When Being Right Doesn’t Feel Right
I should have been grinning from ear to ear today, and a small part of me was very happy. When I heard the news that the Chief Financial Officer, Matthew Stanski, and Chief Legal Counsel, Roger Thomas, had been fired from PGCPS, I was shocked (because PGCPS is not well known for doing that) but not surprised (because I’ve been asking serious questions about the PGCPS budget since I started this blog). Given that Synthia Shilling had been overpaying employees, showing unscrupulous behavior, and actually committing serious mistakes as the Chief of Human Resources, it’s no surprise that people associated with helping her to keep this going had finally been let go. The fact that they were fired for trying to hand her a $100,000 check after she had resigned just has me thinking “You can’t make this stuff up!”
I hate to say “I told you so” but I was also right. Shilling was never a good hire, and those around her knew what was going on but did nothing to stop it. Now we know that her colleagues actually tried to continue helping her even after she had been forced to resign. Although I’m happy that they are all gone from the school system, I have to wonder how we keep managing to hire these kinds of people. Surely we knew Shilling’s record of failure, because she was forced out in Anne Arundel County before we hired her in Prince George’s County. Was there actually no one more qualified that her for the job of General Counsel (which she only maintained for a short time before being reassigned as Chief of Human Resources)? Was there no one better than Andre Hornsby for the job of Superintendent? Were we so quick and desperate for a Chief Financial Officer that we went ahead and hired someone recently out of grad school?
I ask myself these questions, and you should too, because I’m extremely concerned. It’s not only our tax dollars at stake here, the very future of our children’s education is being tossed around and joked about, as we put a merry-go-round of corrupt leaders into senior positions, where they mock the public trust and are on the take with public money. When is enough really enough for us? As Samuel Jackson said in a recent advertisement for President Obama, WTFU! Stop sitting back on your heels, feeling powerless to stop this train in its tracks.
Our School Board members and leaders they choose are in positions that are too important to ignore. If we, as voters and constituents, are not holding these people accountable, who will? Don’t be surprised to see County Executive Rushern Baker use this latest example as the political fodder he needs to reinstate the appointed School Board, or simply take over the system himself. I don’t see that turning out much better for us, with his failed promise to establish an Inspector General or ensure that there are serious consequences for those who do not act ethically. A lot is at stake here, and if we sit back and choose to ignore it, we will all pay the price.