According to the Leader, six candidates have filed to run for the two up-for-grabs seats on the Fox School board as of December 16, the first day of filing. One of these candidates is an incumbent, Dave Palmer, who has been on the board all but one year since 2002. This coincides, of course, with disgraced former superintendent Dianne Critchlow’s reign of terror.
I am at a loss to explain how Palmer thinks he can win. He has witnessed the public outrage that has erupted over the past 7 months in the district. He’s seen the crowds at board meetings, and he must know they weren’t there to celebrate the board or the district. I’m sure his e-mail inbox has overflowed with anger, but I don’t know if he reads those e-mails (I know he hasn’t acknowledged any that I have sent, and I’ve heard other complaints of board member non-responsiveness).
He has also shown (even more so than the other board members) that he just doesn’t get it. After the controversy over the hire of former board member Cheryl Hermann’s daughter, when the board performed an about-face and quickly rescinded the job, Palmer was the only board member who voted to keep Hermann’s daughter on the payroll.
Some noted at the time that Hermann could have saved her daughter’s job by resigning earlier. On a related note, Palmer has relatives that teach in the district. Under the district’s new nepotism policy, these relatives can’t be promoted or take other jobs in the district while he is on the board. Is that a sacrifice he wants to impose on them? (HIs wife is director of nursing, so I don’t reckon there is any room for promotion there anyway).
Perhaps Palmer thinks the vote will be split among the numerous challenger candidates, allowing him to eke out a victory. Perhaps he counts on support from First Baptist Church of Arnold attendees. While these are traditionally sound political strategies, I do not think they are viable in this situation, given the level of outrage and the likely level of engagement with the April election among Fox residents. I only hope my instincts are correct.
I look forward to hearing Palmer try to explain why he should be re-elected, to tell us what he has done to merit another term, to recount his accomplishments over the past three years.
The filing period to sign up as a candidate ends January 20 (so Palmer could in theory withdraw from the ballot). I suspect we will see a couple more candidates throw their hats in the ring before then.
On another note, the Fox C-6 Watchdogs blog called on Palmer to resign on October 30.