School Board Interviewing Superintendent Candidates This Weekend
Walsh: downtown Oswego venue chosen for comfort, confidentiality.
The meetings will be held at 123 Washington St. in the Parkview Suite located above Tap House Grill. Public comment will be accepted before each closed session. Friday’s meeting will start at 6:45 p.m. and Saturday’s at 7:45 a.m. Another meeting will be held Monday, but a time has yet to be determined, said Board President Bill Walsh.
Over recent months, the board has been holding closed interview sessions at either the community room at Oswego East High School or at the District Administrative Center, which is connected to East View Elementary School. Walsh said the change of venue was out of respect for the candidates.
“It’s my understanding that this facility was used previously when Dr. O’Donnell was hired,” he said. “The reason we are using that venue is that it’s a very comfortable and confidential setting for the candidates, and at this point in the process, the candidates appreciate a level of confidentiality.”
Walsh would not reveal the number of candidates that were brought forth by the district’s search firm, Ray and Associates. However, he said that information will be available further along in the process.
Asked if community stakeholder groups will have an opportunity to meet with a field of narrowed candidates after the initial interviews, Walsh said the board has yet to make that determination.
“We will follow a process that will be beneficial for the district in identifying a qualified candidate,” he said.
Gary Ray, president of Ray and Associates, said presenting final candidates to the public before a final decision is done on a case-by-case basis. The later in the year a search is completed the less likely it is that candidates will want their names made public.
“I think the board will want to go through the first round and see who the candidates are,” Ray said. “It really depends on the time of year. This late in the year candidates are more concerned about losing their job back home if it’s discovered that they’re out looking for other work.”
Walsh said all upcoming closed sessions will be tape recorded. Kendall County State’s Attorney Eric Weis currently is investigating violations of the Open Meetings Act in which the board failed to tape record five closed session meetings from April. Walsh has said those failures were due to human error.
“We believe safeguards are in place that the meetings will be taped per the Open Meetings Act,” Walsh said.
Weis’ office contacted the board for information regarding the violations this week, and Walsh said Weis will receive that information in the coming days. The violations first were reported by a member of the board May 2. The board formally reported the incidents to Weis two days later.