Carol Heinsdorf testimony to the SRC – February 18, 2016

Carol Heinsdorf SRC testimony 2-18-16

I am Carol Heinsdorf.

“Appearance of impropriety,” taints the public’s perception of officials expected to behave ethically. A chairman runs meetings but also supervises its ethical behavior.

Testimony is nameless and gender neutral.

When an administrator is appointed, paid handsomely and awarded an extended contract despite a tight budget, and then the appointees override that administrator’s decision showing disregard for said’s leadership, is that improper?

When borrowed money in a too-tight budget is promptly dispensed as raises to 6 figure employees, does the public believe in that administrator’s altruism for the greater society’s children, or for the administrator’s colleagues?

Are fiduciary responsibilities being met by the governing body when this administrator continue to receive the same 6 figure salary when that person’s responsibilities are reduced, year after year? ?

Is the public’s confidence in the governing body boosted when it is expected to come to conclusions based upon facts and evidence, and then shoves through legislation based upon emotion?

When a governor states that “the district has allowed many of our schools in low-income neighborhoods to fail our students and their families,” would the chair, or someone, please inform this governor that the votes cast by this very same governor are responsible for causing the distressing situation?

When governors disregards state law, e.g. PA’s Sunshine Act, how effective was the chair in guiding the governors to an ethical conclusion?

When a citizen shouts that a voting governor has an association that should cause the voter to be recused, why did the chair not stop the proceedings immediately to determine veracity? When a voter claims that the voter “don’t know what [the sibling’s] got,” shouldn’t the voter, publicly entrusted with welfare of the city’s children, know what the sibling’s got? Shouldn’t the chairman preemptively investigate conflicts of interest before every vote, educating about recusement, as necessary, to uphold ethical behavior, ensuring public trust in the voters?

Why should the public believe a lawyer’s determination about a governor when the lawyer works for the governing body? Is that not a conflict of interest?

When a public administrator is questioned, and responds with, “Are you slandering me?” does that administrator not know that in a democratic society it is expected that public officials engage with the public, expected to answer questions that may be interpreted as probing or uncomfortable?

The public official may choose the alternative to return to private life, not to respond in an intimidating, yet groundless, manner.

January 2016 Pew Trust brief about urban school governance states: “Governance systems that produce uncertainty, distrust, and ambiguous accountability can impede districts’ progress…”

Because the governing body referred to measures about zero to twenty-five percent in answers to the above, it scores “Intervene,” and qualifies to be relieved, and its duty returned to Philadelphia’s citizens.