Editorial: Garfield school board flunks test

From The Daily Sentinel (Grand Junction):  Stop us if you’ve heard this one before.

A local government body, unsatisfied with the performance of its top executive, meets in secret to discuss the best way to usher out the executive. Then it calls a public meeting and, in a matter of seconds — poof! — the executive is gone, his or her departure cushioned by a hefty severance package. Meanwhile, the taxpayers are left to press their nose on the glass, wondering how and why the decision — for which they will bear the financial burden — was rendered.

The Grand Junction City Council pulled this stunt last month when it unanimously accepted City Manager Rich Englehart’s resignation with no public discussion or debate before a quick roll call cemented a fate that clearly had been decided behind closed doors.

The Garfield Re-2 School Board followed suit this week, signing a separation agreement with Superintendent Susan Birdsey during a regular board meeting that featured no dissent and no public discussion.

Lather. Rinse. Repeat. The School Board could have learned a lesson from the Grand Junction City Council’s decision — and the fallout from it.

Instead, the board in Rifle one-upped city officials here. Its members on Tuesday added a resolution to consider a separation agreement with Birdsey during the same meeting in which the board approved the resolution, according to Board President Chris Pearson. At least the City Council scheduled a separate meeting days later.

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