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Were MV’s summer workers hired properly?

The Monitor has heard from numerous readers about a recent story on hiring in the Merrimack Valley School District. Here’s a sampling:

Questions for MV

Hiring relatives as temporary employees in the Merrimack Valley School District may be only a small part of the district’s problems. Is there nepotism? Conflicts of interest with some school board members voting on budgets, employee benefits and amendments at the annual school meeting while a relative works for the district? Why did the school board start letting children go to school where the parents requested and now the situation is out of hand? People in the school district need to wake up! I will not stop until I find answers to all my questions.

LOUISE ANDRUS

Salisbury

No news here

Re “9 relatives hired for unposted jobs” (Monitor front page, Aug. 16):

I cannot believe this is a story on the front page. I am tired of a small group of people attacking the Merrimack Valley School District and saying it is to protect the taxpayers. I am a taxpayer, and there is nothing wrong with hiring summer workers and not advertising the jobs. It has been done for years in all types of businesses.

I worked for Concord Group Insurance for two summers during high school. The job wasn’t posted; my grandfather was the former president, so they gave me a job. My husband worked for the state for a summer in the mail room. How did he get the job? His mother worked for the state.

Hiring former and current students is not a conspiracy to defraud taxpayers; it is a way to help past and present students. In the Monitor article four (unposted) jobs in the transportation department are mentioned. They must be great jobs because they were given to relatives – and this being a conspiracy to hide things from taxpayers, they must be amazing. Would everyone like to know the great secret? These four jobs are cleaning and detailing the buses. When it was looked into, it was found that it is cheaper for the district to hire students to clean the buses instead of contracting a company to do the same thing.

Maybe the small group of people always looking for what the district might be doing wrong should start looking at what is being done right.

KRISTEN JOHN

Boscawen

In MV, a lack of transparency

Re “9 relatives hired for unposted jobs” (Monitor front page, Aug. 16):

I’m a bit surprised at Merrimack Valley School Board Chairman Tom Godfrey’s being unaware that the workers hired had relatives in the district. Besides the nine hired for these temporary positions, there are many employees related to employees in administration and at least three related to school board members, one being Godfrey.

In Godfrey’s response to one of the requests for information, he stated that “in furtherance of transparency” he was providing the information requested. But at the Aug. 12 school board meeting Godfrey announced that the board would not be discussing these requests for information in the public meeting, even though it was on their agenda for that evening. Godfrey said that instead the board would discuss this issue in a nonpublic meeting. To date, these requests for information have not been discussed in a public meeting. There may be some “Right to Know” issues here.

Godfrey has talked about transparency, but after he became chairman of the school board, he announced that the board would no longer answer questions or have discussions with the audience during its public meetings. Godfrey has also talked about being a “good” chairman. A person does not become a good member by talking about transparency or talking about ethics. A person does not become a good member by reading books on being a good member.

Finally, some could perceive Godfrey’s comments about filling these positions with only students from Merrimack Valley as being discriminatory.

KEN ROSS-RAYMOND

Salisbury

(The writer is chairman of the Salisbury Board of Selectmen.)

Legacy Comments10

Another example of how our schools believe they need to fulfill the role of parenting. Last time I checked, getting a job required students to actually apply, learn how to write a resume, and go on an interview to practice their skills for future work in their lives. A learning experience about applying for work. When you hand things over to teens, they do not earn anything, or learn how to get anything on their own. The motto seems to be, "Life is Hard, lets make things easier for our kids".

This is the same liberal union group that has entered the dangerous International Baccalaureate (IB) into the classrooms

Yup, obviously they are intent on doing what they want and the heck with the folks who pay their salaries. And folks wonder why home schooling is on the rise and folks want choice in regards to their kids educations.

Lets go over a hypothetical scenario where MV actually did advertise for the temporary custodial jobs... MV skims through all of the identical, uninspiring resumes; "I've used a mop, before", "I've mopped for 3 years". They are about to resort to "Eeny, meeny, miny, moe", when they read a resume mentioning, "My aunt is a teacher at MV". Their hearts begin to warm, a sigh of relief occurs, they've found a reason to actually choose one resume over the others. The relative is hired! The end.

I totally respect Kristen John's opinion but looking at a list of district employees, a Kristen John's name is listed. Is this the same person? There are a number of good things going on in the Merrimack Valley School district, but I do believe there are some issues that need correcting by the taxpayers of the district. If a person really wants to listen there is more than a "small group" in all the towns that are unhappy with different issues. These people just don't know what to do.

I agree with the writer that talks about hiring students to clean the buses for less than it might otherwise cost. But I think the issue here is about giving "ALL" of the students the opportunity to apply for these jobs and not just relatives of employees.

This is just one of many examples of unethical, and possibly illegal, actions taken by officials in the Merrimack Valley School District. It's interesting that anyone would defend it.

I dunno Ayn. I would just "shrug" it off. Unless you're a "fountainhead" of information about the details of these hirings that I'm not privy to.

Sounds like Hunter_Dan might be an insider. If so, you probably are privy to the details. If so, shame on you.

No I'm not an "insider" - they would be Ben and Keith. I was a member of the Board of Contributors for a couple years though.

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