Starting with Edward Bernays, propagandists have lived by this maxim: tell a big lie, repeat it over and over, and the masses will accept it as truth. In accordance with this, board has told the lie and is now in the repeat phase. The question remains: Will the community accept it as fact.
Board member Jen Smith notified the board of a pending sunshine violation, yet the board voted anyway. Why? I assume arrogance. Now the board majority is taking Smith to task in a letter to the Olentangy Valley News (below). The goal is to repeat the lie until it is believed.
If you want the facts, read the newspaper articles on this issue. The board schemed to violate Ohio sunshine laws, with the smoking gun -- the instructions on how to circumvent state law -- penned by McFerson (as reported on the OVN).
It seems like the board has taken a very Bernaysian turn. Will you believe them?
note: You have to love the implication that board policy trumps state sunshine laws, along with the mention of ethics from one whose actions lead to the conviction of then-governor Taft on ... you guessed it ... ethics violations.
Letter: Smith should not have given confidential info to press
Published: Wednesday, June 4, 2008 11:11 AM EDT
To the Editor:
In the news recently, our fellow board member Jennifer Smith attacked the process the Olentangy School Board is using to hire a new superintendent. As two fellow board members, we feel that these attacks are unwarranted and simply untrue.
Dr. Davis told the members of the Olentangy Board of Education that he would be stepping down due to his illness in a closed executive session. Board President Scott Galloway appointed Vice President Dimon McFerson to lead the search committee. Since three out of the five board members had never participated in a superintendent search, McFerson's background made him the best person to head up this process.
For some reason, Mrs. Smith felt the need to share confidential information discussed in executive session with the press. Mrs. Smith has always voted to go into every executive session the board has had this year, and at no time during any of our executive sessions has she voiced any opinion about why the board should or should not be in executive session. By sharing this executive session information with the press, Mrs. Smith broke the board's governance policies GP 4.1 in the code of ethics, which states "respect the confidentiality of privileged information," and GP 4.2 in the code of covenants, which states "remember that board business at times requires confidentiality, especially in the process involving personnel, land acquisitions, negotiations and the need for security."
Mrs. Smith also told the press that Galloway and McFerson screened the 15 applicants to pick the top five for interviewing -- that is true. What she didn't mention was that she reviewed the same 15 applications herself and picked out five applicants to interview. Ironically, she picked the exact same five candidates that Galloway and McFerson selected. Thus, this process is hardly "rigged" as she told the press it was.
Did the search firm hired to find the best superintendent for Olentangy personally contact potential candidates and talk to them about applying for the position? Absolutely. Did McFerson himself talk to potential candidates about applying for the position? He did. There is no law in Ohio that says these actions cannot be done. That is why the process is called a search. This is done all the time in the business world and in superintendent searches as the great leaders are usually employed. Once candidates apply, their names then become public and the entire board is involved. But until the candidates apply, it is just one person talking to another to get them interested in the position.
Both of us are hopeful that Mrs. Smith will realize she jeopardized the work of the board by discussing confidential information with the press. We also hope she realizes she will get more accomplished through collaboration. She has some good ideas and a passion to improve where improvement is needed. However, she needs to follow the board's governance policies just like every other board member.
Julie Wagner Feasel and Dimon McFersonOlentangy Board of Education members
Copyright © 2008 - Columbus Local News