By Lynette Norris
Greene Publishing, Inc.
Last August, school board member VeEtta Hagan protested the practice of being handed documents moments before the board was expected to vote on them, saying that the members needed sufficient time to read, review and understand the material before they could vote on it. Fellow school board member Karen Pickles concurred with her protest.
Fast forward to the May 20th meeting, where that very same issue had been placed on the agenda at Pickles’ request. When that item came up, she noted that while the board members did get mostly everything in their packets several days ahead of time as they were supposed to, there were, at times, still a few documents landing on the table in front of them at the last minute.
“It’s becoming a bit of a sore subject with me,” she said. Sometimes, there was barely enough time to read through the material before the vote came up; in such cases, it was more like “rubber-stamping” than voting, “and I do not like rubber-stamping stuff…we need time to read stuff and make an informed decision.”
VeEtta Hagan added that she had been on the board ten years, and the last-minute documents landing in front of them had been an on-going problem. Some of the documents involved “sensitive items, in-depth items, and things that will come back to haunt us,” she said.
Board member Kenny Hall noted that personnel was one of the main sources of last minute documents, and the board was coming up on the busiest hiring season of the year, the summer months.
Hagan added school-related trips to that category, where people held fundraisers for their trips weeks in advance, but then waited until the last minute to present a formal request for school board approval.
The discussion came back around to the busy hiring season coming up. School Superintendent Doug Brown promised the board members that he would make every effort to get everything to them in a timely fashion, even during the busy hiring season, with all the resumes, background checks and other documentation that went along with each new-hire, through email or any other available channel.
The board members ended the discussion with Hagan remarking that, “If we’re going to hold others accountable, we need to hold ourselves accountable, too.”