Jul 3, 2009

Roundtable on the firing of HPS Superintendent on tap

HOWELL - A local video production company plans to air a live discussion and roundtable on the firing of Howell Public Schools Superintendent Theodore Gardella, who was fired last Friday after just a year on the job.

HUB TV will air the discussion at 7 p.m. Wednesday at the Uptown Coffee House in downtown Howell, at the corner of Grand River and Michigan Avenue. It will be aired live on local radio station WHMI.

Both the location and the panel is a little confusing. The vote to fire Gardella was 4-2, with extreme rightwing Trustee Wendy Day and Bob Parker voting not to fire. The event is billing itself saying, “The intent of these conversations is to help our community understand the recent course of events, the reasoning for the release, and what the future may bring for Howell Public Schools.” The problem is the only school board members attending and will be interviewed are Day and Parker. We already know why Day likes Gardella so much: because he apparently shared Day’s ideology, anti-union bias and anti-business bias.

In fairness, that may change, and when the press release want out yesterday they were the only two attendees. However, if two more members do show up they have a quorum and the meeting has to be posted and follow the Open Meetings Act.

It’s also surprising for something that has generated so much interest and attention is taking place at such a small venue with people walking in and out for coffee. I have been in the Uptown Coffee House, and although it is a great place, it is both cozy and busy.

The panel is a little strange. It consists of former editor of the Livingston County Daily Press & Argus, Maria Stuart, news director of WHMI, Jon King, reporter for Livingston Community News, Tom Tolen, and HUBTV's executive producer, Brent Earl. A better panel should include the reporter from the newspaper who actually covers the board, and the reporter from WHMI who regularly covers school board meetings.

But, it is still worth watching. It will also be aired later on television through providers Charter and Millennium Cable.

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