The Columbus Dispatch - - Front Page - Bbush@dis­ @Re­porterBush

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.

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