Chilliwack trustees continue to debate their responsibilities

Chilliwack board of education approves a new policy on leadership appointments, but not without several amendments and oppositions.

An ongoing dispute amongst Chilliwack trustees regarding how much hiring control they should have doesn’t look like it will be ending anytime soon.

While a new policy on leadership appointments and assignments was passed at last Tuesday’s meeting, it went through several amendments and oppositions, and had one trustee postponing her suggestions to a later date due to the late hour of the debate.

Trustees Heather Maahs, Silvia Dyck, and Martha Wiens all expressed their desires to be in charge of hiring not only the superintendent and secretary treasurer, but of principals and vice principals as well.

However, trustees Louise Piper and Barry Neufeld said principals and vice principals should be hired under the charge of the superintendent, while trustee Doug McKay went a step further stating the board should only hire the superintendent and that all other appointments, including the secretary treasurer, be hired by the superintendent.

“When it comes to hiring these people, I don’t bring any expertise to the table,” said McKay. “I am a lay person, an amateur, and I don’t believe that amateurs should be involved.

“I believe we need to hire the superintendent of schools, and then provide that individual with the freedom and authority to hire his or her team.”

However, Maahs said their credentials come from the community, which has entrusted them to look after the district’s well-being.

And Dyck said the board is abdicating too much of its responsibility onto the superintendent.

“I would suggest to you that we are delegating too much onto one person,” said Dyck. “This is a team that doesn’t want to be a team. We are abdicating too much responsibility.”

McKay, however, fired back calling those statements “backwards thinking.”

“We need to give our superintendent the confidence … to be able to build a team that fits their style,” he said.

The policy that was finally passed has the board in charge of hiring the superintendent.

The board will also select and appoint the secretary treasurer, upon the recommendation of the superintendent. As well, the board will appoint assistant superintendents, directors of instruction, and principals and vice principals, upon the recommendation of the superintendent.

Still, Wiens did not appear satisfied but because of the late hour said she would postpone her comments to a later date.