Capital Article

Huang, Cindy, Schuh proposes changes to school board nominating commission, Capital, December 27, 2015.

Snider Comment

I would like to see a requirement that SBNC commissioners cannot be General Assembly lobbyists. The problem with having lobbyists on the SBNC is that they’ve always got to be asking themselves how a vote on the SBNC is going to affect their working relationship with the Maryland General Assembly’s leadership. I don’t think that’s the type of question we want an SBNC commissioner asking when he casts a vote. At the very least, this information should be publicly disclosed on the SBNC website as part of commissioner bios, which in the past have been materially incomplete.

Bob Burdon’s comment at the last SBNC meeting on the majority requirement to nominate school board candidates was truly amazing for the double standard it reflected. When the SBNC created the supermajority requirement in 2008 it did so without any public notice and didn’t allow the public to comment on the proposal. I know because I was at that meeting and asked to speak out in opposition to what I viewed was a highly undemocratic proposal. I have since repeatedly spoken out about that provision, including in a Capital op-ed. I have also repeatedly expressed the type of SBNC due process concerns that Burdon expressed at the last meeting. But in the past Burdon has never lifted a finger to support such procedural concerns.

The irony here is that I agree with Burdon that major SBNC procedural reforms should only be implemented after notice and a meaningful opportunity for public comment. Burdon is right that that wasn’t provided at the last SBNC meeting. Note that the Board of Education, County Council, and General Assembly all follow due process notice and comment requirements when major administrative changes are proposed. Only the SBNC does not.