School Committee Vacancy Update - Vote Taken but no new voice
As an update to my entry yesterday on the School Committee vacancy and a voice for the taxpayers: The joint meeting of the Selectmen and School Committee has just concluded. A total of seven candidates were interviewed, (six tonight) and after three rounds of voting, Jamie MacDonald, a previous seven-year veteran of the committee, was the selection of a majority of those present and available to vote. The runner-up was a most impressive Rebecca Moffitt, a retired educator with 42 years of experience in the classroom. Recently retired from the City of Brockton, Ms. Moffitt told the joint meeting that she personally went to each school in Falmouth, spoke with staff members and reviewed the curriculum. She was president of the Brockton Educators Association when they were forced to lay off over 300 teachers during a budget crisis. She clearly spoke of her ability to make "tough decisions." Based on the fact that a decision like this by joint elected boards is political by its very nature, it was unlikely that a newcomer would garner enough support to be placed on the School Committee, but this Falmouth political neophyte did pretty well! During the first round, MacDonald got three votes, Moffitt three, and three other candidates, Dr. Kira Grant, Sandy Cuny, and Donna Mattison-Earls each got two. Per the rules agreed to by the boards, the lower tier was eliminated, leaving Moffitt and MacDonald. During the second round of voting, each got six votes. After a series of speeches by the elected officials, Selectman Kevin Murphy and School Committee member Susan Augusta agreed to change their vote, making the tally 8-4 in favor of Jamie MacDonald. A couple of thoughts: Of the twelve elected officials present and charged with making this very important selection, seven chose to ask no questions of any of the candidates. Although they had printed material from each candidate, the public would have been better served by some interaction from those on the stage. I have never met Ms. Moffitt, but was very impressed with her research, her knowledge, her demeanor, and her clearly stated ability and desire to "make tough decisions." That's exactly what I was talking about in this space yesterday. Let me be the first to say that I think Rebecca Moffitt's no-nonsense professional approach would be a great addition to the School Committee at the annual election in May. In the meantime, Jamie MacDonald's experience will be of assistance during the difficult budget season. Let's just hope he and the other members were listening when Ms. Moffitt talked about tough decisions. Not appointing her was one of them.