Request for Tom Long - 2011-05-17

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Geo

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May 17, 2011, 1:18:29 PM5/17/11
to HarmonyFL
Tom, I left you two voice messages since about 11pm last night. This
is the first time in my experience that you have not quickly returned
my phone calls. I would imagine that perhaps you are being inundated
by phones calls today.

As you know, you selected me as one of 14 superintendent search
committee members. You must also know that I spent at least 100
volunteer hours at your behest and on behalf of the citizens of
Osceola County.

I would appreciate a full explanation of what, in my opinion, was a
travesty that occurred at this morning's school board meeting. Please
explain it from your perspective.

What you did and what the other board members did this morning was
wrong and it was based on false information.

I think you owe me and everyone else reading this a detailed report of
why you so easily dismissed Roberta Selleck and the other highly
qualified superintendent candidates. Please let us know at least an
hour before tonight's meeting, if at all possible.

Here is a link to videos of Osceola School Board meetings:

http://osceolacountyschoolfl.iqm2.com/Citizens/

Click the top link for the most recent meeting.

I now plead with everyone reading this. Please be at tonight's meeting
at 5:30pm. It is my understanding that what we heard from the school
board this morning is not fixed in stone.

Tom please confirm that the board will officially vote tonight on
whether or not the 5 candidates selected by the committee will be
discarded (as was implied at this morning's meeting).

Tonight's meeting will be at the usual location:

5/17/2010
5:30pm

817 Bill Beck Blvd.
Kissimmee, FL 34744

Phone: 407-870-4600

Google Map: http://tinyurl.com/3rfhy52

PLEASE BE THERE!

Please tell your school board that you want what's best for your
children, not what's easy for your school board.

Tell them to hold off on this vote. DO NOT VOTE.

The superintendent candidate vote must be postponed since at least one
of the facts voiced at this morning's meeting was patently false.

wallsr

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May 17, 2011, 1:45:27 PM5/17/11
to harm...@googlegroups.com
George,

What action might the school board take this evening? I'm currently
attending a conference and won't be able to make it to the board meeting
this evening, but will certainly voice my opinion via email if warranted.

Thanks for the info.

Ray Walls

Geo

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May 17, 2011, 8:03:13 PM5/17/11
to harm...@googlegroups.com
I am sorry that I could not respond earlier Ray.

The action that the school board could have taken was not taken. They could
have postponed their decision a few days given that new facts have come to
light.

The board failed to even consider the new facts. They refused to hear
anything new. IMHO, they have collectively failed miserably to do there due
diligence. But of course, that is just my opinion.

I am sure that Tom Long will fully explain his position to us and respond to
the questions that result. Tom?

cfl...@aol.com

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May 18, 2011, 4:50:11 AM5/18/11
to harm...@googlegroups.com
George, Sorry I could not return your call or this email an hour before yesterday's school board meeting.  I was at the district all day, from 9am until almost 9pm.  I recognized your efforts in this search, as well as the efforts of all the committee members, and have stated so.  We also spoke over the phone regarding my opinion of the bulk of the applicants, without ever offering a name.  We both agreed that only two stood out from the rest.  After the vote Monday evening, at least a third of the committee agreed that only 3 had risen above the rest.  Yet, the committee felt compelled to produce five names.
 
The committee rated Roberta Selleck the lowest by five votes less (of 14) than the top three applicants.  My applicant screening style is different than yours.  There are many individuals that have different opinions regarding Dr. Selleck within the committee.  I heard members say, she's "not a good administrator", "a major change candidate" and "a risky candidate," are but a few.  There are many in Denver that feel the same way. 
 
There is no way any school board member can please everyone and no matter what we collectively did, there would be those that would disagree.  A full explaination of my actions and thought process are available on the archived video's of yesterday's meetings.  The majority of the sellection committee and Dr. Blanton have recognized where the decision is made.  I did not take the decision lightly and am confident the board made the right choice.
 
Thank You
 
Tom Long 

Geo

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May 18, 2011, 5:13:49 AM5/18/11
to harm...@googlegroups.com
Tom, first thank you for responding. I know that you are busy. Thank you also for being available so early in the morning (it's now a little after 5am).
 
