Romberg: An injustice with Jeffco superintendent hiring secrecy

Canyon Courier (Evergreen): I wonder if there’s something in the water at the Jefferson County School Board headquarters that makes people averse to transparency and compliance with Colorado’s Open Meetings Law.

How else could you explain a Board of Education that came into office on the heels of a recall election where one of the biggest issues was lack of transparency, saying at a public board meeting that ensuring candidates to head the district can apply without fear that their names will become public is a high priority?

Colorado law requires the names of finalists for chief executive officers for state or local public bodies to be made public for at least 14 days before an appointment is made. The rationale is that it is beneficial when final candidates for jobs are fully vetted. Hiring authorities and the public can be more confident about a new chief executive when final candidates are subjected to public scrutiny.

Unfortunately, it’s not unusual to name a single finalist. In some limited cases, usually where someone who has been serving in an acting position or has served in a high-level position for several years is promoted, naming a single finalist who is the only person truly considered for the position makes sense.

However, naming a single finalist after a broad search to undermine the intent of the law and to protect the identities of all candidates except the person who’s been selected, is a serious breach of the public trust.

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