Martinsville Bulletin, Inc.
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204 Broad Street
Martinsville, Virginia 24115
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Editorial: Forums give public a role in hiring
Sunday, May 20, 2012
The three public forums with the finalists for the Patrick Henry Community College president’s job have been enlightening.
The recent forums gave the public a chance to see the candidates — Dr. Bruce Scism, Dr. Angeline Godwin and Dr. Ralph Soney — in action. Area residents, PHCC staff and students heard the three discuss their careers and qualifications for the job, their aspirations for the community college and their view of the president’s role there. The candidates also answered questions at the forums, which gave people a chance to hear their responses to specific concerns and issues.
These forums gave the public a chance to judge the candidates’ answers as well as their demeanors. We wish more than about 25 people would have attended each one, but we hope others read the Bulletin’s accounts of the events and talked to people who were there.
We applaud the openness of this process and suggest other boards consider replicating it when they are hiring key personnel, such as a school superintendents or city managers. This process values public input, and it gives the applicants a better sense of the community they are considering. Everyone wins.
Hiring often is shrouded in secrecy, generally to protect an applicant’s existing job. But if applicants know up front that the finalists’ names will be public, they can decide whether the job is worth alerting their current employers to or not.
We saw that in recent years when then-Martinsville City Manager Clarence Monday considered a job in Alabama before accepting one in Amherst County, and before that with then-Martinsville School Superintendent Scott Kizner. The public knew he was a finalist for positions with the Alexandria and then the Montgomery County schools before he joined the Harrisonburg schools in 2010. Most people understood that sometimes in a person’s career, a move makes sense.
Now, the Patrick Henry Community College board is expected to meet this week to consider the three finalists and comments heard during the forums and talk with Glenn DuBois, chancellor of the Virginia Community College System. DuBois then will make an offer to the candidate who is considered to be the best fit and make an announcement on the hiring after negotiations are finalized. We look forward to that announcement.