Dayton School Board appointments.

    Technically- these are not public employees or officials- they are public representatives- and the public should be represented if it so wishes.

    You do not have the ability to fire them- or hire them- you are acting in our capacity to select them.

    Big difference.

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  3. Joe Lacey January 11, 2011 / 10:27 am
    The same law refers to the following definitions:

    “Public official” includes all officers, employees, or duly authorized representatives or agents of a public office. 

    “Public office” includes any state agency, public institution, political subdivision, or other organized body, office, agency, institution, or entity established by the laws of this state for the exercise of any function of government.
    I agree that it is a good idea to open these interviews to the public but I’m pretty sure that it is settled law that school board members are public officials.  There is no such term as “public representative” in the ORC.

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  4. truddick January 11, 2011 / 11:44 am
    There are pros and cons on both sides.  David, if the final decisions are made in exec session, it might (maybe) free up a current board member to cast clear doubt on the quality of an applicant, whereas if open to the public I’d expect the board member to hesitate to make such a clear assessment.  Now, you or I would probably just speak our minds and let the scorn fall where it may, but political operatives like Joe Lacey rightly mince their words in public statements.

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  5. Joe Lacey January 11, 2011 / 1:26 pm
    Final decisions cannot be made in executive session according to ORC 121.22 (H).  However I suspect based upon truddick’s comments and comments from previous board members that illegal secret votes were common practice before I was on the board.

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  6. mcohio January 12, 2011 / 3:40 pm
    Pretty sure Joe Lacey is the only sane one on the school board. I would bet my lunch money on Len Roberts. He is qualified and a member, distant cousin, of the Democratic Elite in this town.
     
     

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