DEXTER - One of SAD 46's newest directors took the board chairman to task Wednesday night for not following board policy during the formation of a superintendent search committee. Gerrard Rudmin faulted board Chairman Melvin Johnson for organizing a search committee in January without board approval and for not submitting the names of the committee members to the board for action as board policy dictates.
The search committee, which has narrowed the field of candidates from 15 to six and is expected to conduct interviews soon, must find a replacement for Superintendent Lester Butler, who tendered his resignation effective June 30. Members of the committee are John Parola, Shawn Lancaster, Steven Foster and Johnson.
The fact that the committee was formed without board approval upset Rudmin. "We have policies that aren't obeyed," he said during a board meeting Wednesday. He said Johnson presented a schedule of meeting dates for the search committee even before the committee had been formed and had been approved. Board members were told that they would have to attend all of the meetings if they served on the committee.
"It's exclusionary," Rudmin said. He said that it is not the responsibility of one or two people to select a new superintendent, a process in which he wanted to participate. "The selection process isn't the purview of one person," he said.
Parola said Wednesday that he felt like a victim, but noted that he took the position on the committee in good faith.
In a room surrounded by teachers and administrators, Director Brian Cole said that if teachers and are expected to follow district policy, the board should do the same.
While Rudmin said he was allowed to view the applications that were received by the board for the position, he was not allowed to attend a search committee meeting.
"When you want things clean, you do it in the sunshine," Rudmin said.
Board member Mike McCormick and others agreed with Rudmin, whose motion to authorize Johnson to assemble a search committee and to allow any board members to serve on it who wished, was approved 7-5.
The work that already has been done by the original search committee will not be scrapped; rather, any new board member who chooses to join is expected to bring themselves up to date on the process.
Johnson admitted that the committee did not formally vote on the makeup, the membership or the procedure to be used for the search. However, he noted that the process that was followed for the current search was very similar to the ones the board has used in previous years.
Director Art Jette said that as long as he has been a board member, the board has never formally adopted a superintendent search committee. He said there is a difference between a standing committee and a regular
committee such as a budget committee.
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