I must honestly say that this is the very first time that I have gotten the impression that you are responding like a politician rather than like a friend committed to addressing the issue that I am so concerned about. I fully acknowledge that this could just be my impression, but I would hope that after you asked me to represent you on the committee and then after I spent more than 100 hours doing so and then after I was recognized several times by my peers (as well as by Dr. Blanton) for going well above and beyond the call or duty as an unpaid volunteer on this project, that you would show a little more concern for the concerns that I am now voicing.
 
Can you understand why I might be very concerned under these circumstances Tom?
 
 
-----Original Message-----
From: harm...@googlegroups.com [mailto:harm...@googlegroups.com]On Behalf Of cfl...@aol.com
Sent: Wednesday, May 18, 2011 4:50 AM
To: harm...@googlegroups.com

Geo

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May 18, 2011, 6:56:39 AM5/18/11
to harm...@googlegroups.com
Well my previous question was not meant to be rhetorical Tom. It's been
about an hour an a half since my previous post (long before the sun came up
this morning). It's now a little before 7am.

The questions that follow are definitely not rhetorical. Please respond at
your earliest convenience.

As you know Tom, and as I actually told Jay Polachek (your other committee
nominee) during at least one meeting, besides selecting an outstanding
superintendent candidate for Osceola County, my goal was also to fully
document the selection process itself for the benefit of future selection
processes. That is why I recorded the meetings (or at least tried to) even
after the committee majority decided to hold the superintendent search
committee meetings in secret. That is also why I have published volumes and
volumes of materials online related to the entire process. That is why I
have openly accepted feedback from any citizens during this process. That is
why I audio recorded all nine candidate interviews which will be made public
soon (hopefully no later than tomorrow). That is also why I have not
hesitated to answer any questions from anyone about this process for the
purpose of demonstrating that we need not fear the Florida Sunshine Law nor
use it as an excuse to be unresponsive.

As part of my continuing effort to document the superintendent candidate
selection process, I would appreciate your cooperation in getting at what
actually happened that lead you to your final decision not to meet with any
of the candidates selected by the committee that you helped to appoint.

I hope that you can agree that it would be very helpful for future reference
for you to provide us with as much insight into this process as possible
considering that the selection of a superintendent is the single most
important responsibility that you were hired / elected to fulfill.

Will you do all that you can to help us better understand what really
happened with this superintendent selection process Tom?

Geo

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May 19, 2011, 8:30:23 AM5/19/11
to gg
Tom Long called me on the phone at about 9:30 yesterday morning and said
that he is swamped at the moment. He said that he should be able to respond
in a comprehensive way by Sunday. Be sure to correct me if I misunderstood
you Tom.

In the mean time, I will respond to your previous post and pose several more
questions.

Tom wrote:

Sorry I could not return your call or this email an
hour before yesterday's school board meeting. I was at
the district all day, from 9am until almost 9pm.

Actually, my first phone call to you was just before 11pm on Monday the
16th. Since you are obviously an early bird, I would have expected a return
call before your meetings on Tuesday morning.

Tom wrote:

We both agreed that only two stood out from the rest.

That is not my recollection. I think you may have thought that only two
stood out, but I really liked three and I am pretty sure I said that to you
(and no, I don't think I gave you the list):

1. Dr. Roberta Selleck
2. Dr. Jim Browder
3. Dr. Karyle Green

My top three did not match the top three of the committee majority (we had
only Dr. Browder in common).

Here's an email that I sent to each other board member yesterday as well as
search committee member Jay Polachek:

Hello,

I am trying to fully document the superintendent search
process from the search committee through the school
board itself. I have already completed most of the
documentation of the search committee's efforts.

I have found that using a single concrete example and
following it all the way through is most illuminating.
As I am sure you could guess, I am using the case of
Dr. Roberta Selleck as the example. I am sure that we
would get similar results following any of the other
candidates in the same fashion.

Could you please provide me with all of the information
that you used during your investigation of Dr. Selleck?
What were your sources? What references did you use
(ie. personal or web links). Who did you speak to on
the phone?

Any assistance that you can offer with this would be
greatly appreciated.

My hope is that your feedback will help improve the
process for next time.

Thanks!

