In the past week a lot has been discussed concerning how the Director of Schools position should be filled. Recently the County Commission made a request for a resolution that would enable individual counties to determine the best process to suit their needs. Such a request has been presented numerous times. By numerous County Commissions. By numerous County Mayors. In regards to numerous School Superintendents. Not only in McNairy County but in other states. This isn’t a first.
Proponents of the Director’s job to be filled by appointment say that introducing politics to the position results in a less qualified candidate. Plus, their re-election efforts would distract them from job related tasks. They also add qualified candidates could be harder to find since the candidate would need to be a resident of McNairy County. According to supporters, having 7 School Board members who can review a candidate’s qualifications and supervise his/her progress throughout their tenure is ample accountability. These considerations are noteworthy but debatable.
Those seeking the position to be filled by a general election make equally persuasive and debatable points. The leading argument is, (and very simply stated) voters in McNairy County do not want to be told that they’re not smart enough to select a Director of Schools. They can however select Mayors, Road Commissioners, Trustees, Judges, the Sheriff…. The county wide election process is efficient and conclusive. Do a good job and you’ll hold the position. The right to vote on the CEO of one of the largest employers in the county and responsible for a 30+ million-dollar taxpayer funded budget is as basic as any right afforded to US citizens. Voters rights to this day are passionately fought on the stage of the Supreme Court. Many see it as one of the most essential duties to citizens.
Most supporters of elections agree candidates shouldn’t run as Democrat or Republican. Candidates should present themselves with their experience, their reputation and their vison for moving forward. Voters know that they’re truly capable of selecting the most qualified candidate. Not based on political affiliation but on the qualities that identify the candidate.
It is embarrassing and shameful for anyone to make this personal against the director of schools or the county mayor. Both men have done positive things for this County and twisting a debate on political process into an opportunity to create division and settle scores represents all that is wrong with the politics. Our hopes are for this to be civilly debated and voted on for the sake of the concerned parties in the County. Whether the motion passes or fails if we diplomatically utilize the format available to us everyone will win.