Norwalk school board dodges questions on hiring new superintendent

It remains unclear what "change" led to Sue Goodsite not getting the job.
Cary Ashby
Aug 27, 2014

Norwalk City Schools, citing the confidentiality of discussions during executive sessions, continues to decline to directly address the thought process behind hiring its interim superintendent.

The Reflector emailed board president John Lendrum several questions directly pertaining to the July 29 hiring of Huron resident Will Folger as the interim superintendent on a one-year contract.

Through interviews with board members, one of the candidates and Norwalk residents, the Reflector determined Lendrum told Assistant Superintendent Sue Goodsite the job was hers and Folger would be her assistant overseeing personnel, but Lendrum later informed Goodsite "there had been a change."

It remains unclear what caused that supposed change of circumstances.

The Cleveland law firm of Pepple and Waggoner released a statement bout the hiring of the interim superintendent.

"It was prepared for the board by the board's (legal) counsel," said Lendrum, who signed the two-paragraph statement.

"The board requested that prospective candidates for the position submit applications. After careful consideration of the applications received and interviews with candidates, the board met in executive session to consider the employment of a superintendent. Ohio's Open Meetings Act authorizes public bodies to enter into executive sessions to hold confidential discussions between its members for a few specific purposes. One of those specific purposes allows a board of education to adjourn into executive session to consider the appointment and employment of a public employee or official, which includes a superintendent," according to the statement.

"Ohio ethics laws prohibit school board members from disclosing information that is confidential. Therefore, it is not appropriate for further comment on discussions that occurred during executive sessions."

During a July 29 special board meeting, Lendrum and board members Kevin Cashen and Rob Ludwig supported hiring Folger.

Board members Steve Linder and Ralph Ritzenthaler voted against hiring Folger. Linder has said his "no" vote was against the way the hiring situation happened. On the other hand, Ritzenthaler said he earlier decided to vote in favor of Goodsite getting the interim job and couldn't change his vote.

Immediately after the meeting, Lendrum was asked why Goodsite didn't get the job. The board president said it's not appropriate to comment on why certain candidates weren't hired, but he doesn't fault board members for voting their consciences.

The Reflector asked Lendrum the following questions via email:

• What specifically caused the change in direction in deciding to choose Folger over Goodsite?

• Did you tell Goodsite she had the job at one point?

• Did Folger balk and/or have any issues with being the assistant superintendent? If not, why didn't the board decide to go with Goodsite as the interim as Folger as her assistant?

Lendrum said he would be referring the questions to the board's attorney.

Goodsite is under contract through the 2014-2015 school year as the assistant superintendent overseeing curriculum and grants.

"This situation aside, I'm committed to working hard for this community. We have a school year to start. Mr. Folger and I have to work together to do what's best for the district," Goodsite told the Reflector.

Comments

freespeech1

So they lawyer up. Something smells really fishy.

Tdog's picture
Tdog

REALLY FISHY!

earlduck

I don't think they lawyered up,I believe they keep legal council,after the taxpayer pays for it,its not real money

TheGravyWhisperer

...you got that right

itsoknow67

They knew she wasn't good for job or kids.

Tdog's picture
Tdog

Are you qualified? Very unlikely, so zip it!

neo.rr.com

Are you qualified to tell people to "zip it" on a public forum? Very unlikely.

NORBILLIES

Are you qualified to tell people that they are too unqualified to tell someone they are unqualified? Very unlikely.

TheGravyWhisperer

...stop it, all of you ...now I don't know who I am or what my password is!

itsoknow67

You unzipped it so you zip it for me

I_wonder

Let's see....The BOE sets very specific application guidelines and a cut off date. Cashen chastises Goodsite for not following the procedure.

Folger's resume is given to the BOE by outgoing Doughty after the deadline for submissions. No application is filled out or references checked.

Goodsite is privately told she has the job but publicly Folger is hired.

Appears that three BOE members feel they are above following their own established procedures. So how can anyone trust anything they have to say? So much for their integrity and credibility. One in particular was shallow in integrity to begin with. Surprised it took this long for a public showing.