'Geo

Actually the email sent to Jay Polachek also asked for the date and time
that he attempted to call Dr. Selleck, since Jay said during Monday's
committee meeting that he made the attempt to call her yet he never heard
back.

Tom, please also respond to the above request sent to everyone else as well.

cfl...@aol.com

unread,
May 22, 2011, 6:46:20 PM5/22/11
to harm...@googlegroups.com
George, While you are correct in assuming I am an early riser, I did not make the same assumption of you and would never call anyone after 9pm or before 9am.  Besides, I was making final preparations for the 9AM workshop. 
 
There is little to be gained in continuing a lengthy debate, then publishing to the world information as to why an individual was not selected.  It may hinder their ability to find gainful employment elsewhere. 
 
I strongly suggest that you do not publish the reasons you rejected 23 individual  applicants or the negative comments made by other selection committee members regarding Roberta Selleck or any candidate.  
 
My public comments can be viewed here:      
        
 
Video (Windows Media)  May 17 The School District of Osceola County, Florida - Special Board Meeting
Video (Windows Media)  May 17
The School District of Osceola County, Florida - Workshop
 
You may wish to allow the Gazette opinion on this thread:  Move may work
 
In spite of your personal argument with Mr. Mercer, he partially agrees with you.  You could allow this on the thread:  School Board breaks its promise
 
I recognize your commitment to improve education.  Your passion for detail is evident at the May 17 board meeting, in which you spoke well over the three minute time limit.  The letter of recommendation you read was the same that you read into the record of the selection committee meeting and was heard by three board members that attended.  Less than half of the selection committee voted for this individual.  
   
Many of the selection committee members, including yourself, did not think there were five qualified candidates.  Most thought, as you, there was three, but they felt compelled to send us five.  Jay Polachek refused to vote because he felt none of the candidates equaled what we have in Mr. Andrews. 
 
More than one reader of your googlegroup contacted me to say "the Board did exactly what you should have done,"  and "I think you were correct in your decision(s) and simply watching ( and listening to ) the proceeding of the workshop completely explain your stance."

The selection committee chair, vice chair and many members are satisfied with our decision.  Robert Bass said Wednesday morning that he felt there was only one possible candidate.  He also told me that the board made the best decision under the circumstances.  No individual selection committee member ever lobbied me to hire their top pick.
 
What is important now is to focus our attention on improving the education of our children.  The best way to bring about that success, is for the board to stop the public personal attacks and for the citizens to join the board and district employees in supporting Mr. Andrews. 
 
If you have questions or concerns regarding future matters, please don't hesitate to contact me.
 
 
Tom Long
  
-----Original Message-----
From: Geo <IIDIMG...@spammotel.com>

Geo

unread,
May 22, 2011, 9:08:58 PM5/22/11
to harm...@googlegroups.com
Tom, I think that this discussion is so important that it should be handled
similar to how the discussion of "Saving Harmony's Fire Station" has been
handled with Fred Hawkins.

I will prefix all questions for you with "TLQ#)" where the "#" is replaced
by a number. That way we can more easily reference open questions later.

Tom wrote:

There is little to be gained in continuing a lengthy
debate, then publishing to the world information as to
why an individual was not selected. It may hinder
their ability to find gainful employment elsewhere.

Perhaps you should speak to the candidates themselves about this Tom. I
have. I think that they will tell you that having several people on the
committee as well as most of the school board using google hearsay as their
primary evaluation tool and then making public allegations based on that
same googling is what may hinder their job prospects, not us talking about
it after-the-fact.

The problem is not transparency. The problem is lazy researchers, IMHO.

Other school boards who use similar techniques that I believe was used by
this school board will likely dismiss these highly qualified candidates like
our school board did, and that is true even if none of us had ever made a
peep about it.

The benefit of a lengthy debate is clear Tom. Perhaps we will arrive at
answers to several important questions. What is the true nature of the
superintendent search process that was just completed in Osceola County? Was
it handled properly? Was proper due diligence applied? Were these
professionals who first applied for the job and then who spent several hours
responding to our questions treated fairly? Were the citizens, parents and
students of Osceola County well served by the process and the results?

The above questions are all rhetorical for now, but hopefully we will have a
better understanding of them when we are finished with this discussion.

