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Mehlville may be poised to take a step backward

Mehlville School District administrators currently are reviewing the district's hiring policies, including the current nepotism policy, and plan to make a recommendation to the Board of Education in February.

Given the current Board of Education's track record, we would be utterly shocked if board members did not approve whatever the administration recommends.

We'd be hard pressed to recall any situation in the recent past in which board members openly disagreed with Superintendent Tim Ricker or a member of his administration.

If we didn't know better, we might think board members and Dr. Ricker had an arrangement in which administrators wouldn't be asked tough questions during an open session of the board. But such an arrangement would be ludicrous as it would call into question a board member's ability to properly perform his or her fiduciary duties involving the stewardship of scarce public resources.

Nonetheless, board members are volunteers and should be commended for their service to the community in what oftentimes is a thankless job.

Along those same lines, though, it is a job that carries tremendous responsibilities, including paying great attention to detail, having a willingness to ask questions in public and being able to analyze the information that the highly paid professionals in charge of the district's day-to-day operations are providing to the board — or not providing to the board.

Given the public nature of the job, board members also should have a fairly thick skin, something a majority of the current board lacks, not to mention most of the current administrators.

Regarding the review of the hiring policies, particularly the nepotism policy, we can't help but believe the current administration most likely will recommend relaxing the current policy, which is appropriately stringent given past practices of the district.

Instead of spending their time and energy on innovative measures to move the district forward, the administration and board may be poised to take a great step backward.

Oh well, we'll be here to report to the public which assistant superintendent's spouse is hired or which prinicpal's son or daughter is hired at the taxpayers' expense.

As with all board and administrative decisions, we're sure that such hirings will be in the best interests of the district's students.

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