Is Self-Evaluation Effective Way to Audit Board of Ed?
Mendham Township's Jamie Button responded to points made in the self-evaluation via email.
Two weeks ago, the West Morris Regional School Board's self evaluation report showed areas of success and identified areas of improvement. In reponse to that report, board member Jamie Button of Mendham Township sent an email to the Regional board to address what he perceived to be his top ten comments.
The unedited e-mail is included below:
I enjoyed reading your comments on our board self-evaluation yesterday. Thank you for taking the time to submit them. I'm afraid some, however, may reflect possible misunderstanding. In an attempt to elucidate, responses to my favorite Top 10 Comments follow. I send these to you because I don’t know whether we’ll get the chance to discuss them at a future meeting. I hope we do. -Jamie
1. Comment: “There are two board members that are agenda driven…” agenda (uh-jen-duh) — noun, a list, plan, outline, or the like, of things to be done, matters to be acted or voted upon, etc. Response: Guilty as charged. It’s unfortunate more board members are not minimally prepared with their own agenda. Do they have no purpose in being on the board?
2. Comment: “The board as a whole could benefit from a good boardsmanship training session similar to what is offered in Atlantic City since some members have not participated in these training opportunities.” Response: The annual Atlantic City boondoggle is a waste of taxpayers’ money. Twenty more hours of NJSBA mind-numbing indoctrination so I can get a certificate like Jacke’s? Hmmm… that’s an enticing offer.
3. Comment: “BOE meetings are not political forums.” political (puh-lit-i-kuhl) — adj. a. of or relating to the state, government, the body politic, public administration, policy-making, etc b. of, involved in, or relating to government policy-making as distinguished from administration or law c. of or relating to the civil aspects of government as distinguished from the military Response: Political process is the method by which competing interests are reconciled in peaceful democracies. While not ideal, the alternatives are generally worse. BOE meetings are political forums. They are not coffee klatches, student show-and-tell times, scripted theatrical productions, or bleeding heart therapy sessions.
4. Comment: “Agenda based board members (2) are always on the ethics violation line.” Interpretation: If you express a dissenting opinion, you are an ethics violator.
5. Comment: “Two board members insist they represent only their communities…” Interpretation: Forget about fundamental principals of representative government and any fiduciary duty to the voters who elected you. Instead, conform to our majority view so everyone on the BOE can feel warm and fuzzy while having a good time.
6. Comment: “Focusing on one school vs. the other is NOT in the best interest of anyone.” Interpretation: …especially since we spend so much more of your taxpayers’ funds on our school rather than on yours. We get uncomfortable when you highlight that inconvenient truth.
7. Comment: “We have two board members whose personal agendas interfere with the board and the district.” Interpretation: Stop disrupting a good thing. We don’t want to get off this gravy train we’ve been on for so long. We like allocating most of $50 million of other people’s money to our children.
8. Comment: “Eliminate hidden agendas.” Response: What’s hidden about them? Few are more open and obvious.
9. Comment: “…identify and curtail abusive behaviors.” Interpretation: We don’t like non-conformist trouble-makers. We won’t tolerate diversity of opinion. Just shut up.
10. Comment: “…it should be kept in mind that BOE meetings are not governed by Roberts’ Rules of Order…” Response: Really?! By what rules, then, are we governed? Cristen’s Rules of Order?