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Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Joan Kuchinski: An Underperforming School Board Member

Last night, I attended yet another meeting of the Governing Board of the Lucas County Educational Service Center. Once again, as has been her practice, Joan Kuchinski was tardy; this time, she was late by 23 minutes. And, as is her custom, Joan Kuchinski high-tailed it out of the room as soon as the meeting was adjourned. It appears to me that it is not uncommon for Joan Kuchinski to arrive after the Governing Board meeting has already begun and to be the first person to depart. I am also aware of at least one Governing Board meeting for which it had been reported that Joan Kuchinski left the meeting before the meeting had even been adjourned.

It seems another predictable behavior of Joan Kuchinski is that from time to time she opens her packet of meeting materials after the meeting has begun. The packet of meeting materials which I reference includes the meeting agenda, financial reports, communications, personnel changes requiring action, etc. The packet of meeting materials is sent to her home days in advance of the actual Governing Board meeting. Twice a year the packet includes evaluation forms of the Superintendent and the Treasurer that are to be completed prior to the actual meeting of the LCESC Governing Board. It seems there has been an occasion or two when Joan Kuchinski arrived to a meeting without the meeting materials for which she is to take official action as an elected official.

There have also been quite a few times where I have observed Joan Kuchinski having side conversation with another person while the official business meeting was underway. It appeared to me on those several occasions that Joan Kuchinski was not paying attention to the business at hand before the Board.

It seems to me that if a person is elected to a postion of public trust, as Joan Kuchinski, who is a teacher by profession, has been elected as a member of the Lucas County Educational Service Center Governing Board, then the person should devote the necessary interest, commitment, and time needed to adequately and sufficiently perform those elected duties. That includes preparing in advance for official business meetings, being prompt in arrival at meetings, being alert and paying attention at the meetings, setting aside the necessary time to attend to the duties of the elected postition, placing the elected position and its duties as a priority, etc.

Toward the end of the meeting last night, Joan Kuchinski made it a point to make some comments under the agenda item "Board Call" in which she referred to blog comments and her being late and about money she receives from "Lucas County." While Joan Kuchinski was not specific nor explicit in those comments, I believe she was alluding to a blog entry on Judy's Jewels last month about the fact that she, Joan Kuchinski, had arrived late and had been ill-prepeared for that meeting; and, I also believe she was alluding to the Roland Hansen Commentary about the money she receives from the Lucas County Educational Service Center for employment services. While that Roland Hansen Commentary was a laudatory discourse replete with accolades of Lucas County Educational Sevice Center Governing Board member Angela Zimmann, the commentary concluded with
"Now, as an aside and not related to the titled entry:
I still do not understand how there is no conflict of interest and how it is ethical and legal for Joan Kuchcinski, another member of the LCESC Board, to be receiving payments of hundreds and totaling in the thousands of dollars for professional services rendered as an individual while maintaining a position on the very same Governing Board that also authorizes those payments!!!"

On that subject of a potential conflict of interest, I have repeatedly expressed my concern over a period of time to individual LCESC Governing Board members, LCESC administrators, and others. To date, I have received insufficient responses to that legitimate concern. As I have said to those people, the County Prosecutor, who is by law the legal adviser to the Board at no cost, should be requested to either render an opinion or seek one from the State Attorney-General. I have also told those individuals that it really is best to have an opinion come from the State Attorney General's office. It is the Attorney General that issues opinions on compatibility (and non-compatibility) of public offices. Should the Lucas County ESC continue to fail to request the appropriate authoritative opinion on this issue, I fully intend to pursue whatever legal means are necessary and available to obtain such an authoritative ruling regarding Joan Kuchinski receiving monetary payments for providing professional services in an "employee" role from the Board on which she serves as an elected official.

In regards to Joan Kuchinski in her capacity as an elected official as a Member of the Governing Board of the Lucas County Educational Service Center, I give her a grade of "D" in that she seems to be an underperformer.


Hooda Thunkit said...


Joan Kuchinski; that's a name that I will pay particular attention to, come election time... :-(

Obviously we can and MUST do better.

Lisa Renee said...

I always find it interesting when electeds get offended by something written on a blog. It's clear that in this situation the solution would be for Joan to get there on time, be prepared and for there to finally be a request for an opinion by the AG.

I would suggest that it should be possible for one board member to make a request for that type of a ruling. It's not something that requires a majority of the board to do. On more than one occasion one member of the Toledo Public School Board has asked for an opinion regarding a conflict of interest...