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‘Personnel’ issues

July 28, 2010 - John D'Agostino

Public officials, especially those at the top, love hiding behind the "personnel issue" excuse.

"It cannot be discussed," they say. "It is a personnel issue."

But when a person in a public job receives an award or recognition, the personnel issue becomes public record. Newspapers, TV stations and the Internet trumpet the recognition.

But then something bad happens to that person and the "personnel" issue rears its ugly head again.

On Sunday, an article about three principals, who would keep their jobs despite low scores at their Buffalo schools, prompted schools Superintendent James Williams to make this remark:

"This is their professional lives, not their personal lives," he told The Buffalo News. "Personnel issues are not public information."

Yet when these same principals were promoted and hired, it was public information. We likely heard glowing comments and great anecdotes.

Now, something has gone wrong. Uh oh. That's right .... it's "personnel."



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