Our Say: Hogan should reappoint Webb, Ritchie to school board, Capital, January 19, 2016.
Granted, the process was flawed here. But the process was equally flawed for prior SBNC nominations. Under the previous SBNC regime, rules were also routinely ignored–even after the SBNC was given notice of them–but since the SBNC acted as a block no one had the incentive to point them out.
Perhaps the most substantive flaw with the previous process was that four AACPS public bargaining unit reps (teachers, administrators, and support personnel) were given veto power over all nominations. At the initial election cycle in 2015, only two bargaining unit reps (the executive director and vice president of TAAAC, the teachers union) were given veto power because two of the eleven SBNC commissioner slots were vacant and eight of nine commission votes were needed to nominate a candidate. In all its reporting on the SBNC, the Capital somehow managed to ignore this vital procedural fact.
Note that by law public employees cannot serve on the public bodies that regulate them. That’s because it’s a gross violation of democratic principles. According to the theory of democracy, the principal (the people) is supposed to have control over its agents (public officials). When the agent is placed in the position of principal, it creates an unacceptable conflict of interest. Until recently, five of eight adult members of the Board of Education had at least one immediate family member working for AACPS. The SBNC’s shift to a simple majority voting rule was an attempt to correct this heinous violation of democratic norms.