I sincerely hope that you are not now saying that you are unwilling to
participate in such an important debate Tom.

Tom wrote:

My public comments can be viewed here:

Yes Tom, we can spend hours watching the videos, but none of that time will
result in our understanding of the methodology that you and the other school
board members used to arrive at your comments and conclusions. That's what
this is all about.

We as citizens of Osceola County need to understand how our elected
officials are doing their jobs. We need to know what steps were involved
with these very important decisions that were made.

TLQ1) Will you help us understand your method of evaluating these candidates
Tom?

Tom wrote:

In spite of your personal argument with Mr. Mercer, he
partially agrees with you. You could allow this on the
thread: School Board breaks its promise

I'm not sure why you felt the need to point out that Mr. Mercer and I had a
"personal argument". When you make such a point it is only fair to also
mention the context of your point.

Mr. Mercer and I disagreed about transparency (ie. whether or not I should
publish the interviews I had with the candidates even though each and every
candidate with a published interview gave me permission to do so), not about
what you and I are now discussing Tom. Since I made a recording of the
meeting in question, my claim can be verified. I don't understand why you
think that your point is relevant in this context.

You also stated that "he partially agrees with you". This is not true at all
Tom. I spoke to Mr. Mercer myself yesterday to personally thank him for the
op-ed piece he wrote in the Gazette. I think he will confirm that we are
both in full agreement on the failure of the superintendent search process.
Mr. Mercer and I both agree 100% on this, not partially. Please ask him
yourself and let us know what he says.

Tom wrote:

Less than half of the selection committee voted for
this individual.

TLQ2) Why do you suppose that fewer than half of the selection committee
members voted for Dr. Selleck?

Tom wrote:

Many of the selection committee members, including
yourself, did not think there were five qualified
candidates.

This is not correct Tom. While I did have a top three, I also felt that all
five of the candidates selected by the committee where highly qualified.
Please read my comments in the meeting minutes again. I even made it clear
that a sixth candidate, Karyle Green, was also qualified.

Tom wrote:

Jay Polachek refused to vote because he felt none of
the candidates equaled what we have in Mr. Andrews.

Check the record Tom. Jay was alone in his view. In fact, I was so surprised
by Jay's judgement that I used the same word used by Atlee Mercer in his
Gazette article during the meeting when Jay first expressed that opinion
publicly: "bizarre". I am sorry that Jay took offense to my remark (which
did not appear in the minutes, though I wish it did).

Here's what is in the meeting minutes Tom:

Mr. Polachek voiced his concern that none of the nine
candidates in his opinion were better than the person
filling the Interim Superintendent position currently.
As such, he said that he was going to abstain from
casting his votes for the top five candidates.

Jay said that "none of the nine candidates in his opinion were better than
the person filling the Interim Superintendent position currently". IMHO,
"bizarre" is the only way to describe the result of doing proper research on
these candidates and reaching such a conclusion. Atlee Mercer would agree
with this. It seems to me that the only explanation is improper research.
That is the point of all this and hopefully we will know for sure soon.

Tom wrote:

No individual selection committee member ever lobbied
me to hire their top pick.

TLQ3) Do you feel that it was the responsibility of committee members to
lobby you?

TLQ4) How many committee members did you personally call or email for their
opinions of the candidates?

Tom wrote:

What is important now is to focus our attention on
improving the education of our children. The best way
to bring about that success, is for the board to stop
the public personal attacks and for the citizens to
join the board and district employees in supporting Mr.
Andrews.

Yes, it is important to focus our attention on improving the education of
our children. That should always be our main focus. But that is not our only
focus Tom. We must also focus on the process of selecting a superintendent
and learn if the process is broken and if perhaps it needs to be fixed.

TLQ5) Do you agree that your single most important responsibility as an
elected school board member is the proper selection of the best
superintendent available for our children?

Tom wrote:

If you have questions or concerns regarding future
matters, please don't hesitate to contact me.

The phrase "questions or concerns regarding future matters" seems to imply
that you are done answering questions about this important matter Tom. I
sincerely hope that this is not the case.

Please let us know when you think you can respond to these questions Tom.


