THE STARS HAVE been intentionally aligned by the Wilkes-Barre Area School Board, allowing even the most casual observer to make a few depressing predictions.
To recap: The board's new majority has a) short-circuited a wide-reaching search and hired the in-house candidate as superintendent and b) shamelessly approved a hiring policy devoid of any anti-nepotism teeth and bumping the maximum number of candidates offered for board consideration in filling any post from three to five.
With this past as prologue, the majority's future trajectory is easy to project.
Prediction 1: At the Dec. 3 reorganization meeting, when the nine members vote for officers who will steer the course for the coming year, one of the feckless five (Louis Elmy, Dino Galella, Phil Latinski, Robert Corcoran and John Quinn) will be elected board president. This makes it possible to fulfill …
Prediction 2: The new president will marginalize influence of minority members by appointing like-minded members to board committees, particularly any committee involved in hiring, thus facilitating …
Prediction 3: At some point there will be a need to hire a new math teacher and Quinn's son will be one of the five top candidates submitted for board consideration. Likewise, the wives of Elmy and Corcoran, currently employed by the district but denied what amounted to promotions by the old majority, also will be among the top five for positions. Galella's son and daughter, teachers in the district for years, might benefit as well by landing positions/titles that supplement their incomes.
Assuming the affected board member abstains from voting for his relative, and assuming the four in the minority continue to vote against hiring relatives, there are two more prognostications.
Prediction 4: Board relatives will come up for votes without having their names on the printed agendas (remember that the president has ultimate control of the agenda), either by filling in spaces left blank in those agendas, or by moving to make the appointments under New Business or some similar non-agenda tactic, and …
Prediction 5: Board relatives will come up for votes at meetings where at least one minority member is absent, thus assuring a 4-3 vote even when the related board member abstains (a 4-4 vote with one abstention is legally deemed as a failure of any motion).
The challenge to the new majority is glaringly simple:
Prove us wrong.