That saying, “you can’t please all the people all the time”, comes to mind lately. For too long, we felt that former Superintendent Foose and the former Board of Education were not pleasing most the people most of the time. Thus, Board Members were replaced in the 2016 election, which was followed by the negotiated removal of Dr. Foose. There are concerns and questions about the present Board’s decision to hire the acting, now interim Superintendent Martirano. I do not understand these concerns about having someone in place quickly; after all, even though it was being attempted for months, there was no real surety that Dr. Foose would reach an agreement to leave, or when. The Board did not have the authority to terminate her, even FOR cause, which many people still don’t realize. The former Board gave Dr. Foose a very difficult contract to terminate, which tied the hands of the current Board.
So, an agreement was reached, and within one week things got moving in a better direction. Within days, the Governor and Comptroller (and Board of Public Works) gave Howard County back almost $10 million that they had withheld, and I believe that happened because of Dr. Foose’s departure. Although “paying off” Dr. Foose was an irksome, but necessary decision; the HCPSS experienced a large net gain from it, immediately.
Those people claiming that Dr. Martirano wasn’t hired with transparency need to understand that the Board cannot vet someone publicly to replace someone who may or may not be going, especially with a lawsuit pending. The law requires start dates of July 1st on a new contract, and so there wasn’t enough time to do a search for a new Superintendent. Personally, over this next year, I am hopeful that we will see Dr. Martriano as a blessing, and that his work will clearly indicate he should be requested to remain. It makes no sense to spend more money on searching for someone “better” if we have someone who can do this job well, and we have the time to figure that out for sure. From what I have seen so far, he is reaching out quite a bit, and trying to hear from all parties on any concerns, and wants to improve the HCPSS’s relationship both with the community and internally. I have personally witnessed the sigh of relief that is palpably felt in the BOE building. Morale has already improved, according to many I know who work in the System.
I have heard a lot of good things about Dr. Martirano from those with whom he worked in Laurel. The man deserves a chance, as he is doing the right things so far. As for his contract, the market rate for the job is what it is, and it is less than Dr. Foose was making, but I do believe there should be clauses agreeing to termination scenarios. For now, let’s give this man, who seems to be trying very hard to get things back on track, a chance to do so.