Texas

Maybe a recall is in order for some of these school board members ! It shows everyone in Huron County... That Norwalk's School Board is not that "Smart". I hate for them to run my business. I would be broke and have no employees. You can not treat people the way they do. There is a rat in this wood pile. They showed there true colors when the had there Attorney be there voice. These men should "NEVER" be voted in for any office again. Poor Leadership...!

Cliff Cannon

Texas : It was the biggest blunder by an American General ever. he knew the Japanese were coming ( they practically had tee times) and yet he left our air force sit on the ground at Clark Field where it was destroyed in the " second Pearl Harbor "

Worse, the shock of what was happening in the Philippine's led him to retreat ,then hide himself away, giving few orders in the caves of Corregidor which led him to earn the nickname he despised " Dug out Doug" and no doubt caused him to almost suicidally show his 'courage' the rest of his life.

Washington couldn't decide what to do with him. Finally FDR, Marshall & co. got him on a P-T boat for Australia, half hoping he'd be sunk along the way. Yet he made it, for which--- needing hero's ---they gave him the medal of honor for.

From there Douglas MacArthur obviously helped lead the charge to victory in the pacific as well as writ his name large in the annals of American history. Yet, what if we had 'recalled ' him at his low point ? Or what if he been forced to starve like Gen. Wainwright and the other " battling baster ds of Batten " in prison camps ?


Scares me to think of how many brave young Americans would have been lost with out his brilliant tactics. Does it make up for Clark Field ? I think so.

My point is, sometimes we all get lost in the moment and forget the overall record and want to 'recall' gifted leaders, would you agree ? And that seems to this observer to be in large measure what is happening now with our school board, do I have a point ? Hope so.


Of course, Gen. MacArthur, was the whole show who demanded total loyalty amongst his subordinates. So just before the war. His chief of staff for reasons still unclear .Ticked him off royal. So his chief of staff was dispatched to never, never land in army speak--- Ft. Hood Texas.


So the war breaks out and needing an expert on the Philippians Gen . Marshall recalls Mac's fired chief of staff--- Dwight D. Eisenhower from Ft. Hood. The rest as they say is history.

No doubt to me. Our school board will come out of this unsavory ordeal, better wiser more gifted leaders and who knows maybe an 'Eishenhower' will rise from amongst us to join the board in the future.

Great day to you

I_wonder

So you agree with and condone the way it was done? Their own procedure disregarded, Cashen chastising Goodsite for not follow the procedure, and then they vote to hire a person who circumvented the entire process and had his resume submitted past the deadline by the outgoing?

You agree that it is perfectly fine to engage in a very dubious hiring, then hide behind legal counsel when called out about it?

The ends do not justify the means. How could possibly believe a word they say after this? Especially when they come and ask for more money.

Looks like a duck, quacks like a duck, you know the rest. Folger may have been the best choice but how he got the job will always be suspect.

Cliff Cannon

I_wonder : No I do not agree with the way this was handled. First of all I suffer from 'bloggers curse' ( lack of information ) so I can only offer opinions---- not facts.

Here's the first. We all from time to time. Make decision's, than change our minds---- much to the chagrin of our spouses, children, friends, employees', etc. Would you agree ? Yet, that also does not make us bad people, who can't be trusted, does it ? So why should school board members be slandered so viciously because of apparently doing the same thing we all do ?

Then I know teachers are given golden parachutes called " the last lap " or 'final lap' which enables them to draw retirement as well as salary for 1 year,true ? Yet, isn't Dr. Goodsite in her second year of 'last lap' ? ( A retired teacher brought this to my attention) Which supports in my viewpoint, no one on the board has hard feelings towards her,agreed ?

As for the " legal counsel " that saddens me that in todays America. We can not change our mind, disappoint some one, or make many tough decisions with out 'lawyering up' and that is flat out wrong in my viewpoint---yet the way it is,isn't it ? ( Did you see where the head of the chamber of commerce urged a lawsuit ? I think she should resign, what do you think ? )

Bottom line for me: We have 5 very talented men whom I respect running our school board. Even when I disagree with them, I respect them. Further, very few are willing to set in these 'hot seats' of controversy, which leads me to gratitude for those that do.


