Shortly after Marshall County commissioners voted 12-4 to ask their school board to fire the director of schools, one of the commissioners asked us to publish the names and phone numbers of those on the board of education.
That list is available here separately.
For the few readers of this newspaper who've not heard: Schools Director John David Pierce over-reacted to Commissioner Jennifer Harris' statement during a Sept. 18 meeting. She said teachers and other school system employees here are perceived as refraining from publicly voicing their opinion on the system and its administration because they are afraid they will lose their jobs or be transferred to a less desirable assignment. Pierce said Harris' statement seemed like character assassination and he'd respond in kind. Reportedly, he pointed at Harris. Both say they've been friends for years. He's apologized. She says his behavior isn't what's expected of community leaders.
Please note: We're taking no sides on this, although we endorse open debate on public issues. Letters to the editor are welcome on any subject.
There are a few things to say about making part of the editorial page something like a phone book. It's not unusual. Elsewhere, newspapers have routinely published the names and numbers of senators and congressmen. Some papers post the names and numbers of the local members of their state Legislature, too.
It's worth noting that at the county meeting on Monday, the commissioners also voted to increase their pay. It's gone up now, but not by much and members of the school board are also part-time public servants who may work so many hours that their hourly wage averages out at less than the minimum wage.
It's also worth noting that there's an opening on the school board. Deborah S. Allen has resigned. Her decision was "due to increasing family obligations and business interests." Those who want to apply to be her successor must be a registered voter living in Marshall County's 2nd District who has sent a notice of their intention to become a member of the school board to the county mayor's office. That's in the Courthouse Annex on Lewisburg's public square. Such notices are due by Oct. 10. However, an applicant could just attend the county commission's 6 p.m. meeting on Oct. 22 and ask County Clerk Daphne Fagan to include their name with others who've already filed a notice. County Commissioners may vote to appoint someone to serve the unexpired portion of Allen's term.
Perhaps county commissioners' names and numbers should be published here next week.
And finally, anybody who's closely observed local governments for a few years will have realized that members of school boards have a difficult position and they work long hours. Frequently, its been noted that planning commissioners' work is complicated and time consuming, too, and that's not to disparage the time and effort put in by other elected and appointed public servants.