Thursday, November 09, 2006

Carlinda Purcell & Moving On in Montgomery, Alabama

I continue to get several visitors a week who are looking for information about Carlinda Purcell, the former superintendent of Montgomery County schools. You may recall she was fired after a contentious round of haggling in September. The Board of Education had requested a complete copy of Dr. Purcell’s performance review, and when she refused, the board set about to fire her despite raising the ire of Montgomery’s black community which charged that the effort was racially motivated.

Alabama Attorney General Troy King just ruled that the evaluation is subject to the state’s open records laws. One of the staunchest supporters of Dr. Purcell was school board member Beverly Ross. This time, I have to agree with Ross, who was quoted in the Montgomery Advertiser as saying, “I think it’s a little too late. We’re searching for a new superintendent. Dr. Purcell has left the district. It’s time to move on.”


Jay Croft said...

I have to disagree on this one, Sheila. The Board of Education has a right to the full evaluation, especially if they paid for it.

I'm surprised that they didn't specify that they get copies of the full evaluation, when the contract with the outside company was made.

The evaluation will be valuable for several purposes, but one purpose would be to help the Board see what went wrong.

I think also they need this document to protect themselves from a possible lawsuit by Purcell, or a disgruntled employee, or even from a student who "graduated" but can't spell.

It should be a simple matter to request a copy from the company doing the evaluation. If not, it is because the Board failed to have a good lawyer look over the contract for the evaluation.

Sheila said...

You are quite correct about every point. I think I need to clarify what I was trying to say and you may still disagree with me. Of course, the board has a right and a duty to have this information. I just don't think much will be served by publicly disclosing her poor marks. She's gone and that's good enough for me. It almost seems like piling on at this point.

Jay Croft said...

The Montgomery Advertiser has a good editorial on this topic, today. (11/10/06)

Sheila said...

You are right. This a good editorial. I normally would agree 100% with it, but it almost seems as if the board's ulterior motive is to sully Purcell's reputation even further. It's a no-win situation in my view. Purcell was wrong to withhold it for certain and the board was negligent in not obtaining a copy to begin with. She may not have been right for the job here and may have been an administrative nightmare, but surely she will have to find some means of support for the rest of her career. Future employers will already be on notice of her troubles here. The current lame-duck board members really have no political gain to be had by the disclosure. And the curious public of course has a right to see the records, but again I ask, "For what real purpose?" Just to say, "I told you so?"

Seems more petty to me. But the law is the law and it is clear legally the evaluation can be disclosed. We used to have public floggings and this is a bit of a modern version of that practice in my opinion.

Jay Croft said...

I wouldn't worry too much about her future career. She received a very, very generous buyout. I understand that she already is quite wealthy, apart from the buyout.

I think it would have been cheaper to let her contract run out and left her with an empty desk and nothing to do. That has been done in private industry.

A friend told me recently about how a company was reorganized. Workers were told to clean out their desks immediately and leave, without saying good-bye to their co-workers. I think that is too harsh, but I still wonder why the Board of Education took so long to wake up.

I will not be voting for any of the incumbents, next time.

Sheila said...

I have to agree about the board. Beverly Ross is the board member for my district I believe, and I wouldn't vote for her for dog-catcher. I do personally know from my work with her on the Booker T. Washington Magnet High School PTSA board, one of the incoming board members, Charlotte Meadows. Charlotte ran unopposed for the seat held by LaBranche. For two years she was the PTSA board president. She worked tirelessly and shared my vision about the importance of public education. It's a real problem as I'm sure you are finding out to get support for public education in Montgomery. Charlotte believes strongly in making it better for all of the kids. With her accounting background, persistence and strong will, I feel confident we will see a new day.

Anonymous said...

Responding to Jay Croft's comment and only to this comment,"I wouldn't worry too much about her future career. She received a very, very generous buyout. I understand that she already is quite wealthy, apart from the buyout." Before you talk about Ms. Purcell's "wealth" you need to do some research. That research will tell you Ms. Purcell earned any "wealth" that she has, and came from very humble beginnings. Saying that you wouldn't worry about her future career shows what type of person you are...callous.