Finally, a look at results is in order and they collectively run a darn efficient, very good school system, even if they do disagree often. Which leads me to this conclusion: Anyone who thinks they can do better than our board please run,for that is the superior approach as opposed to slandering the 5 men who did run.

I_wonder

Whether they changed their minds or not is not the problem. They willingly and knowingly set aside the procedure that every other applicant had to use and hired Folger. If you recall from previous articles here and the SR, Cashen chastised Goodsite for not following their procedure and then voted to hire Folger (his resume was hand delivered by Doughty after the deadline for application).

This controversy is self created. They won't follow their own procedure in hiring. Why should they be trusted with spending tax payer dollars?

When pressed for answers they lawyer up. If everything was on the up and up and done in accordance to set procedure, why would they need legal counsel?

swiss family

Cliffy.. you really don't get it.. you are as thick as a block of ice.... there is a difference , a BIG difference between talking and criticizing o do it... and them as a person someone's work and the way they do it ESPECIALLY if we have ELECTED them to do it.....why can you NOT understand that... no one here is badmouthing any of the board members on a personal level... no one!!! we are saying that the way that the did the hiring of this spot seem non trustworthy, and since we elected them to represent us.. we need to be able to trust them... and we DON"T!!!!!! please read that several times.. I will not bore you with some crazy stories about Gen MacArthur that have nothing to do with what we are discussing... maybe that is that is the problem?? maybe you are concentrating on trying to find a suitable quote to throw out at us to show how superior you are while you are showing how much you don't understand something so simple as separating liking and disliking what a person does as a joB and the actual person................for everyone.... if you have something to tell them and I hope you do... remember you are your children s voice,, the next board meeting is TUESDAY EVENING SEPTEMBER 9TH 7;30 AT THE HIGH SCHOOL.....

Long Duck Dong's picture
Long Duck Dong

I'm betting they never even did an official background check or drug test on Folger. Who knows what he might be hiding? He should have to take a whiz in a cup just like everyone else as a condition for employment.

I_wonder

I don't think it is anything like that concerning urinalysis. For Doughty to hand Folger's resume to the BOE after the deadline and for certain members of the BOE to accept it reeks of integrity issues. The lack there of that is.

KURTje

See young people? This is the real world . "Educated" people & attitudes.

earlduck

now kurt if you had said small town people who think they are the only ones who have an education have an attitude I might agree

I_wonder

For being educated, they are not very smart are they? It's an insult o every voter and tax payer to circumvent their own procedures to hire Doughty's pal then hide behind legal counsel. Very typical behavior of one man though, wonder if he will be looking down his nose at people now?

swiss family

you know ...it is fine to complain about it on here... but the reality of it is that they expect us to complain about it, and then quiet down about it, and then fall happens and people get caught up in the seasons and then this fades away....BUT we all have the power to change this.. we are their BOSSES after all, they do work for us... they can be fired if they are being deceptive and in my opinion, that is exaactly what they are being..maybe it is time for all of us to hoild our own "Executive session "and all attend the next school board meeting andf DEMAND a special vote , and I know it will be short notice to, find replacements to take their spots, but honestly, we alreaady know that we can NOT trust 3 of the people on the Board right now, so even if we don't have an immediate replacement for them, and have to limp along with the 2 seemingly honest members until we find replacements aren't we better off??? I think we are..It is up to us what happens from here.. if we let this go, and allow them to dictate to us the lies and , deceit that they are displaying to us, then we deserve to be scammed out of our tax money every time they say they tell us they are running out...if we are not part of the solution, then we are part of the problem....WE need to tell THEM that this is NOT alright ... I hope that what "I_wonder is saying is not true.. I really do.. but if it is, then everyone involved needs to show that they have clean hands...They are all there because we TRUST them with our Money and trust them with our Kids..... right now, today, do you still trust them??? if not, lets do something about it,...

swiss family

Bravo Cliff... leave it to you to again be kissing the butts of the local big shots..... you always have you head up the butts of the people that you think can benefit you in some way.. I PITY you, you are so afraid to say what you really feel.. how in the heck can you look at this and honest6ly say that in all f this you can over look the lying and smoke screen that the scho0olo board has creatred, ands the fault lies in a blogger who talks about it?????????? wow you are something else... why is it that the only time you can have an opinion is when it is to kiss someone's butt?? and they have to be up the social and economic ladder than you???? you talk about board members running businesses... uummmm weren't they the family businesses>??? and didn't the family back them and teach them and train them and pretty much have their back the entire time???? I am not saying it is a piece of cake... bur pretty close to it..., wow you are hopeless....

