(from THIS site)
I'm referring to this posting about Scranton School District (SSD). Here's what I've learned:
- The hired teacher is related to Director Lesh through marriage, although not in his immediate family.
- I was told that Director Lesh had nothing to to with the individual's hiring.
- The SSD Board was not told about the more distant familial relationship.
- The hiring would fall outside of the SSD's (arguably laughable) anti-nepotism policy*.
Like many things in the SSD's administrative history, this instance seems to just skirt the boundaries of impropriety. Technically the policy was not violated, but it does tell a story that this particular hire was not questioned during the last board meeting. I mean it's not as if the SSD has had problems with this in the past (I'm being sarcastic...it has been a problem; see this posting from August 23, 2013).
As I've noted before, given the significant legal and ethical lapses of the SSD Administration in the past, one would think that the SSD Board would have gone the extra mile and disclosed the relationship, even if it did not technically violate the policy. I do realize that there is a lot of the SSD Board's plate, but part of that is because prior versions of the SSD's administration failed to pay proper attention to both the letter and the spirit of the law.
By the way, unlike the SSD's Conflict of Interest policy, there appears to be no real sanction or consequence if the board were to not follow the Anti-Nepotism policy. Why is that? Well, I suspect that's the case because the Anti-Nepotism "policy" isn't really a policy...it's actually a guideline. The distinction is important because a policy effectively says "you must do this"; a guideline says "it would be kind of nice if you did this". The Anti-Nepotism
In the end, this is not the SSD's final hour, and I'll confess some sense of dismay at the Scranton Times for failing to report on the issue. As soon as the name "Lesh" appeared in the board meeting notes, the individual's hiring should have been put on hold pending a review. That isn't required per the SSD's anti-nepotism
(*) You can find all of the SSD's policies by following this link. Here is the text of the anti-nepotism
The district prohibits nepotism in the selection, hiring and assignment process.
Nepotism means the hiring of relatives of the Board or Superintendent.
Relatives shall mean father, mother, brother, sister, husband, wife, son, daughter, step-son, step-daughter, grandchild, nephew, niece, first cousin, sister-in-law, brother-in-law, uncle, or aunt.
Delegation of Responsibility
As soon as the Superintendent becomes aware that a finalist for a full-time position is a relative of a current Board member or the Superintendent, s/he shall notify the Board. All candidates shall be required to complete a written form disclosing any relationship with any current Board member or Superintendent.
Nothing in this policy should in any way reflect on the teacher selection process, provided that in the event a relationship is identified between a member of the selection committee and a candidate, the member of the selection committee who is related to the candidate, shall be disqualified from participating in the selection process.
No persons shall be assigned, or reassigned to a position that requires that the employee directly supervise or be supervised by a relative. Should such a relationship occur, the employee to be supervised shall be transferred to another position with no diminution of his/her employment status. In the event such a transfer is not possible, a nonrelated supervisor shall conduct the employment evaluation. This policy and its implementation shall not cause the resignation of any Board member or discharge of any employee should a relative be elected or hired/transferred to a position of supervision.
It is the intention of the Board that this policy not prohibit the selection, promotion or transfer of any person in the employ of the district prior to the date of the adoption of this policy.
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