There must be a more enterprising way to recruit the next Seattle public schools' superintendent. The school board could root around administration archives and dig out those glossy brochures circa 1970 brandishing Seattle's cheap real estate and uncongested highways. Or perhaps the board applies John Rawls's "veil of ignorance," with applicants unaware of their place or circumstances? Something. As if on cue, two of the three applicants dropped off the superintendent short list. And the board selected the remaining candidate, in this case Jose Banda.
Yes, Seattle has been here before.
As the Seattle Times' Brian Rosenthal wrote before the final withdrawal and the choice of Banda, "The withdrawal of Seattle superintendent finalist Steven Enoch late Saturday leaves the School Board with two candidates who showed starkly different leadership styles during their visits here last week. Board members scheduled a Sunday night meeting to discuss those two options: José Banda and Sandra Husk."
In My Northwest, Linda Thomas points to the elephant in the classroom. "What is it about Seattle Schools? And I ask that as an SPS mom. We seem to have a way of driving out superintendents and scaring away those who spend some time visiting. In 2007, one of two finalists withdrew from consideration, leaving only Maria Goodloe-Johnson, who was hired. In 2003, all four finalists withdrew."
Wednesday's vanquished finalist could always re-group, run for the remainder of Jay Inslee's unexpired term in Congress, and net a nifty $15,000 for the month of December. As the Herald's Jerry Cornfield writes, "Whoever wins this year's special election to replace former U.S. Rep. Jay Inslee can count on a nice salary and decent benefits for a month's work in arguably the world's most powerful political institution. This temporary job pays roughly $15,000 and comes with a medical plan, an assigned parking place, a bus pass, and all the privileges bestowed upon members of the U.S. House of Representatives." (Note to readers: Midday Scan's pauperish author could live on that salary for years, plus his mother believes he would do very little damage in just one month.)
There is a political backstory to the seat-warmer scenario: A short timer (earning that kind of dough) augments cynicism among an already sneering public. Ideally, a caretaker would also be the next member of Congress from the new 1st district. That may be tough to swing, however, especially if Republican John Koster is elected in November, and with the demographics of the old 1st decidedly Democratic.
Oregon is dealing with a state-employee question familiar to old Olympia hands -- the bugaboo of retired-rehired workers. These "double dippers" are already receiving a pension from the Oregon Public Employees' Retirement System (PERS) when they elect to go back to work for the state. It's a lucrative option that, given the new budget austerity, may no longer be financially tenable.
"There are double dippers everywhere: welfare workers, engineers, corrections employees and doctors. The Oregon's Employment Department hires retirees, as does PERS itself," the Oregonian's Ted Sickinger writes. "For some, double dipping is a way to supplement skimpy benefits and make ends meet, from food on the table to health care premiums. For others, including a slew of "retired" professors and doctors, double dipping provides a glidepath to a more comfortable retirement, the opportunity to help out in a pinch, or both."
Alaska is Valhalla for Republican Presidential candidate Ron Paul. The 49th state has all the Paul ingredients, from Libertarian-leaning Republicans (and Democrats) to an embedded distrust of all-things federal. And who loves a little rebellion more than Alaskans? No surprise, then, that the Paul troops stormed the state's Republican Bastille. The Anchorage Daily News' Lisa Demer writes, "Supporters of GOP presidential candidate Ron Paul tried to commandeer the Alaska Republican Party convention this weekend in Anchorage. They were disruptive, big in numbers — and partially successful. Their candidate won the party chairmanship, beating out the man backed by Randy Ruedrich, who has led the party since 2000 and didn’t seek another term. But they didn’t win their chief goal of changing the party rules and claiming all 24 state delegates to the national Republican convention for Paul, the favorite of the libertarian wing of the party."
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