Cliff Cannon

You give me a great idea. First, I have to check with my friend when he get's out of school, to see if I can mention him.

Till then hold this thought form Aesculyus : " It is in the character of few to honor without envy a friend who has prospered "

keystone

Swiss...I agree with you. Everyone should attend the next board meeting and demand the resignation of the 3 amigos. As far as finding replacements for the 3 on short notice, I don't think it would be that difficult.

Some possible names which I'm sure some of you would disagree with are: John Ashmeier who ran for the board last time against Cashen, Janet Broz who should've been reelected the last time who was also against Cashen. There are some other professional people in the community who I'm sure would make a better board member than these 3.

Even if you were to disagree with the names I've thrown out, you have to admit they have a higher integrity than these 3 board members.

The board promised that if we passed the levy there would be no cuts, then they cut the high school and middle school librarian. Does this surprise you? This shows that they can't be trusted to keep their word so this unethical hiring of the interim should not surprise you.

earlduck

I would be interested to know who is the elementary principle that was offered the job then withdrew his application.frankly i don't believe it

keystone

I hope the taxpayers realize that every time Lendrum refers to the lawyer that he is costing the tax payers money. The money the tax payers just gave them in the passing of 5 - 5 will be wasted.

Oh I forgot, the lawyer is doing this as a charity for Norwalk because they are in financial difficulty.

Wait a minute, they don't need a lawyer, Folger has a law degree. He can really earn his $110,000. he can really save the district money, supt and lawyer. What a bargain.

fedup2

Where Cashen goes trouble follows.

swiss family

exactly Keystone... they will be or maybe are dipping into the 5 for 5 money that they finally got the taxpayers to pass, again by sneaking it through on a ballot that they purposely knew that no one would come out to vote on, because it was the only thing to vote for on the ballot, so most people stayed home.... So as seems to be the norm for these School Board members, sneaking it past the voters, when no one is looking , and hoping no one calls you on it. is their game plan... would they tolerate this from the students??? NO.. would they tolerate this from the teachers and staff??? NO... so why would and should we tolerate this from them??? Keep in mind, that the students are also watching what we, the Adults do to handle the situation... do we tolerate being lied to?? do we tolerate having the people we elect "clam up" when we ask questions???I know, I , for one am tired of being. walked on by the so called "people in charge"I am tired of feeling like my vote is so important only until they are elected, but once they become "one of them" they don't care what I think .or say, or want.. they seem to hear me and agree me at the fairgrounds when it is re-election time, and give me a sticker or some other cheap thing, then forget everything they agreed with me on when I am 2 steps away....I might not have too much influence Country wise, or State Representative wise, or County , or city even... I don't even think that I have any say about the School board, What I do know though, is that when something is so blantly wrong, and when people have been caught so obviously up to something, and they seem to spend MY money to fight ME to cover their own behinds.. I can NOT keep quiet bout it, and can NOT let it go... I hope that you can NOT either... it is time for a change...they had no problem changing the "Roster" we should take their example, and change the Roster on the School board as well.. in my opinion... .....................................and to Texas... when Cliff tells you that he has a problem with you writing NOT using your name... he will get your name from his "Buddy".... probably, Joe Centers" the Editor of the newspaper, and then he will use your name or your brother's name in one of his blogs, and then when you get upset he will give you the "All American" BS about how America was built on the "Free Press" and how Ben Franklin intended people to use their names to write editorials... and sooner or later he will apologize... and make it look like he is such a caring person... AFTER he has splashed you identity all over the blog...trust me.. he has done it to several people... myself included...

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