the board failed to have a representative from the Educational Service Center of Central Ohio on hand Monday as expected to help select a new search firm, mediator and legal counsel.
“This is just a delay tactic, and we need to stop this right now,” Hudson said.
“There is no conspiracy,” responded board Vice President Michael Cole.
Baker told Hudson that the ESC had assigned an employee who was unable to attend Monday’s meeting. Hudson responded that Baker should make all of his communications with the ESC in writing and share them with the rest of the board.
Board member Eric Brown said the entire board is “very disappointed and unhappy with Hazard Young,” the headhunter firm that the board paid $50,000 to find suitable candidates in the last nationwide search. But he suggested that the board try to save money and enforce its contract with the firm to do another search.
“The fact that they blew it the first time gives them some strong incentives to do it right,” said Brown, who declined to elaborate after the meeting.
Member W. Shawna Gibbs disagreed. “No, if you blew it, you blew it,” she said, adding that Hazard should have to beat out other search firms. Selecting a firm is delicate because whenever a headhunter places a candidate, they typically sign a contract stating they won’t approach that person about a different job for three years, limiting the pool, Gibbs said.
Hazard’s Schaumburg, Illinois, office was closed Monday evening after the board meeting, and no one could be reached for comment.
The firm had rounded up both public and secret candidates for the board to interview. The two secret finalists the board settled on — Milwaukee Public Schools Superintendent Darienne Driver and Cleveland HeightsUniversity Heights Superintendent Talisa Dixon —inexplicably dropped out, with district voters never knowing they were the original finalists.
Investigators’ notes from interviews by Ohio Auditor Dave Yost’s office with some board members indicated the board added them as candidates because they felt the official pool was over-represented by black males and therefore lacking diversity.