How much more of our time is the Muscogee County School Board going to waste?
It's the second week of 2013, 10 months since Susan Andrews announced she was quitting after three years as school superintendent.
Andrews said she wanted to spend time with a new grandchild, but instead she found a new job with the state department of education. Muscogee County, meanwhile, hasn't found her successor and rumblings from within the board raise fears that this important position might not be filled until the 2013-2014 school year.
Last time I checked, that's about seven months away.
The board meets Monday for a work session and has a regular meeting Jan. 22, and hopefully members will tell us what they did during their Christmas vacation. When we last saw them together in one room, they had just interviewed four semifinalists. (Sorry, Pat Hugley Green. If they walk like a semifinalist and quack like a semifinalist, they're semifinalists.)
The chairwoman said the process was ongoing, and it appeared a new hire would soon emerge, especially since the old board wanted to act before two newly elected members came aboard in January.
Santa Claus came and so did the New Year, but nine elected board members didn't go to the parties.
Veteran education reporter Mark Rice broke their individual silence in an important analysis Sunday. It indicated that they aren't happy with the four candidates presented by the search firm and might be close to severing relationships with McPherson & Jacobson -- the headhunters hired in July.
When the board finally faces the public next week, the first order of business will be to swear-in newcomers A.J. Senior and Shannon Heflin -- replacements for James Walker and Norene Marvets. The board will then elect a chair and a vice-chair.
At some point, the panel owes the public an explanation about what has transpired -- or hasn't -- in recent weeks. Don't hide behind this being a personnel issue. This has become a board issue, and as elected officials they should conduct business in the open.
The seven survivors from 2012 must defer to the new guys at the table. Senior and Heflin weren't invited to the board's closed meetings in December, so they can't be expected to judge the candidates or the performance of the search firm.
If the search process begins anew, with or without the firm from Omaha, we could be looking at four or five months before a new superintendent is ready to take over. That means John Phillips is going to be more than a typical interim.
Cards won't be dealt until next week's board meeting, but the new players at the table hold most of the aces. How Senior and Heflin play them will be very interesting.
-- Richard Hyatt is an independent correspondent. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.