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Thursday, July 26, 2012

Things that get under my skin... at board meetings

This week Mama Kat asked me to list ten things that make me angry.  Oh Vey.  Just thinking about them is enough to make me pour another glass of wine.  In  fact, I just can't bring myself to do it so instead I'm listing the ten things that get on my nerves at board meetings.

I probably attend more meetings than most people.  I cover three school districts and one township for a local newspaper.  I write engrossing stories about graduation, speed bumps, new hotel chains, fire stations, school budgets and new principals.

If you have never attended a public meeting of any kind, don't speak.  If you have never been to a township meeting or a school board meeting or even a PTO meeting, speaking the first time you attend is a really bad idea.

Grandstanding.  Why does everything have to be political?  Please don't pretend that you are doing taxpayers some great service when you are really only doing what you are doing for your own agenda.

Know the law.  Don't show up at a school board meeting to complain about Mrs. Smith because she gave your kid detention.  Follow the chain of command...teacher, principal, superintendent.  The school board members have no more authority over that issue than the clerk at the Rutter's.  Okay...maybe just a little more authority than that clerk.

Present your complaint to someone who is not a member of your family and who will tell you honestly whether or not you sound like an asshole.  For example, "Hi, Mary, I value your opinion and I am thinking about going to the school board and telling them that teaching our kids acceptance is ruining the universe.  Do you wanna come?"  If Mary's reaction is to a) run from you screaming; b) to remind you that she has a restraining order against you or c) to give you a xanax and tell you to take a step back into reality than you probably shouldn't go.

Speaking out of turn.  Please don't holler random things from the back of the room.  This is a public meeting not a bar.  You don't get to scream a question from the last row of seats.  Get up.  Use the microphone and state your freakin' name.  If you don't have the balls to do that than sit down and be quiet.

The night of the vote is too late.  Please don't come to a voting meeting to tell the board you think their budget is a load of crap.  They have had 4200 meetings about the budget.  Those meetings have included qualified personnel, like accountants, business managers and other people who like numbers.  While they appreciate the fact that you don't "get how millage is calculated" they kindly request that you find out prior to coming to the meeting.  Perhaps all of the budget and finance meetings.

Try to remember not having *insert sport of your choice here* would not be the end of the world as we know it.  Imagine a school not having a football team, or a swim team, or a debate team, or a water polo team, or a curling team.  Now imagine a school failing in reading, math and science.  These  things are not equivalent.

You will not "die" if you're child has to play on grass and not turf on more year.  In fact, the likelihood of that happening is like getting struck by lightening in the snow in Florida.  Stop being so dramatic.  Everyone finds that annoying.

Complaints from former employees seem a little bias.  You're retired.  You should have lots of fun things to do.  Those things should not include coming to board meetings to complain about hiring processes, firing processes or snow removal.  In fact, I sort of feel a little sorry for you if that's all you have to do.

Stop following me to my car.  If you had something worthwhile to say, I would be following you to your car.  Make a note of that.

5 random thoughts:

Monkey Man said...

they all are a great list....but that last one, boy that burns my

Mitchell is Moving said...

These all translate to things that got under my skin at business meetings, too! I get aggravated just thinking about it. Do you have any wine left?

NatteringNic said...

"Try to remember not having *insert sport of your choice here* would not be the end of the world as we know it..."
Great post...even though you've squashed my will to ever participate in a public forum again!

Kristie Maynard said...

I've been to a few school board meetings in my time and tons of PTA and other boards and I totally understand where you are coming from. I have a friend on the school board and she tells me that they get people at every meeting that don't have a clue, they complain about something and just don't get it when their complaint is shot down. Most of the time, it is something that is rumor or has already been addressed.
I feel your pain!

Jenners said...

This is timely as I'm getting more involved in the PTO this year. I shall keep my mouth shut until a few meetings have gone by. : )

These observations just remind me how many jerks there are in the world.

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I'm a 41 year old (gasp) freelance writer, school cafeteria manager, wife and mother. I have three children and one anxious and overweight beagle. I use my blog to make others laugh, to share some cool crafts, to document my lunchlady adventures and to lament about the challenges faced by us all on the journey called life. Thanks for visiting. Please leave some meant some comments.
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