-----Original Message-----
From: harm...@googlegroups.com [mailto:harm...@googlegroups.com]On

Behalf Of cfl...@aol.com
Sent: Sunday, May 22, 2011 6:46 PM
To: harm...@googlegroups.com

Subject: Re: [HarmonyFL:1072] RE: Request for Tom Long - 2011-05-17


George, While you are correct in assuming I am an early riser, I did not
make the same assumption of you and would never call anyone after 9pm or
before 9am. Besides, I was making final preparations for the 9AM workshop.

There is little to be gained in continuing a lengthy debate, then publishing
to the world information as to why an individual was not selected. It may
hinder their ability to find gainful employment elsewhere.

I strongly suggest that you do not publish the reasons you rejected 23
individual applicants or the negative comments made by other selection
committee members regarding Roberta Selleck or any candidate.

My public comments can be viewed here:


May 17The School District of Osceola County, Florida - Special Board
Meeting

May 17The School District of Osceola County, Florida - Workshop

Geo

unread,
May 26, 2011, 9:38:03 PM5/26/11
to harm...@googlegroups.com
Here are the open questions again Tom:

TLQ1) Will you help us understand your method of
evaluating these candidates Tom?

TLQ2) Why do you suppose that fewer than half of the


selection committee members voted for Dr. Selleck?

TLQ3) Do you feel that it was the responsibility of


committee members to lobby you?

TLQ4) How many committee members did you personally
call or email for their opinions of the candidates?

TLQ5) Do you agree that your single most important


responsibility as an elected school board member is the
proper selection of the best superintendent available
for our children?

Can you answer these questions anytime soon Tom? If not, can you at least
let us know when you can answer them?

Geo

unread,
May 30, 2011, 6:25:13 PM5/30/11
to harm...@googlegroups.com
I sense a certain reluctance on your part to answer these questions Tom,
even those that are fairly straightforward. I hope that you don't believe
that these questions are in any way unfair to you, or that we the people you
represent (like me) have no right to ask them.

It is my opinion that a full accounting of the recent superintendent
selection process is in order and it is in the best interests of the
long-term health of our education system in this county to get it all out
into the open.

Your full cooperation with this effort will be greatly appreciated as it
will be long remembered Tom.

Here are a few more direct and pointed questions. The next four only require
a simple "yes" or "no" answer. But of course, you are certainly free to
elaborate on your answers however you like.

TLQ6) Prior to May 17, 2011, did you ever contact Dr. Roberta Selleck?

TLQ7) Prior to May 17, 2011, did you ever contact anyone who personally
knows Dr. Selleck?

TLQ8) Prior to May 17, 2011, did you ever contact any of the superintendent
candidates?

TLQ9) Prior to May 17, 2011, did you ever contact anyone who personally
knows any of the superintendent candidates?

TLQ10) How exactly did you verify that the news articles that you used as
your primary sources of information were fair and accurate?

Roy Sampson

unread,
May 30, 2011, 9:00:21 PM5/30/11
to harm...@googlegroups.com
I too would like an answer TOM

Geo

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Jun 6, 2011, 9:08:10 PM6/6/11
to HarmonyFL
Once again, here are the open questions about the recent
superintendent search process for Tom Long:

TLQ1) Will you help us understand your method of
evaluating these candidates Tom?

TLQ2) Why do you suppose that fewer than half of the
selection committee members voted for Dr. Selleck?

TLQ3) Do you feel that it was the responsibility of
committee members to lobby you?

TLQ4) How many committee members did you personally
call or email for their opinions of the candidates?

TLQ5) Do you agree that your single most important
responsibility as an elected school board member is the
proper selection of the best superintendent available
for our children?

TLQ6) Prior to May 17, 2011, did you ever contact Dr.
Roberta Selleck?

TLQ7) Prior to May 17, 2011, did you ever contact
anyone who personally knows Dr. Selleck?

TLQ8) Prior to May 17, 2011, did you ever contact any
of the superintendent candidates?

TLQ9) Prior to May 17, 2011, did you ever contact
anyone who personally knows any of the superintendent
candidates?

TLQ10) How exactly did you verify that the news
articles that you used as your primary sources of
information were fair and accurate?

I have a funny feeling that these questions will need to be answered
by someone other than Tom.
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