Our previous school superintendent was brought into Ocean City with much fanfare and excitement. Described to the Ocean City school community as a passionate educator and visionary leader, many great things were expected from him.
Fast forward a year later, here we are with another interim superintendent working to ready the district for the new school year.
This will be the fourth year in a row that Ocean City schools start the year with a different leader.
Leadership matters and a school district cannot move forward with a revolving door of school superintendents. Even more troubling is the conduct of the previous superintendent during his brief stay in Ocean City.
As a result of Ocean City Fairness in Taxes (FIT) submitting public records requests with five school districts in three states, it has become obvious that the only thing the former superintendent was passionate about was his self-promotion with his visionary leadership being more like tunnel vision focused on self-enrichment that took place at the expense of the district.
Over the past few months, FIT has discovered that the previous superintendent mislead the district regarding his whereabouts and failed to maintain accurate records of his attendance, thus potentially allowing him to receive thousands of dollars of compensation that he did not earn and was not entitled to receive.
As a result of FIT and courageous members of the Ocean City school community, including long time board solicitor Michael Stanton, our former superintendent is currently under investigation for matters related to his work attendance record.
While board leadership has refused to provide any details of the investigation, knowing that one exists speaks volumes to the unacceptable behavior of the former school superintendent.
A good leader will take an organization’s most challenging times, their most difficult moments and turn them into their finest hours. In this case, board leadership has failed and allowed an individual to abuse the generosity of the district.
Board leadership simply stood by as the former superintendent abused the privilege of being Ocean City School Superintendent, failed to protect employees of the district from his abuses and bullying, and most concerning, failed to represent and promote the interest of the most valuable asset of the district, the students.
The board president told me that he does not micromanage the district or the superintendent.
If he considers holding people accountable micromanaging, then perhaps he should consider a different line of work.
The primary job of the board is to ensure an efficient and effective operation that provides the best quality education for our children. In order to accomplish this, you must hold people accountable and that requires work and at times, micromanaging that work effort.
Let’s not kid ourselves, the problems with our former superintendent run deep.
FIT is puzzled by the board leadership anemic response to conduct that at the very least is highly unethical.
FIT is baffled by the board leadership over the lack of responsiveness when direct concerns are brought to their attention along with a lack of transparency over the refusal to disclose records to the public that will clearly demonstrate unacceptable behavior.
Ocean City is a fortunate community that has been good to many of us.
An outsider came into our schools, raided the school treasury, took advantage of dedicated school staff, let down students and board leadership did nothing until FIT and a few brave members of the community stood up and refused to accept this treatment.
What was board leadership response to all of this, claim that our former school superintendent’s service to the district was exceptional.
The only thing exceptional about all of this how the former superintendent ran roughshod over the Ocean City School District and the board president did nothing to stop it.
David Breeden, President Ocean City Fairness in Taxes