Still a lot of unanimous board votes

Published December 13, 2011 by justicewg

In case you have not been paying attention to the school board for the last 10 years or so, we have an unusual amount of unanimous votes in the board meetings. I can’t find any local board or city council that has the record of Grandview’s rubber stamp crew.

The short version of what is wrong with unanimous votes – engaged, thoughtful board members don’t always agree. If they always vote the same, you have two possibilities, either there is back channel discussion going on outside meetings that is not supposed to happen, or members are sitting like lumps, taking their paychecks for meetings without doing any work.

I was looking through the recent meeting notes of the school board and tried to find when they had a split vote. I knew about the brief rebellion by Mrs. Peters back in 2007 during the “drinking bystander rule” changes to student conduct policy. She also had an unexplained no vote on Motion 09-121 (Dec 8, 2009), something about calendars or possibly a field trip. Clifford had a no vote in July 2010 over a change to Kindergarten entrance age.

The award for “funny guy” (a rare occurrence during the humorless plodding of school board meetings) has to be given to former board member Heydinger. In Dec. of 2008, for the first time in the entire history of his seat on the board, Gary Heydinger votes no while the other members vote yes. The vote – accepting the resignation of Suzanne McLeod. What makes the joke is that McLeod had been the chief proponent of the “always unanimous” tactics of the board.

Not counting the joke vote, there have been no more than three or four split votes in the past 10 years of board voting. I’m working on a post for the “why?”, suffice it to say the groupthink is strong in these people. I’m on pins and needles waiting for Adam Miller to take his seat.

(Update) Policy Governance is the name of the belief system that has allowed the board to work outside the board meetings and present an always unanimous face to the public. Read what I said about P.G in 2015.

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