A Well Articulated Position

I missed this yesterday by Eric Hartley, very nicely articulating the anti-incumbent position regarding the Anne Arundel County School Board Farce Retention Elections:

A win for “no” would stun the school system and send a message that people want some changes in a board that’s accountable to no one – a fact readily demonstrated by some of its actions.

For example, this is the school board that recently voted in public on a move it actually made behind closed doors nearly two months ago, approving a $5,000 bonus for schools Superintendent Kevin Maxwell, which followed his $6,000 bonus last year.

This is also the board that has overseen an astonishing explosion (from 213 to 450) in the number of six-figure school system jobs.

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If board members had any fear of voters, they might have thought twice about such raises and bonuses in tough economic times. They might have cared more about how it appeared. But they don’t have to.

For a long time, the school board was entirely appointed, its members picked by the governor after public vetting by a “nominating convention.” Now, at least, voters have a chance for an up-or-down vote after those appointments, thanks to a 2007 law.

But if voters unthinkingly approve these two appointees, the retention process will serve as only a faint imitation of democracy….

….This year, Ms. Birge was picked and Ms. Johnson was reappointed under a suspect process. Joshua Greene, the politically connected Democratic lawyer who chaired the School Board Nominating Commission, told me the deliberation and vote would be entirely public.

Yet when the time came, the commission deliberated secretly before voting on recommended candidates, from whom the governor picked two. Mr. Greene said he wanted to keep the debate open, but was outvoted by members who thought they could talk more candidly in private.

That’s not how public officials should be picked in a democracy.

I’d be hard pressed to write anything better than that. The fact of the matter is that the farce we call an “election” that was thrust upon us by John Leopold and his Democratic allies does not subject either the incumbent Tricia Johnson or unregistered Democratic lobbyist Teresa Milio Birge to the rigors of a real campaign or real scrutiny by the voters. It is merely a way for Annapolis liberal insiders to retain control of the day to day operations of county school boards throw a non-public, non-accountable appointment and retention process. The decision to reward Maxwell’s poor performance with a bonus is one of just a number of questionable and downright bad decisions that continually and continuously endanger the educational well-being of Anne Arundel County’s children.

Eric Hartley is spot on. We need to send the Anne Arundel County School Board a message on November 4th..


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