Well, the Toledo Public School Board has a new member, following Deb Barnett's resignation. It should come as no surprise to anyone that the current members voted 3-1 to appoint former Mayor Jack Ford. The lone 'no' vote came from Darlene Fisher.
Why should this come as no surprise? Several reasons...there were five scheduled to be interviewed, but one dropped out, leaving Ford, Dr. Francis Dumbuya, and the two endorsed Democratic candidates for the open seats, Lisa Sobecki and Richard Brown.
Now, the Dems on the board couldn't be expected to choose between the two endorsed candidates and Dr. Dumbuya has been aligned with groups that have opposed the actions of the majority of the board - so everyone knows he wouldn't get the votes...which leaves Jack Ford.
And this must have been pretty much a slam dunk considering the way in which Mr. Ford 'applied' for the position. Prospective candidates were supposed to supply their resume, but Ford sloppily filled out a teacher application. He didn't even get his contact number correct, as the number he submitted wasn't a valid extension. And you'd think that he would know his own address...
My concern at the time these applications were made public (resumes can be viewed here) was that if someone was so disinterested and nonchalant in the way they applied, what kind of interest and guidance would he bring to the board?
Personally, I would have eliminated Ford from the start for failing to follow the directions for applying - but this is Toledo. Perhaps he knew it really didn't matter what he submitted, so there was no need to be accurate or detailed. And after The Blade did their editorial supporting him, and Mayor Carty Finkbeiner announced his support...well, what were the Board members to do, especially when one board member works for Carty?
They could have acted like Darlene Fisher. And kudos to Darlene for her principled stand - foregoing all politics and looking, instead, at the qualifications of the individuals. She may be standing alone, but she's standing for what's right.
UPDATE ON THE VOTE: It's been reported that the vote for the vacant seat was a bit unusual. Darlene Fisher nominated, and Robert Torres seconded, Dr. Francis Dumbuya. When it came to vote on Dumbuya, Darlene voted yes, Larry Sykes and Steven Steel voted no and then Torres abstained. Yep - you read correctly, the man who seconded the nomination abstained and did not vote in favor.
Jack Ford was then nominated and selected by a 3-1 vote.
While I do not know the legalities, had Torres voted yes on Dumbuya, there would have been a tied vote. Usually, this means that the measure fails, leading to an opportunity to nominate someone else. Why Torres did not allow a tie vote, but instead chose to abstain makes no sense. Perhaps he's walking a very fine line between those who support Dumbuya - and also supported his candidacy as part of the 'Three for Change' - and the 'powers that be' which include his boss, the mayor. Perhaps Torres will explain his two votes so there will be no misunderstanding?