My note to Amy Leahy’s letter: This is the first time since the SBNC was created that the second hearing did not include at least one eventual nominee, let alone a single candidate.

I attended the School Board Nominating Commission meeting held Feb. 1. Since it had been made known that the SBNC is supposed to hold at least two public meetings before making recommendations to the governor, I assumed that the candidates would be present. None of them were.

When I questioned the chairman, Jamie Falcon said they were not required to be in attendance, with Amalie Brandenburg adding that they had been invited. So it became apparent the purpose of the meeting was to allow the “stakeholders” present an opportunity to vent to the SBNC for not performing background checks on the candidates (which it have no authority to do) and for not putting forth Solon Webb’s name (which it had).

Even more disturbing was overhearing that a decision had been made by the attorney general of Maryland — apparently requested by the SBNC — that the SBNC is not required to hold two public meetings.

In 2007, House Bill 1114 made this the process for Anne Arundel County in the Annotated Code of Maryland: “The commission shall hold at least two public¿hearings on the selection of nominees before recommending to the governor nominees for appointment to the county board.”

This whole process has been unholy from its inception, the brainchild of House Speaker Michael E. Busch and former County Executive John Leopold, and I give kudos to Jim Snider for being the lone wolf crying out these past eight years, consistently writing about the lack of transparency and accountability on the part of the SBNC.

I ask the new members to be responsive to the constituents they serve and take their charge seriously. After all, the SBNC now does a job that used to be done by an auditorium full of community leaders.

–Amy Leahy (her husband, Mike Leahy, served on the school board and is Annapolis city attorney)


Source: Leahy, Amy, Nominating Panel, Capital, February 4, 2016.