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School board can’t hide incompetence

In the latest example of incompetence, three members of the Winchester Board of Education held an illegal meeting Tuesday night to discuss a change in leadership — namely the resignation of Chairman Kathleen O’Brien.The meeting was attended by O’Brien and board members Dr. Richard Dutton and Christine Royer, who reportedly asked O’Brien to resign amid controversy over an ongoing risk-based audit of the school system’s finances. Under O’Brien’s leadership, there have been eight separate delays of the audit, which is being conducted to determine if the school system’s business office is running the system properly.The fact that there have been so many delays is in itself a sign of incompetence, but the more auditors learn the worse it gets. Now they are saying the school system has not properly recorded its financial numbers for years, and there is no telling how many more delays will be sought.With the school system’s poor history of financial accounting, it only stands to reason people would want heads to roll, but a decision by Board of Education members to hold an unnoticed meeting without a quorum is another slap in the face to voters, who want to know why it is taking so long to solve financial problems in the school system. The decision to call for O’Brien’s resignation is the right one, but the way in which the decision was discussed this week was wrong. Winchester residents should also wonder who will take O’Brien’s place. With board members showing that they don’t have the nerve to discuss such important matters in a public forum, it’s hard to imagine they will find someone on the board who be able to provide effective leadership. Perhaps additional resignations are in order ahead of the November elections. In the meantime, voters have a responsibility to speak their minds at regular school board meetings and call for honesty and transparency in the way the board conducts its business.

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