Scandals Roll Through JeffCo

6 Jun

The last week has been eventful, and perhaps depressing, in Jefferson County. A number of scandals have emerged, drawing the attention of the St. Louis media and the ire of local residents. Let’s review.

  • It was first reported here on May 27 that the son-in-law of Arnold police chief Bob Shockey got himself a job with the city PD via a never-before-or-since-used cadet program. This story prompted Russell Kinsaul from KMOV to investigate. The city assured us that the chief was not involved in the hire, and that ‘”he went out of his way to make sure he was treated like any other applicant.” Other than, you know, creating a position for him. This information was provided by city administrator Bryan Richison, who was not here when the hire occurred, and is probably being fed some BS by those who were.
  • News broke late on May 29 on KSDK that the identities of those defaming Fox C-6 critics had been identified, thanks to a court order, and that they were school administrators. The next day we learned that the bulk of the comments came from the home of superintendent Dianne Critchlow. This set off a firestorm. As of now, Critchlow’s husband and three unnamed administrators (but probably the named perpetrators) have been placed on paid leave. Yes, only in government does misconduct get rewarded with a paid vacation. Comments from school board president John Laughlin suggest he is happy to let Critchlow enjoy this vacation until her retirement date arrives, at which time she can start raking in her fat pension. You get what you vote for, folks. It remains to be seen if the district itself will be sued.
  • On June 2, KSDK was first again, reporting that the Hillsboro school district had hired the wife of Superintendent Aaron Cornman to a new “instructor coaching” position (which sounds like it is Common Core-related). This after the superintendent led the charge for a loosening of the district nepotism policy shortly after he was hired (suspicious?). It turns out that Cornman’s wife got a job at the last place he was superintendent, Pierce City R-6. I sense a trend here. More on the policy change:

The district’s policy had been to bar board members from hiring family or relatives of the superintendent. That changed in September as part of a streamlining of policies, Aaron Cornman said.

Now, family of board members can be hired, but board members must leave the room when the relative is being considered and they can’t vote on the hiring.

The new policy also ended the ban on hiring a superintendent’s relative.

Compare this with the policy Fox instituted after the Nash nepotism scandal (so much nepotism!), which I think is still too permissive. Corman says we just can’t discriminate against a job candidate because of their last name, but that’s not the concern. The concern is discriminating against all those people that don’t have the right last name.

Unlike all the cowardly lions at Fox, Hillsboro board member Bo Harrison had the common sense and courage to call for Corman’s resignation. The board members you voted for, Hillsboro voters, were the ones that approved this hire, and assistant superintendent Jana Rhame led the interview committee. I’m sure she felt no pressure to hire her boss’ wife. Uh-huh.

In spite of the uproar, the Hillsboro board, that you voted for, folks, doubled down and re-approved the wife hire at last night’s board meeting. Cornman has also doubled down on his ridiculous equal employment argument:

“You can’t claim to be an equal opportunity employer if you discriminate based on someone’s last name and of course we know that’s a violation of federal law,” Dr. Cornman said.

That makes no sense. Perhaps if his wife’s last name was Garcia or Martinez, that would make a little sense, but now it makes no sense.


5 Responses to “Scandals Roll Through JeffCo”

  1. Bob Hohmeier June 6, 2014 at 10:12 am #

    It’s a blessing, (or a curse), depending on how you look at it, that I don’t have the right last name! We have a city, county, state and country of “low information voters”. Or they prefer the corruption, nepotism, and downright shady dealings.


  2. Some2 June 6, 2014 at 12:26 pm #

    I believe the wife of Crystal City’s super has a job in their district. I’m told it’s common practice in most districts?


    • JC Penknife June 6, 2014 at 4:51 pm #

      It appears to be pretty popular among the public school administrative class.


    • JC Penknife June 9, 2014 at 6:32 pm #

      Ah, here it is. The wife of Crystal City superintendent Phillip Harrison is a junior high communications arts teacher there.



  1. Hillsboro Board Doesn’t Get It on Nepotism | Jefferson County Penknife - June 22, 2014

    […] you have, under a headline reporting that the board doubled down on its nepotism hire, board member Jo Ellen Stringer, who has two years left on her term, defending the decision. And […]


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