As you know, District 4 school board member Paul Bartholomew has resigned effective midnight, 7/20. Commissioner Kathy Danner says she and Gregg Lawrence (District 4 County Commissioners) alone hold the power to nominate someone for the position. “We’ll interview all the applicants and make a final decision for appointment,” Danner said.
The law, however, gives all commissioners—not just the two from District 4—the right to nominate.
The entire County Commission votes on all nominees.
One of a kind?
Many District 4 residents and others are trying to understand the appointment process, and several have emailed Commissioner Danner to ask her about it. Danner has shared with her constituents that she and Gregg Lawrence are looking for someone who is the “most qualified” in terms of “job knowledge, campaign knowledge and is up to date on all the issues that will be facing school boards in TN.” Danner adds that campaign knowledge is crucial because the new board member will have to face election in August 2016.
Campaign knowledge? Does WCS really need someone picked because they would be good at running for election? That really doesn’t seem like what they should be focused on. A willingness to run makes sense given that the seat will be open for election in a year. But campaign knowledge? It is an odd skill to prioritize.
Based on the limited information available so far, only one candidate has ever run for public office. Joey Czarneski ran for Alderman in 2011. So if you’re going to prioritize “campaign knowledge,” Mr. Czarneski is your guy. One of his big supporters in 2011 was… Kathy Danner. Other supporters included Franklin Alderman Bev Burger, County Commissioner Brandon Ryan and fellow District 4 school board contender Laurie Cardoza-Moore.
They love us. They really love us.
In at least a couple cases, Danner also responded to constituents with some unsolicited opinions about Williamson Strong. (Thanks for always thinking of us, but we’re not running for anything!)
“I also will share that it will not help them [candidates] to be affiliated with Williamson Strong. I’m very disappointed in the direction that group has taken and being associated with them is frowned upon by most of the County’s elected officials and by the 4th district parents that I have heard from.”
“I want to make sure that people know that being affiliated with that group [Williamson Strong] is going to instantly create bias in voters when the nominee has to run for office in less than 6 months of being in office. There has also been one applicant that has posted on their [Williamson Strong’s] Facebook page and that is not going to help them if they run for office in the 4th district.”
29,000 people read at least one of Williamson Strong’s Facebook posts last week. Is everyone who read a post “affiliated with” Williamson Strong? Good to know that the vetting process includes scouring our Facebook page to see if any of the candidates are among the many public school parents and community members who have left a comment on our page over the past year.
We will have more to come as the interim board member will not be chosen until September, but we wanted to report to all of you what people have reported to us. Informed public school parents and community members are what we’re all about.