Hamilton-Wentworth District School Board Trustees choose stability and familiarity for themselves last night with Shirley Glauser to represent Stoney Creek.
Glauser, a well-known and widely involved Ancaster resident, served on the School Board during the 2006-2010 term representing Winona, Glanbrook, and urban Ancaster.
Glauser was one of 21 candidates last night.
Nerves nearly had the better of her as she began speaking and she quickly told the room how she – an experienced former trustee – was “surprisingly” nervous.
It was clear that Trustees were at ease with her; if there body language didn’t give it away, the inside job they had with her did. They had a joke about “editing”, not being an insider, others in the room were left to wonder.
“I haven’t had an interview in a long time,” Glauser spoke when she was done answering the questions.
Her interview did not stand out compare to others; falling into the above average category.
The Choice – Steady-hand or New Face?
By-election or Board appointment are the two options to fill a vacancy mid-term. The cost of a by-election (in the tens of thousands) must be borne by the School Board; making it prohibitive. This leaves appointment of a representative for people who don’t get to vote.
Choosing a new person from within the geographical community bestows the advantage of incumbency; in effect creating an impression of favouritism during the next election. Having a local representative increases legitimacy.
This person must learn how the Board works, get caught up on policy briefings, and absorb the institutional memory before they become fully engaged as one of eleven trustees.
The other, and more commonly favoured, option is to choose a steady-hand to care-take the ward and be more fully involved in Trustee activities; and not seek election in the next cycle.
This is the route the HWDSB choose; but not without the “new-face” choice placing in third in Nerene Virgin.
Jeff Reynolds, the current chair of the system-wide Parent Involvement Committee, and Shirley Glauser had one big difference between them: their relationship with trustees.
Reynolds is presently involved and could be on the job without any refresher training. Glauser will need briefings first.
Reynolds has a good relationship with the trustees; but they don’t know how he would fit with them as a trustee.
Glauser is one of them; she is a trustee who just happened – to use a sports analogy – to be sitting on the bench. A call to the bullpen or a call to the farm team. The bullpen pitcher may not have the arm of the AAA pitcher, but the coach know exactly what they are getting.
The Board choose guaranteed stability for the Trustees knowing that Glauser will provide the constituent needed in Stoney Creek.
Postscript – on the new student trustees
The student trustees for 2013/13, Carly Van Egdom and Pilip Susic, started their term last night. Within moments of sitting down, they found their legitimacy the topic as Trustee candidate Awish Aslam questioned the effectiveness of the position.
Aslam, a recent Glendale graduate, said as a student she didn’t know who the student trustees were as they are not elected by the students directly. She said the Board needs an effective student voice and she could provide some of that perspective. Aslam’s viewpoint is not uncommon.
Both Van Egdom and Susic sat listening to this and did not some any negative reaction. Throughout the long meeting, both were attentive and taking notes.
A new good first impression, it should be interesting to see how they perform in the coming months. Never have the student trustees started their term with criticism.
Postscript – the other candidates
Awish Aslam is passionate and actively involved. Watch for her, especially in East Hamilton, upon graduation from UWO.
Ralph Baigent is an involved parent with a child at Collegiate Elementary. He provide a very good first impression and, if trustees were looking for a new face, he could’ve been it.
Stewart Beattie, part of the first-couple of Winona, will be running a campaign in 2014. It’s in his blood. He successfully ran Brenda Johnson’s campaign in 2010. I see him as someone who likes a challenge and expect he’ll be on a more challenging campaign in ’14.
Chris Erl, I’m watched Erl for many years having met him when it volunteered at the McMaster student newspaper before he became involved in student politics. He is planning to run for City Councillor in 2014 and showed strong gravitas in Council Chambers. Watch for him next year.
Tyler McNeil is another candidate who stood out. With a young family on Hamilton Mountain in Ward 7, he will hopefully get involved in citizen committees or run in 2014.
Caroline Braganza-Ryes provided good answers to trustee questions. She says she submitted a cover letter that was not part of the agenda package.
Onward to 2014.