Thursday, January 27, 2011

War At Board Of Education Meeting

By Peter J. Rudy/ ~ In State Superintendent Janet Barresi’s first Board of Education meeting, a power struggle was evident from the start.

Tulsa workers' comp
attorney Tim Gilpin
Board member Tim Gilpin pulled item from consent document dealing with five employees that the Superintendent wanted to hire.

First up, he forced a motion to question Jennifer Carter, Barresi’s campaign manager and Chief of Staff nominee.

Here’s an example of the exchange: Gilpin: What has your job been? Carter: I office down the hall and do what the superintendent has asked me to do. Gilpin: “Have you instructed the employees to answer to you?” Carter: I’ve done what the Superintendent has asked. Gilpin: What have you asked employees to do? Carter: A lot of things. Gilpin: Have you asked employees to remove job postings? Carter: Yes, because the Supt. asked me to. Gilpin: Superintendent, have you asked for job postings to be removed? Barresi: Yes, because until reorganization is complete, doesn’t make sense to have them. Plus, with budget situation, it’s important to set example. Gilpin: are you familiar with board’s powers and responsibilities regarding hiring and firing? I’ve asked you to not put people in place without board approval.

This led to discussions, often heated, about the legality of having workers like Carter and Communications Director Damon Gardenhire working in state offices, telling state workers what to do when they are paid by private funds and haven’t been approved by the board.

Barresi says past precedent has often had workers on the job before board approval and sometimes without ever getting board approval.

In the end, the board rejected the hirings of Gardenhire and Carter along with Barresi’s choice for Finance Director.

An administrative assistant and legislative analyst/liaison were approved. I’ll have a more full report after the hearing. Barresi has already let the press know she will be making herself available afterwards.

Share |