YOU DON’T KNOW ME … WE PLAY A CHARACTER CALLED ‘DAN VALENTI,’ AND HE IS BUT THE WHITE WALLS OF A REBELLIOUS HEART … SCHOOL COMMITTEE TO ACCEPT ‘LATE APPLICATION’ or ‘UH-OH,’ FOLKS, ‘HERE IT COMES’ … ALF BARBALUNGA ANSWERS THREE QUESTIONS
By DAN VALENTI
PLANET VALENTI News and Commentary
(FORTRESS OF SOLITUDE, MONDAY, MARCH 26, 2012) — Every so often, THE PLANET receives an invitation as a local celebrity to sit in judgment of some contest, drive a bus as a promo stunt, flip pancakes, that sort of thing. Each time, we have to stop, take stock, and realize that no matter how much we dislike it, we are considered a “celebrity” — a status in life that grants everyone familiarity with an aspect of your life which many of them confuse with knowledge of the real thing.
Celebrity status, not to be confused with fame, makes one a circulated coin of the realm minted from devotion’s self. We take on roles that make us symbols of our culture. The roles serve useful cultural purposes, the way court jesters did in their leeway to tell the king he wasn’t wearing any clothes. In our case, our role is to comment of the width, breadth, and depth of mainly local human experience based upon a lifetime of learning, observations, and experiences unique among those of the like of mortal men.
You Don’t Know Us
But you don’t know us. Many THINK they know us.
You don’t know us. You know a caricature based on your “reading” of our public pronunciations. You know one aspect of our public lives.
You don’t know us.
You know a character we play called “Dan Valenti.” He is the larger-than-life persona through which we get to make pronunciations. They are not to be taken as fact but to be used as kindling through which fires and bonfires of public debate can ignite and shed light upon issues of importance to the community.
“Dan Valenti” is the dude that allows us a daily interface over our well-sung celebrations and woes, the guy who has license to tell of tales that may sooth or enrage, that may coax pensive ghosts out of the woodwork, and that may get us to agree and disagree on whatever streaming glories do attempt to shine upon us in this valley of tears.
You don’t know me. You only know “Dan Valenti.” Everything else you might think about him is but an inflation, a swell of the pomp of a noble sacrifice that he is glad to undertake. Give thanks that you have “Dan Valenti,” for he won’t be with you long.
All things must pass.
WHAT’S GOING ON WITH THE SUPERINTENDENT SEARCH?
The agenda for the school committee’s upcoming meeting (Wednesday 3/28 at 6 p.m. at the PHS library) has a most curious entry. It may mean little or it may be a clue to The Fix. It may mean neither, but can we afford to take that chance? We have a public school system underperforming, overprices, and lying in its claims of highest standards on behalf of the education of children.
We read from the agenda:
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V. Recommended Actions — Unfinished Business
A. Update in Superintendent Search
1. Overview 2. Consideration of Additional Application 3. Presentation by Glenn Koocher of the Massachusetts Association of School Committees.
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‘Additional Application?’ — Code for ‘The Fix is in?’
THE PLANET has underlined the item that caught our attention: “Consideration of Additional Application.”
There were nine applications sent in by the deadline. The public hasn’t seen them yet. Is it a strong pool? A weak one? We don’t know.
Moreover, and more importantly, there was a clear, well-established limit — a foolish one, albeit, but that’s what the committee wanted, two weeks for people to get their applications to the school committee. That in and of itself raised flags that the “nationwide search” was a bogus one and that the Chosen One had been hand-picked well-before the dog-and-pony application process. THE PLANET advised the school committee it wasn’t enough time, that it was the old “hurry-hurry-hurry” and unnecessarily — but they wanted it that way.
Now, it appears they have broken the rules. Now, some questions that we hope will be answered on Wednesday night:
* Who is this late application?
* What were the circumstances of it being sent and then accepted?
* Did the entire school committee agree on this apparent breaking the committee’s own rules or was this another unilateral move by the chairman? If the latter, when will these quixotic odysseys end on the part of the chair?
* What will prevent other candidates who wished to apply but couldn’t by the deadline from now using this late application to demand that their applications be accepted?
* Is this person whose application is being accepted late someone local? Someone known? One of the usual suspects? In other words, is this how the GOB intends to sneak through their bobo for the job? Be clear: We aren’t saying that this is the case, but we are raising this as a reasonable question.
The point is, ladies and gentlemen, the school committee established a two-week deadline. In light of that, how is it possible that “additional applications” be considered?
The public needs answers.
ALF BARBALUNGA RESPONDS TO PLANET’S QUESTIONS
School committee chairman Alf Barbalunga responded to three questions posed by THE PLANET.
1. We asked if the chair had the power to unilaterally decide on advertising the position of superintendent.
2. If so, we asked him to share the enabling legislation that gave him that power.
3. Are the resumes available for public view.
Here is his response, as he sent it to us:
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1. i am not sure about ‘uniliateral’, and that is not a term i believe i have ever used. here is what i can tell you:a. the school committee voted unanimously to contract with masc, while authorizing dr. eberwein to coordinate with masc, and ultimately assist in managing the superintendent search & hire processb. part of that process is/was to post and advertise the jobc. this posting was authorized after consultation with dr. ebewein and masc executive director koocher. also, school committee attorney dupere was consulted, and he proffered a opinion that this posting was legal based on the school committee vote. however, at the end of the day the buck stops with me, and i take full responsibility for the posting/advertisingd. finally, at the most recent meeting, the school committee voted by majority (5 yes, 1 no, 1 absent) to support our action, and continue with this process2. i’m not sure if there is any mgl section, city charter language or any policies/procedures that specifically authorizes the above actions. that being said, i’m confident that there is no mgl section, city charter language or any policies/procedures that prohibits the above actions. if you can cite differently, please forward3. those nine resumes are not available for public review. this question was raised, and diligently researched by myself & school committee attorney dupere. only final applicant(s) information will be available for public reviewi appreciate your continued interest in the pittsfield public school system & have a great spring.—— 00 ——We thank the chairman for his time and his considered responses.———————————————————————-MORE LATER, WHILE WE KICK AROUND IN CHAUCER’S HOUSE OF FAME. WE’VE GOT SOME RUMINATIONS OF THE SCHOOL COMMITTEE DOINGS AND …
“OPEN THE WINDOW, AUNT MILLIE.”
LOVE TO ALL.