"I'm just going to come out and say it — the 'good ole' boy' system, it's alive and well in Bossier Parish."
That's a quote in The Times this morning from Bossier Parish School Board member William Kostelka. He goes on to say "We haven't done this much, and we can't do this behind closed doors, we have to come out and do this in the public . . . I'm not in favor of us hiring a head hunter, but I'd like to see what else is out there, I know you all hear that all the time, but if we don't open it up we're doing a disservice to the taxpayers, and we don't want to send the message that we're doing what we've always done."
Mr. Kostelka and board member Tammy Smith get it right, as do most residents of the parish.
Other board members, however, seem afraid of meaningful change.
Board member J.W. Slack said the district might be sending the wrong message to current employees if someone from outside the parish is hired to do the job.
Then again, that might send just the right message.
"There's one person to me that's stood out and it's (assistant superintendent) D.C. Machen," board member Mike Mosura said. "He's never been afraid to look me in the eye and he's the man that's been in the system for more years than I've been alive. He knows so much about the system and the parish."
And therein lies the problem. The system has become stagnant from years of the good old boy system that Mr. Kostelka so aptly described.
Aggressive new administration is needed to establish procedures and policies that will ensure that every penny is properly accounted for. The board must also tighten up its screening policies on outside contractors.
Any conflict of interest between school board employees, conract or otherwise, must be addressed.
The next school board meeting will be held on Thursday, February 19th. We will post a notice of the time and location early next week.
Please plan to attend and let your feelings be known.
In the meantime, contact your school board member and tell them what you think. Their phone numbers and email addresses are listed here.