It appears that this government with its failures and roadblocks throughout its education governance model, and all those elected or appointed provincially and locally, are not setting the best, if any, examples that should be followed or that we can be proud of, realizing how much needs to change
If we examine closely, the Nipissing-Parry Sound Catholic School Board, its chair, director, and trustees elected and appointed, demonstrate many failures and roadblocks.
They are buried in policies, by-laws, processes, procedures, and a governance model that, in theory is ideal, but in reality, is in no one's best interest. Those elected or appointed forget or ignore that ‘’Alive in the Spirit" and ‘’Rooted in Faith’’ refers to a much higher power to which we all will later be accountable.
In my opinion, they have all forgotten, don’t know, or care what transparency, accountability and due diligence are, or mean, given the ongoing provincial and local decisions of secrecy and silence that begin at the provincial level. For far too long it's been sadly duplicated in the local separate school board with its chair, director, and trustees over employee settlements and no ‘’ without prejudice" opportunities for open and fair settlements.
One of the most serious side-effects is the unforgivable and irreparable damage to democracy and ruining relationships and abusing processes and procedures unilaterally, while failing miserably in the areas of inclusiveness, with all stakeholders and the media.
The most questionable issue recently was the needless appointment of a new trustee and the chair's press release leaving the ‘’unqualified’’ candidate totally disrespected, and anyone else with any knowledge of the committee makeup. Only 4 of 7 trustees were able to vote
Hardly democratic with an election soon. and not just a handful with no guarantee if the selection was predetermined without nepotism or bias after the chair's glowing accolades for the qualified recipient chosen over the other candidate. Somewhat ironic and hypocritical, as most now serving were never elected but acclaimed, with little or no qualifications and now with a condescending premature attitude for someone willing to show interest and enthusiasm. An apology from the chair would be appropriate!
While the ministry and school boards have the powers of obstruction and denial over protecting themselves and the government, those of us each day seek help and answers to our questions which get buried, ignored, or trivialized with what type of governance are we dealing with. We really have to ask ourselves about what kind of people have we elected or appointed, and how representative are they?
I firmly believe the appointment of the new trustee should be withdrawn given the coming election and how much the chair has not fully shared. It is not only the right thing to do but will leave no doubt about the transparency, accountability, and due diligence that it deserves. As well, there should be an investigation by this government over the new trustee appointment, and a full investigation regarding former employee settlements, hiring practices and procedures, treatment of staff by staff, the ongoing lack of relationships and information, nepotism and biases in hiring.
It is difficult to be proud or feel the slightest comfort, given so many failures and roadblocks that need investigation.
Furthermore, our future, our goals, our visions our beliefs, and our trust in our educational community, our students, and their families will reside in the best candidate, elected and appointed that shares the same values and mindsets.
Editor's note: Mr. O'Hagan is a former trustee with the Nipissing-Parry Sound Catholic School Board.