Our view: Odd end to a long journey: It's Liddell

May 31, 2012 10:36:52 AM

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Tonight, the Columbus Municipal School District will announce a decision on the superintendent position.  

 

The Board of Trustees will meet at 6:30 p.m. at Brandon Central Services, presumably to announce its choice from among three finalists, two of whom have already dropped out of the competition. 

 

In unraveling any good mystery, a timeline is important:  

 

On Friday, Dr. Pamela Henson of Bay Minette, Ala., informed the board that she had taken her name out of consideration for the job in the wake of the unexpected death of her husband. Two candidates remained. 

 

On Saturday, Board President Tommy Prude told The Dispatch the board had made its choice, but would not release the name of the selection until the candidate accepted the offer.  

 

On Wednesday, Isaac Haynes of Prentiss dropped out of the race, which means he wasn't the choice. That leaves Dr. Martha Liddell, the acting interim superintendent, as the lone finalist. By deductive reasoning, that means Liddell was the choice on Saturday.  

 

Apparently, it has taken five days for the board to narrow down the field of one to, uh, one. Cuban Presidential elections are more suspenseful. 

 

Unless the board's decision about the position involves something other than naming a superintendent. 

 

And therein lies the problem. 

 

By announcing the board had its person, then waiting five days to announce the name, the board has damaged its own cause. That sort of lapse is certain to open the door to speculation. It is a cloud that will hang over the new superintendent as well. Confident decisions produce confident actions, after all. 

 

There exists some possibility that there is a plausible explanation for what has transpired over the past five days. If so, the board certainly has an obligation to the people to explain it. Speculation exists that there are points of the contract still being negotiated. 

 

The selection of a new superintendent has been long and contentious. The board's reluctance to "name names'' even at the very end of the process does nothing to soothe those raw emotions.