Superintendent Search Goes On
BY LAUREN MATTHEWS - Staff Writer, Wetzel Chronicle
The search for a new superintendent continues as the Wetzel County Board of Education has scheduled two additional interviews for May 28, 6 p.m. and 7 p.m. respectively.
On Monday, May 18 the board met behind closed doors for yet another interview, this being the third interview. Although the board did not announce the candidate they were interviewing, Interim Superintendent Jay Yeager was in the board room during this closed session. Yeager exited the room before the board retired into executive session. The closed session and executive session lasted more than an hour.
At the conclusion of the regular board meeting, Board President Mike Blair stated that a special meeting would be held May 28 for the sole purpose of interviewing candidates, "one at 6 p.m. and one at 7 p.m." Blair stated that Tuesday, May 19 was the final postmarked date for the board's posting of the superintendent's position. Blair added that the board had reviewed their current interviewees and have selected a couple more.
The board also interviewed an individual at a special board meeting Monday, May 11 for the superintendent's position. The approximate hour interview was held behind closed doors.
Prior to the interview, Co-President of the Wetzel County Education Association, Elliot Kendle, questioned the board on why they had not yet posted for the position.
Board President Mike Blair remarked that the board has all intentions of posting the position; however, with the time frame of having to have a superintendent seated before July 1, the posting may not be answered.
Kendle explained that he had been asked that if the position was not going to be posted, why would the board say it would be posted.
Blair reiterated that the board has all intentions of posting the position, adding that time frame also plays a role.
"As a regrouping, just so we are on the same page, the five member board has the right to hire a superintendent, sought after or not sought after, non-posting, posting, that's the only position in the county that can be done with," Blair stated.
The board room was then emptied for the closed interview. Though no candidate was identified, the only person to enter the room with the board members was former Wetzel County Superintendent of Schools Paul "Butch" Barcus.
After approximately one hour, the board reconvened in open session. Barcus had left prior to this. The board re-entered into an executive session, after which Blair announced that a posting would go up for five days for the position of superintendent. He said a superintendent will be seated prior to July 1.
Kendle expressed the same sentiments concerning posting the position prior to the board's previous interview, conducted on April 20. Kendle had said at the time that he was dismayed to learn the board had scheduled an interview for a position had not been posted nor was a search conducted.
The Wetzel County Board of Education also did not make a motion for or against hiring an individual they interviewed for the superintendent's position on April 20.
"Although there is no legal requirement to post a vacant superintendent position, Wetzel County Schools Policy CBB: Recruitment and Appointment of Superintendent states, 'the Board shall aggressively recruit in an effort to fill the position with the most capable person.' The use of the word shall in a legal sense means that this is something that will be done. It is not optional and it is not subject to the desires of any one individual. Quite frankly, one candidate chosen from unknown efforts hardly equals aggressive recruiting," Kendle had explained prior to the previous interview.
He further said that policy CBB further states that "applications for the superintendency shall be screened and the board will select the most highly qualified to be interviewed." He asserted, "If this was done, it was done outside of a legally posted meeting without a proper agenda and all the other requirements set forth in WV Code. At the very least this would clearly violate West Virginia's Open Meeting laws."
Blair took exception to Kendle's protest. He said all of the requirements have been followed.
"The board has the authority to hire a superintendent," said Blair. It's my job as an elected official of the county."
The superintendent is the only person in the whole system they can hire and fire according to contract.
He continued to say he believes this a critical time to find the right person for the job.