Thursday, December 08, 2005

Towel in; Haugh out.

Yesterday School Board member Loretta Haugh shed ties with one of her two masters by sending an open letter to media outlets. She sites her health and family as reasons, suggesting that she has read at least Chapter 1 of Resigning for Dummies. The ABJ notes that she did not notify the Board ahead of time.

Her resignation comes on the heels of her clean bill of health from the Ohio Ethics Commission. As I noted previously, Ohio Ethics Law doesn't consider the ethical implications of holding dual employment in a world where the government competes in the marketplace. Haugh, of course, considers the Commission opinion a vindication:

This past week the Ohio Ethics Commission released its legal opinion, an opinion
I requested to help further clarify the questions surrounding my employment with
Summit Academy while serving as a school board member, and specifically to
resolve the issue of any conflict of interest. The Ohio Ethics Commission was
unequivocal in its support of my position, namely that my new employment created
absolutely no conflict of interest. After the unprofessional antics of many, it
is most rewarding to be so validated by the Ohio Ethics Commission, the
appropriate legal body with controlling jurisdiction on this matter.

Unprofessional? Like dragging this controversy out until your "vindication" then taking your ball and going home? Like resigning through an open letter, without any contact with the Board? I'm unaware of anyone -- anyone professional anyway -- who handled the controversy unprofessionally.

What Haugh doesn't appreciate is the precedent set by her actions. If the Board treated her dual employment as perfectly fine, it would be only a matter of time before a White Hat shill ran for the Board. Haugh does indeed have a long record of service to the children of Akron. If she is able to improve Summit Academies, she will improve the lives of scores of additional children, and good for her. But serving in both positions was inappropriate and her refusal to acknowledge that reflects badly on her.

So who replaces her? Probably recent Board member and unsuccessful City Council candidate Mary Stormer and near-miss Board candidate Kirt Conrad are frontrunners. Personally, I would like to see Allan Markey, an accountant who would be an asset to the Board, but whose suffer-no-fools bluntness hurt him in the election.