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Doing something different more important than what is right

By Josh Resnek

A closer examination of last week’s School Committee hearing finds the majority of members acting out a philosophy and keeping to it rather than playing by the book and making choices based on excellence.

Excellence means less than philosophy when it is mind over matter when picking a new leader of the Everett Public Schools.

School Committee members shot down an effort to add three local candidates to the list of finalists for public interviewing for the superintendent’s post.

“I’ve reviewed the cv’s. They are all wonderful people but this is a $85 million Gateway school system. It is not starter superintendent’s position.These finalists know nothing about the city of Everett. They’ve never served a day as a superintendent. I’m also upset that people who spent a lifetime making the Everett Public School System what it is didn’t get a shot. Let’s consider all candidates. That’s a motion.”

You would have thought McGlaughlin had committed a crime indicating that Acting Superintendent Janet Gauthier, Assistant Superintendent Charlie Obremski and High School Vice-Principal Dr. Omar Easy had been tossed under the bus without an interview by people claiming to know what they are doing in a best choice contest.

School Committeeman Frank Parker, backing Superintendent Thom Abruzzese’s firm exclusion policy, appeared miffed and almost personally insulted that McGlaughlin made a motion to add the three Everett applicants who had been refused an interview.

Parker repeated weak and stale history rather than detailing exactly what has occurred.

“This is a process that began a year ago. We then decided we would look for a superintendent. We’ve been helped by the Mass Association of School Committees. I’ve got the minutes. We’re on time. We approved the timeline. We’ve had public hearings and online surveys. There were plenty of opportunities to observe the actions of the committee. Let’s be clear, every candidate was considered – personal statements, letters of recommendation. Everybody was considered. Truly, this is a fair process. We voted 7-1 to approve these finalists. Here we are now we are doubting the process,” Parker said.

What he really meant was this:

“Look. Thom didn’t want any local candidates. If Einstein had applied for the job Thom would have instructed everyone else to reject his resume after a close look. That’s how the twisted system works here, guys and gals,” he would have told them. “Don’t worry, following the chairman’s desires and with me backing up the chairman, well, you are obviously doing the right thing.”

Parker might have added this, too:

“People doubting the process don’t know what they are talking about. The process is more important than choosing the right qualified candidates as finalists.”

In reality, Parker and Abruzzese are enemies of local choices who are qualified, and for all the wrong reasons. The local choices rejected before they had a chance were rejected because they are being held guilty of crimes allegedly committed by someone else.

Like a seasoned public bureaucrat doing the chairman’s business because he has given his vote to the chairman, Parker bemoaned those questioning the process as being an enemy of a process revealing itself as exclusionary and discriminatory.

Mr. Parker, chief among his colleagues, was playing the chairman and playing the boisterous crowd in the audience if he dared to change his mind and do the right thing.

The sad thing here is that Parker is smart enough to know what the right thing is.

Playing the game is more important to him and to Abruzzese than doing the right thing.

Everyone wasn’t considered. Everyone in a position of responsibility understands this.

It is crystal clear.

It wasn’t truly a fair process. The choice committee, incontestably made the wrong decision on finalists for all the wrong reasons.

They are adamantly standing by the wrong decision for to do the right thing would mean they have to reverse what has already been done to eliminate the locals.

Since getting on to the School Committee last year, Marcony Almeida- Barros has always tended to make sense and to act with an unusual degree of dignity and common sense.

He’s an educated guy, We come to expect so much from educated people who serve on local boards.

His entire rap last week was to give his boss a rubber stamp and to condemn those for who asked that the locals be interviewed.

Here’s how he put it:

“I was part of the process on the search committee. I remember we had several hearings. The mother of two autistic children, was on the search committee. She had to coordinate to leave work early for her husband to stay home with the kids so she could come to the meeting. She was part of the search committee.”

He seemed to say that whatever she decided was the best because she had to sacrifice to be on the committee.

“She is a mother. There was no bias. She doesn’t even know the local candidates. She looked at resumes. This was a democratic process. Its not because x and y was or were not considered. I really don’t know why we still have to vote for this process? We haven’t even interviewed them and we are judging whether or not they are qualified. Reopening the process is an injustice. It is wrong.”

Then he quoted the late Dr. Martin Luther King that an injustice committed by one man is an injustice committed against every man, or something to this effect.

Alemida-Barros of all people should know it is the other away around.

The injustice is in not interviewing the qualified local candidates and then choosing inferior candidates because of a policy not to interview those associated with the past.

Abruzzese’s comments were rich and ripe with disingenuousness.

“I’ve been painted in a certain way,” he said (as if he had been painted to be something other than who he is).

With some grace and an effort at charm, Abruzzese said he wanted to say something about the woman seated to the left of me (Dr. Janet Gauthier).

He lied like a rug and his backers like Parker cheered him.

“Nobody has more respect for Janet Gauthier than I do. I want to make this as clear as possible.”

Lovely. I guess that statement proves the validity of eliminating the locals from competition before the competition began.

It also proves just how much Abruzzese thinks of Mrs. Gauthier.

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