Continuing what is a bit of a local trend, the Festus R-6 school board voted on June 19 to appoint Joe Willis, principal of Antonia Middle School in the Fox C-6 District, to the open seat on its board. Working for one government entity, while holding elected office in another entity, is something we see in several municipalities in JeffCo. For example, both the current and former Pevely city administrators simultaneously served as city councilmen elsewhere.
As I have stated elsewhere, I think this presents potential conflicts of interest. Two cities, or two school districts, could be competing for the same resource, such as a relocating business, a government grant, or an employee. Where does the primary loyalty lie for someone who serves two entities? I also question whether a school administrator can adequately face up to the issue of administrative bloat (both in terms of salaries and number of positions), which is one of the top (unheralded) issues facing schools today.
I wonder if some on the Festus board felt this way, too. The vote to hire Willis was a narrow 3-2. Another candidate for this position was Becky Ruth, who lost a legislative race by a thin margin to TJ McKenna in November. Will she run for the board job when it comes up in April?