In Whitewater, a local charity, the Whitewater Community Foundation, publishes a website in which the city council president poses as something like a reporter. It’s an obvious conflict of interest, from a man who shows no understanding of either proper journalism or conflicts of interest.
Where Whitewater departs from the conventional in natural beauty, she does so to her credit (as the city is beautiful). Where Whitewater departs from convention in standards, she does so to her detriment (as rejection of time-tested principle is unworthy). See Whitewater’s Local Government: Always Literally, Not as Often Seriously.
One reads that after last night’s lengthy school board meeting, Whitewater Common Council president Lynn Binnie spoke with Dr. Caroline Pate-Hefty, the Whitewater Schools’ district administrator.
Binnie writes in the Whitewater Community Foundation’s publication that
In a conversation with Dr. Pate-Hefty after the meeting this writer [Binnie] expressed the view that, given the current rapidly increasing level of positive test results in Whitewater, it is possible that the balanced case incidence metric might by September 23 enter the “Red,” very high risk level, wherein the Jefferson County model recommends all virtual instruction. Pate-Hefty indicated that the board had confirmed that, while they would be consulted in that event, it would remain their intention to continue with the September 28 plan.
Honest to goodness.
One can assume confidently that, whatever one thinks of this decision, Dr. Caroline Pate-Hefty has sufficient comprehension to understand the model’s color-coded tiers and the condition of the city as well as a Whitewater councilman.
What could this man say on the subject that this woman would not already know?
More significant still — a school board of seven men and women unanimously approved this plan before he spoke with her. Nothing Binnie said to Dr. Pate-Hefty after the meeting would – or could – alter the board’s authority to determine this matter.
(A board’s lawful decision sets policy authoritatively – there’s no legitimacy in going around a board. This is a repeated problem of understanding for Binnie. He once asked a former district administrator to defend a decision that had been made by the board, not the administrator. No and no again: a school board decision – on a sign for the high school – had already been made. The district administrator had no independent obligation to Binnie apart from relying on the board’s decision. See A Sign for Whitewater High School.)
Now, I’ve not met the district administrator, and perhaps never will. We’ve not corresponded, and apart from a public records request that might one day go to the district under law, it’s unlikely that we will ever correspond.
One should, however, be attentive to her work. The measure of her public role as district administrator – her writings, statements, live or recorded remarks – are objects of governmental policy. Even when one does not comment on a meeting or a communication, it’s important to listen to it or read it.
A sound commentary on an administration demands some remove from the immediate action. One discerns best from a position of distance and detachment.
(At the same time, Dr. Pate-Hefty would gain nothing by speaking with me, as any other use of her time would be more profitable.)
For it all, whether writing in support or opposition, it would never occur to a discerning person to explain to this district administrator matters that her intellect, education, and her own observation would easily make plain.