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Thursday, April 21, 2005

Elected officials responsible for the Hornsby scandals (commentary)

(Updated November 20, 2005)
Back when Prince George's County had an elected school board, it was quite clear which elected officials were responsible and should be held accountable for the behavior and results of the superintendent of schools--the school board members, elected by the People of Prince George's County, who selected the superintendent.

But Maryland's General Assembly, led by almost all Prince George's County delegates and senators, decided to interfere and overrule the voters. They established an appointed body that is responsible to nobody because the appointing officials are no longer in office.

So, who should we, the voters of Prince George's County, hold accountable for the current scandals surrounding school chief Andre Hornsby?

Certainly not the school board, they don't have to face election and are not at all responsible to the voters.

The current elected officials most responsible for the selection and continued employment of Hornsby, and thus for the resulting scandals are the Prince George's County members of the General Assembly who created the current situation, namely:

Delegates: Additional notes on delegates:
  • At the time the elected school board was abolished, Niemann was not in the General Assembly, he was then a member of the former elected school board who favored its abolition.
  • During the 2005 session of the General Assembly, almost all current Prince George's County members of the House of Delegates supported returning to a school board with nine members elected from single member districts.
Additional notes on senators.
  • During the 2005 session of the General Assemby, Sens. Britt and Exum strongly supported returning to a school board with nine members elected from single member districts. Sen. Britt is new to the senate since the elected school board was abolished. Sen. Exum was the only Prince George's County member of the General Assembly to oppose the act establishing the appointed school board.
  • Sen. Lawlah seems to have been on both sides of the elected school board issue. On the one hand, she seems to really want a patronage school board, but on the other hand, she seems to recognize that her position is unpopular and tries to appease her contituents with insincere comments supporting the return of an elected board. In January, after the Hornsby scandals first hit the news, Lawlah publicly praised Hornsby. (Post, January 13, 2005).
  • Sen. Pinsky, Green, Currie, and Miller were the individuals most responsbile for the failure of the 2005 General Assembly to reestablish a truly representative elected school board. A couple of these senators made inane or irrelevant public comments on the issue, but all four basically stonewalled their constituents.

These legislators, who took away our elected school board, have refused to step forward and take responsibility for what they have wrought.

At least five of the senators--Pinsky, Green, Currie, Lawlah, and Miller--prevented the 2005 General Assembly from acting to correct the situation.

These five senators, who have become arrogant because they think they are unbeatable (and tend to be living proof of Lord Action's observation that power corrupts . . .), are counting on the general apathy and amnesia of the voters.

It is time to prove them wrong:
  • Time to keep reminding the voters which elected officials are currently responsible for the failures, incompetence, and corruption in our schools;
  • Time for us to keep asking these anti-democrats to justify themselves;
  • Time to find candidates of either party who believe in democracy and education, not smoke-filled back rooms and political gamesmanship;
  • Time for a change!
Related: Summary of recent news about PG school chief Hornsby.

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