Sunday, January 31, 2010

Nepotism Should Be Banned

The next School Board to be seated in MSD Decatur Township should immediately establish a policy that bans nepotism. Hiring relatives gives the appearance of favoritism, cronyism, and outright payback, to the community and to the employees of the school district. Banning nepotism is a small price to pay for a demonstration to the overall community that all employment decisions in the district will be above reproach - only the best qualified will be hired.

We all know about the current state of affairs in the Decatur School District. Lets start with the School Board. Dale Henson, to my knowledge, has never had a relative who was hired while Henson has been on the Board. That is good. Doug Greenwald, to my knowledge, has never had a relative who was hired while he has been a Member of the Board. That also is good. Cathy Wiseman has had at least one son on the payroll since being elected. Judy Collins has a daughter on the payroll. And, most famous of all, Don Huffman has a grandson on the payroll - which actually necessitated the ouster of an employee from his position to accomplish. Hiring relatives gives the appearance of favoritism, cronyism, and outright payback.

Now lets turn our attention to the Administration. Candice Baer was hired into a position created just after she lost her job as Superintendent of Center Grove Schools. Candice is married to Assistant Superintendent for Business, Jeff Baer. Hiring relatives gives the appearance of favoritism, cronyism, and outright payback.

Now, I will presume that all of these folks are highly qualified individuals who could have gotten a job in any School District in the land. Well, then let them. Employing relatives of highly placed individuals brings baggage with it. Unnecessary baggage. Nepotism is banned by law in other units of Government and should be banned in School Districts as well. Until State law bans nepotism in School Districts, the School Board should create a policy banning it in our District.

Here is what I would propose for a policy.

Any individual may run for and be seated on the School Board if their relative was already an employee of the District at the time of that person filing to be on the ballot.

After filing to be on the ballot or after being seated on the Board, no relative of a School Board member may be hired by the District until one year after that Member leaves the Board.

No relative of any Administrator (central office or building level) may be hired by the District while that Administrator is employed by the District and for one year after that Administrator leaves the employ of the District.

No relative of the leadership of the Teachers Union may be hired by the District while they are in positions of leadership and for one year after they leave those positions. Nobody in a leadership position of the Teachers Union may be hired into an Administrator position within the District for two years after they leave that leadership position.

No relative of a head of Security, Transportation, or any other department headed by a non-administrator, may be hired by the District while that department head is employed by the District and for one year after they leave that position.

Qualified people can find a job in a nearby District. Public trust in the system is eroded when nepotism is allowed to flourish as it has in the Decatur School District. A 'no nepotism' policy created by the new School Board would improve this District and its reputation.


Anonymous said...

Greenwald has performed work at Decatur Township Schools for years, most recently he worked on the installation of the football turf doing prep, grading and underground work...after he voted to approve this expenditure. Aren't the school district and the fire department also "partners" on purchasing of fuel and other things? Both of these members have their own interests and agendas....don't think they don't!

Had Enough Indy? said...

anon 11:39 -- Your comment spurred me to go back and finish my review of all school board minutes published on the district website.

Of course, they do not publish the minutes from special sessions or work sessions - which exist as they are shown approved in the minutes of the regular meetings.

I found in the minutes for July 13, 2009, the following:

"Mr. Stinson recommended that a conflict of interest statement be accepted by the Board for
Mr. Greenwald should at any time there be business with the school corporation and the Greenwald
Construction Company. Mrs. Collins made a motion that the conflict of interest statement for Mr.
Greenwald and the Greenwald Construction Company be accepted. Mr. Huffman seconded the
motion. The motion carried unanimously."

It is disturbing that Greenwald appears to have voted and not abstained. More disturbing is that he and the District have undisclosed business dealings.

I can find in no minutes ANY mention of contracts. That includes all 12 minutes from 2006, all 12 from 2007, all 12 from 2008, and all 12 from 2009. It does not appear that the Board approved ANY contracts. I hope the SBOA looks into that.

But, back to Greenwald. His business relationship with the District is cause for alarm.

On the matter of the fire department and purchase of fuel. The school district has been purchasing fuel for themselves and the fire department since at least Superintendent Montgomery's days and the fire department was all volunteer. This is with the expectation that the fire department reimburse for the amount of fuel they use. I'm not sure I can blame Henson for that.

Thanks for bringing up the Greenwald deal.

Anonymous said...

The Indiana School Boards Association board of ethics states:

"A School Board member should meet his responsibilities to his community:

BY regarding it as a major responsibility of the board to interpret the aims and the methods of the schools to the community.

BY insisting that all school business transactions be on an open, ethical and above-board basis.

BY vigorously seeking adequate financial support for the schools.

BY refusing to use his position on a school board in any way whatsoever for personal gain or personal prestige.

BY refusing to discuss personnel matters or any other confidential business of the board in his home, on the street or in his office.

BY winning the community's confidence that all is being done in the best interests of school children."

It appears some unethical board behavior exists among this board which belongs to the school board association.

Anonymous said...

I especially love the suggestion of not hiring relatives of union leadership. I am a strong supporter of unions but not when they sit on the fence like Rose Hootman and Susan Adams did. While union president, Adams became the energy conservation czar for the administration. While union president, Hootman became an academic coach for the Gold Academy. Academic coaches are counted as teachers and make less than vice principals, but have virtually the same responsibilitie and almost the same authority. They also have the same office, ofice furniture, and support staff. Another pseudo-administration position created in Decatur's shell game.

Anonymous said...

Agree. Co-president Ryden's son-in-law was hired as a teacher and did not have a license. This is an administration and board problem not a teacher problem. Susan Adams also got rid of the Perry superintendent so maybe they fear her power.

Anonymous said...

Maybe this is how they got Blessing's daughter hire in payroll and I guess they pay Preda's wife from a grant?

Anonymous said...

Speaking of Doug Greenwald from what I hear he is one of the main people on the board that wants to have people let go at the Pavilion. And I was told that this is already in the works and there is nothing anyone can say or do about it because he is planning on putting his son who is a personal trainer in the position of one of the management over there. How can they fire a person and then put another person in a position. That isnt saving them any money.
Decatur is and always will be about "clicks" if your not in theirs then you are no one around here!!!
No one that has a family member on the school school should be able to hold a position in the township.

Anonymous said...

Before you get on the BASHING Greenwald wagon, you might want to check your facts. Mr. Greenwald does not take a check from the school when he attends the school board meetings like the rest of them do, and like YOU DID PAT!!! Mr. Greenwald and his company do many things around the school system and never, never askes for any money or his name to be put on any thing. If I remember Mr. Greenwald was one of the people that was fighting to kept the football field as grass and not TURF. But I think there is alot of you that want to bash the school board, because what is going on now. Everything was ok when the state was still giving us the money, but now that they are going to cut it, we want to find someone to blame and who else is there to blame other than the School Board. It's funny how Pat is wanting to have everyone run for school board but she will not put her name in the hat?