Thursday, March 15, 2018

HoCo Board of Education: Grading the Candidate Questionnaires (Part Three)

Two more for now...

10.  Danny Mackey.  A-.  Full disclosure: I tend to be a bit more skeptical when it comes to younger candidates, those in college or, in the case of Mr. Mackey, recent college graduates.  While I would like to believe that I am not segueing into curmudgeon status prematurely, I do wonder about the breadth of life experiences of those who are, say, 25 or younger.  Yes, I know that many of our Founders were very active in public affairs at relatively young ages, but I digress.  Anyway, I am lampshading a potential bias so it’s out there.  Now get off my lawn.

End of digression.  His responses were, on the whole, thoughtful and clearly articulated. Sort of a Taj-light vibe to it, with the “health” priority being a connecting thread between the two questionnaires.  For voters who want to understand how a candidate’s background links up to motivations, philosophies, and priorities, that information is present.  There is generally a fine line between offering up that kind of personal information and being too self-referential, too inward-looking.  Mackey’s response is effective insofar as his narrative is presented in furtherance of issues and outcomes relevant to voters. His reply on equity, Question 6, has a bit of heart to it, you get a sense of authenticity in his response. Speaking cynically for a moment, voters eat that real-deal stuff up.  For voters who prefer to consume written information, this questionnaire would make for a very effective introduction to Mr. Mackey.

11. Saif Rehman.  B.  Second full disclosure…C-suite candidates.  Generalizing very broadly, a disproportionate number of successful business executives who run for public office love to talk about their leadership abilities. These skills don’t always translate when applied to holding elective offices, especially on highly collaborative (and *relatively* non-hierarchical) bodies such as boards of education.  So I will admit to a Robert Downey Jr. eyeroll when I came across the first, and second, mentions of “leadership.”   I think he banged the drum too loudly and for an extended duration on that theme on the “budgeting and finance” section (Question 4).  So you will “lead” the discussion…despite the fact that you would be newly elected to the Board, if elected, and that many other stakeholders will want to play significant roles in such fairness, he does get to a “listening” message shortly thereafter, but he comes across extremely self-confident, that works with some voters, not so much with others.  His specific reflections on equity (Question 6) show a more thoughtful, outward-focused candidate… which reads MUCH better.  He also does well when connecting the heightened security risks involved with “trailers.” Given his professional background, I would like to see more of his thoughts on the effective integration of technology in the classrooms…and how he plans on squaring that with the need of “righting our fiscal ship.”  I darn near give him a B- but some of his better responses revealed a thoughtful candidate who has spent some time mulling over how to address certain challenges. For that, his questionnaire deserves a B.

OK, on to lunch.  This will be a Four-Part Post.

In solidarity.

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