We need all hands on deck … not a hands-off leader

letters to editor, opinion, column, editorial, guest commentary


Last week, I discussed the fact that only three folks from our community showed up to assist in laying the groundwork to select our new superintendent for Boyne City Public Schools.

What I failed to wave my arms about, however, were several statements that I either found annoying or downright alarming.

The first issue I came across was a statement by a school board member that the lack of attendance from the public was indicative of the public’s trust in the board members.

First, I hope that isn’t the case.

I don’t have an issue with people trusting their elected officials, but there is a reason elected officials have public comment: because they’re supposed to be representing your interests, not only their own.

Second, how big does your ego have to be to think that, let alone say it out loud?

Seriously? You actually said this out in public?

For you to think that people didn’t want to have a voice because they think you have it covered is simply arrogant.

The second problem I saw was the hope voiced from a member of our school board that they need a superintendent who would leave Irene Byrne alone, assumingly because she knows what she is doing.

The superintendent is responsible for day-to-day management of the district, and while he may have hired help to make this happen, for the board to expect him to have a hands-off approach with any facet of school operations, especially the finances, is tying one hand behind his or her back.

My ideal candidate for this position?

He or she would enjoy working with children and have an undying passion for their education, but understand that his or her job isn’t the glamorous one that involves joyful rides on merry-go-rounds with all the kids, it’s about management and responsibility.

My ideal candidate would be able to get to the point of trusting the people under him or her, but still monitor them and review their progress.

But until that trust was attained, this new superintendent would be cramming his or her flashlight in every nook and cranny.

Even the finances? Yes, especially the finances.

The ideal candidate would be active in the community, but remember what their job is and make sure it is the priority.

No, I think this school board member had it all wrong.

I think the absolute last thing we need is a superintendent that is afraid to exercise the full scope of his or her position, especially when it’s for fear of retribution from the school board.

And, one last thing, that’s exactly why the public should be coming to meetings like this, because if not monitored, they just might find that candidate who’ll leave staff alone and not watch our budget being made and our tax money being spent.