Given the grave situation with the Steamboat School Board and the effects that they are having, and will continue to have on the education of our most precious asset, our children, I have several comments to make.
Last fall I wrote a letter to the editor regarding John DeVincentis' questionable actions during staff salary negotiations. I had concerns then that John DeVincentis did not understand conflict of interest and the appropriate manner to address those conflicts. I then went to a school board meeting to address the board on those issues. I must admit that I was very disappointed with the way the board responded to my comments. I then wrote a follow-up letter to let them know of my feelings on their response and other members of the public who attend school board meetings.
Now the entire community is in the throws of facing this School Board member's conduct in an entirely different area. It greatly saddens me that the board has strayed so far off the mark when it comes to good governance. It is apparent the members of the School Board do not understand their role as elected officials and what good governance consists of. I would have thought that at the time they were elected to office they would have read about or attended a state training on this very subject.
Basically, good governance (and in this community it should be great) consists of several basic components. One way to look at it is that you are the board of directors. Your role is to set policy and charge your CEO with carrying out those policies; you are charged with the fiscal responsibility for how the organization allocates its financial assets and that those expenditures are carried out in a manner that is legal and responsible; you are charged with conducting yourselves in an ethical manor; and finally it is your responsibility to complete the work that is consistent with how your organization operates. While this is a very basic, rudimentary overview of good governance, it seems this board is woefully ignorant in this area.
Good governance does not consist of micro management of the day to day functions of the organization nor does it consist of sending employees of the organization off to do your individual bidding on any given subject. The only time employees should be charged with a task is at the direction of the CEO and only after the entire board is in agreement that this task will benefit the board and the mission of the organization.
Finally, each individual board member is responsible for the conduct of the other members and it is incumbent on the board president to keep the mission of the organization in the forefront. It is also imperative that the president, as the organization's leader, brings full pressure to bear when a member begins to drag the organization down and takes the members on a path that leads away from their mission.
I call on Denise Connelly, as School Board President, to request and receive the resignation of DeVincentis. I call on Connelly to bring this board back to the basics of good governance and to lead the board back to dealing with the issues at hand, the education of our children.
Paula Cooper Black