The committee searching for a new superintendent for Columbia County schools will hold its third meeting this week. The committee is expected to establish a time line for advertising the position, receiving applications, interviewing the candidates and making a selection - all within three months.
Slow down, folks. What's the rush?
That's not just our question. Observers of the committee process, and some committee members, are wondering the same thing. With retiring Superintendent Tommy Price serving through the end of the school year, and then staying on an additional year as a consultant, there is no looming leadership vacuum.
So, why the haste? Simply put, it's politics, and fear.
The big question mark isn't who will be the next superintendent. For now, the question is who will be the next chairman of the school board. Currently, three candidates are seeking that post, and some members of the committee are squeamish about one of them: Lee Muns.
Muns, a former school board member, can be a wild card. The rush to nail down a time line and get a new superintendent on board clearly seems designed to make the choice a moot point by the time the next chairman, whoever it is, takes over Jan. 1.
All five members of the school board serve on the committee; four of them have served on the school board with Muns. None of the four were proponents of electing the board chairman, and among their reasons for opposition was fear of the "wrong person" winning the post - and Muns often was cited as an example of who they meant.
But it's important to remember a point those same board members made during discussions about creating the elected chairmanship: By state law, the chairman has no more authority than any other member of the board - which means no matter who is elected chairman, the winner can't make anything happen without at least two other members voting in agreement.
That means the majority to decide the new superintendent already is in place on the board now, and will still be there in January. The chairmanship race should not be a factor.
The county's school system is our community's best asset. It's worth taking time to be sure the best person is chosen to lead it.
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