Open Letter to the Ketchikan
By Debra Azure
March 28, 2007
Dear Members of the School Board,
I am writing to you to ask you to seriously question the wisdom
of firing Harry Martin as School Superintendent. Not only is
Mr. Martin an extremely qualified administrator, as verified
by his being named Superintendent of the Year in the State of
Alaska last year, but he has the respect and admiration of those
in the State of Alaska who have the ability to assist us through
the Schoenbar money crunch and other issues. If we fire Mr.
Martin at this point we will lose the respect of those in the
State whose assistance we desperately need. I believe the Borough
has made it very clear that, if we are so careless with the money
they have provided as to fire our Superintendent mid-year or
mid-contract right after spending unnecessary money to keep the
District offices in the Mall, the purse will be tightened up,
and rightfully so. Therefore, let's not talk of firing without
discussing what programs or teaching positions will be cut in
order to pay for buying out Mr. Martin's contract, including
his annual leave days, hiring an interim Superintendent, searching
for a new one AND the loss in Borough funding next year.
In the School Board elections held prior to these last ones Mr.,
Martin was made an issue with certain candidates stating they
would fire him and others stating they would keep him. The voting
public left absolutely no doubt as to how they felt with a very
strong majority electing those in favor of Martin and ousting
those against him. In these last elections the issue was kept
under wraps and was not a public issue although we see it coming
out again now. Each of you was elected to serve the public,
not to pursue an individual agenda. You need to take the time
and make the effort to work through your personal differences
and do what is in the best interest of the community.
Mr. Martin's job is to enforce the goals and policies set in
place by the Board as a whole. Any personal agenda must go through
the process of being approved by the entire Board before you
can expect Mr. Martin to enforce it. If you cannot get the entire
of the Board to agree with you, then you must set aside your
personal agenda and get behind the Board's agenda. You must
also refuse to support those who refuse to follow this procedure.
I have read and re-read the Ketchikan Daily News' account of
the March 14th School Board Meeting and I notice there was no
comment about Mr. Martin not making progress on or meeting his
goals. When Mr. Martin asked about "other issues"
he was confronted with gossip and innuendo regarding "somebody
said" which cannot be defended because it is gossip and
innuendo. As to Mr. Martin's leadership abilities, how is it
that the entire State can recognize these qualities in him but
our own Board questions it?
In reply to comments regarding the amount of information in the
packets, as I'm sure many of you have noticed, it's very clear
that at least one board member does not read the packet anyway.
All joking aside, if you're not getting the information you
want, ask for it, but then be sure to read every bit of it.
You are also allowed to do your own homework. If you don't want
to ask the questions in public then you probably don't want that
info in the packet either where other people have access to it.
I have to say, "Kudos to Mr. Thomas," for his comments
at the last meeting. There is way too much micro-managing going
on, whether intentional or not, and it is not a healthy situation.
It is in noone's best interest to encourage this type of behavior.
Please, for the sake of our community, make an earnest attempt
to work with Mr. Martin. Do not vote in favor of firing our
Thank you for your consideration,
Received March 27, 2007 - Published March 28, 2007
About: "34 yr Ktn resident
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on Viewpoints are the opinions of the writer
and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Sitnews.
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