Letter: Who’s In Charge of Lebanon Schools?

To the Editor:

Who’s in charge at the Lebanon School District — the superintendent or the business manager? Sounds like Business Manager Jim Fenn is, or at least thinks he is. That does not surprise me after working as a custodian for 11 years. This would not be the first time Fenn has inserted himself in areas and personnel decisions not in his purview. Reading Jim Kenyon’s column in the Nov. 11 Sunday Valley News reminded me of the incident with the Valley News reporter several years ago. Fenn’s arrogant attitude and use of four-letter words that day would have been sufficient grounds for dismissal for most people at that management level. But not Fenn. Where is the superintendent and the School Board? Who is in charge?

The management structure needs to be changed. The business manager oversees the facilities operation through the facilities manager. This needs to be changed so the facilities manager reports directly to the superintendent. This has been my opinion since serving on the School Board. The last superintendent I discussed this with expressed concern that such a change would elevate the facilities manager position to one equal with other administrators with equal pay. But this also would bring full responsibility to the position, and the facilities manager would be answerable directly to the superintendent, resulting in a more desirable and efficient management structure. This would also would serve to attract people with higher skills.

It’s time for the School Board to direct the superintendent to evaluate the SAU administrative structure and recommend changes. This process will have positive results as it will also demonstrate where changes in areas of responsibility within the structure need to be made.

Raymond Hood