Sunday, February 8, 2009

Hell hath no fury...


Meanwhile intrepid School Committee member Catherine Sanderson is now both perky and pissed. And she has every right to be (pissed I mean).

Apparently the acting, interim Co-Superintendents cannot or will not do their $135-K job; so much for the Regional Chair’s "We're really getting two for one,” enthusiasm over their hiring 7 months ago.

The School Committee asked them (or told them) to run numbers on the all the options they need to look at for dealing with the current economic meltdown, and they did not do it.

Worse yet, they may actually have the numbers but simply will not cough them up. Maybe 40 years ago you could treat your bosses like mushrooms and keep them in the dark, but not any more—especially in overly enlightened Amherst.

Seems a little odd that School Committee members need to do a Public Documents request to get pertinent information to allow them to do the job they were elected to do.

So far the only good thing about Amherst’s interim Superintendents is the word interim.

Ms. Sanderson's Sunshine

19 comments:

Anonymous said...

When you hire someone with no "carrot" of reappointment or raise in salary, plus individuals who are in the twilight of their professional years, this is what you get. AND the selection committee was told up front that he was "hard to work with". How stupid can some individuals be?

Neil said...

There are a lot of experienced competent cooperative people out of work who could step in if Sprague and the other isn't inclined to "play well with others".

Alison said...

Catherine has every right to be "pissed" about this. I am surprised the entire Elementary School Committee is not as well (and they may well be but we have yet to hear it).

First Super Helen caused near panic among parents of elementary schoolers in December by announcing publicly that we "needed" to pair our elementary schools (K-2 and 3-6) in order to save money. Then after public outcry, questions, and a reorganization meeting (which, I thought, was productive and did produce preliminary numbers), Super Helen then comes forth with a statement that says we should NOT change our elementary school configuration at all this year. Without any new data!!!

The preliminary data we were given at the reorg meeting showed that Super Helen's idea would not have saved nearly enough money to close our budget gap, so why did she suggest it in the first place? Let alone retract it a month later when, if anything, the financial situation had gotten worse?!!

I hope Neil is right that there are enough cooperative and competent people in our school system to take over the helm because someone else definitely needs to step in. And we would all do well to remember, come election time this spring, who on our School Committe did and did not speak out against this misuse of power.

LarryK4 said...

About 15 years ago the Wall Street Journal did a hilarious front page article about monkeys throwing darts at a list of stocks verses highly-paid "financial advisers" to see who did better over a full year of investment strategy.

The monkeys won. And this was W-A-Y before the current meltdown.

The ancient Hippocratic oath says something about “Above all, do no harm.” (The modern corollary is “the operation was a success but the patient died.”)

These two acting Superintendents are downright dangerous.

Anonymous said...

Amherst is a tough town to work in because there are 5 experts for every worker.

Anonymous said...

"These two acting Superintendents are downright dangerous."


They're not the only ones.


Larry, don't let Amherst down...



Larry Kelly for school committee.

Anonymous said...

No more bull*hit Larry. Do it.

Anonymous said...

"play well with others". In Amherst?
That is an oxymoron my friend, no one in a position of authority in Amherst plays well with others. At least others who have a differing opinion. See it in town meeting all the time and had friends join foolishly thinking that there voices would be listened to. Argghhh thank you for playing.

-Ryan Willey

LarryK4 said...

Hey Ryan,

As you know ever so well: time for a new-and-improved form of government (not that ANYTHING could be worse than what we got now)

Anonymous said...

So who's gonna gather the necessary signatures to get the mayor question back on the ballot?

LarryK4 said...

Probably not you.

But it will freakin happen.

Ed said...

You know what I would do at this point if I were she: file a sunshine (FIOA) request for every damn piece of paper in the Supts office and put it on reserve in either the Jones Library or (if they get queazy about this) the Amherst College library.

Then let all the PTOs and parents and everyone else read everything and democrocy will work. Those who want to save Marks Meadow will have their sets of facts, those who want to close it theirs and those who want to move the entire school system to the third ring of Saturn have theirs too.

And then the community can reach an informed consensus...

Ed said...

If I am not mistaken, misconduct is grounds for termination of state pension -- not just from Amherst but the entire pension.

And there is the State Dept of Education. So if they wish to be obstinate, FIRE THEM and ask Boston for interim help.

Realist said...

Ed - thank god you're not in charge of this country's nuclear arsenal because you have a tendency to hit The Big Button at the drop of a hat.

Fact #1 - nobody is going to use the Sunshine Law at this late stage because the current Supes could drag their feet right up until the day they drag their sorry butts out of Amherst.

Fact 32 - Nobody is going to be taking away their pensions.

Fact #3 - Boston will most definitley NOT be helping on this particular matter. We are all grown-ups now and don't need Mom & Dad to solve our problems.

Trust the system. There are more than enough watch-dogs in this town who will keep Super Vivian and Super Alton in line during their last few months in office. As a matter of fact, we should maybe think about adopting a new tagline along those lines..."Amherst: where the watch-dogs outnumber the watched."

Ed said...

> Fact #1 - nobody is going to use
> the Sunshine Law at this late
> stage because the current Supes
> could drag their feet...

Yes and no. The Sec of State send this interestingly worded letter strongly suggesting that the custodian of the record consider resolving the matter locally - and if not, my experience is that the Sec of State makes a ruling within 6 weeks or so.

Now could they defy that - yes, but one wonders for how long and at what price.

> Fact 32 - Nobody is going to
> be taking away their pensions.

Three words: Springfield Housing Authority.

> Fact #3 - Boston will most
> definitley NOT be helping on
> this particular matter.

I am not so sure. (Now as to wanting Boston's help, that may be another issue...) If this mess extends to the point where there is a very real concern about the schools not meeting specs next fall, they WILL likely want to intervene...

Anonymous said...

"Trust the system. There are more than enough watch-dogs in this town who will keep Super Vivian and Super Alton in line during their last few months in office. As a matter of fact, we should maybe think about adopting a new tagline along those lines..."Amherst: where the watch-dogs outnumber the watched.""


Trust the system?

TRUST THE SYSTEM??!!??

Sounds like the system and you are the BEST of friends...

Realist said...

Step out from behing that huge ax that you keep grinding on this blog long enough to see that "the system" in this case isn't THE SYSTEM, as in the gov't, Big Brother, The Feds, Hal, or whatever other term you'd like to use for the folks who get paid with our tax dollars.

Instead, I am talking about the system of checks and balances that exist in this town in spades - counting LK among those - and I was trying to tell Mr. Ed to back away from The Button long enough to see that this issue around our current Supes not supplying information in a timely fashion is NOT one that requires calling in the cavalry. Just keep applying pressure and they'll see that this is something that has to move up the priority list.

My sense from watching these two is that they got a tiger by the tail when they took this Amherst job & their dream of collecting a nice big paycheck for little substantive work went up in smoke when this whole budget crisis hit the fan. Right about now they're probably wishing they'd taken the Greenfield job as they'd originally intended (which was Warning Sign #1 for me, when they turned their backs on their commitment to G'field for better bucks here in Amherst)

Anonymous said...

"Instead, I am talking about the system of checks and balances that exist in this town in spades - counting LK among those - and I was trying to tell Mr. Ed to back away from The Button long enough to see that this issue around our current Supes not supplying information in a timely fashion is NOT one that requires calling in the cavalry. Just keep applying pressure and they'll see that this is something that has to move up the priority list."


Yeah, okay... sure.

Max Hartshorne said...

The WSJ does the 'darts vs investment experts' every year and it comes out about 50/50 with very little difference between luck and experts.