Thursday, July 16, 2009

Knock on Every Door


First Amendment Foundation:

The Hillsborough County School Board conducts most of the government business behind closed doors and not on the podium, where citizens could observe it.

The board and administration have a reputation of running a hiring scam for buddies and supporters that freezes out qualified candidates with respectable degree, For example, the Public Affairs director, Ms. Linda Kipley, has a home ec degree in a job that calls for a master's degree. She got the job with no competitors.

Recently the board approved the hiring of the Professional Standards director's husband for a job requiring a degree in accounting and experience. Four candidates had the requisite education and experience. I reviewed files in the Public Affairs office. The Professional Standards' spouse got the job, with the personnel director, Dan Valdez, assuring the board in open session that the high-school graduate's credentials were better than the degreed candidates.

The board stamps on everything not nailed down, "We are an equal-opportunity employer."

I have asked the board several times to do what General Mc Collum has advocated: use the electronic resources to make the government more accessible to citizens. I have specifically asked that job candidates' names be on the board Web site with hyperlinks to their credentials so that people can judge whether the superintendent is getting the best people for the jobs instead of the buddies and sycophants that get hired for high-paying jobs in administration or for other jobs in the system instead of qualified people.

The board and superintendent have ignored me and the chair, Ms. Carol Kurdell, board member for 18 years, talks me down if I sign in to talk about the superintendent's choices and ask for the resumes. Lately, she and the head of Community Affairs, Steve Heggarty, have conspired to turn me down altogether in address the items as they come up.

So far I have hit a stone wall. This situation explains at least for me why two school-board members have their children hired to administrative jobs.

Is there anything the First Amendment can suggest to puncture this public tax-paid hiring scam and get the candidates and their hyperlinked resumes on the Board's Web site?

Thank you.

Lee Drury De Cesare

15316 Gulf Boulevard 8902

Madeira Beach, FL 33708

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