Friday, February 13, 2015

Back in 1999, Same Search Firm Found Candidate with Bankruptcies, Candidate Immediately Withdrew

Massie Withdraws As School Candidate
Montgomery Board Searching Again
By Manuel Perez-Rivas
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, May 6, 1999; Page B01

Elfreda W. Massie bowed out yesterday as Montgomery County's leading candidate for school superintendent, just two days after revelations of her personal bankruptcy filings stunned school board members and threw her candidacy into a tailspin.

Massie, currently the number two school administrator in Baltimore County, was nominated Friday to succeed Montgomery Superintendent Paul L. Vance, whose term ends June 30. She was widely praised over the weekend as a well-qualified and enthusiastic educator who would ably lead Montgomery's school system, with its $1 billion budget, into the next century.
Civic, government and educational leaders anticipated meeting Massie in Rockville this week to learn about her educational vision.

But those meetings were canceled. Instead, Massie came to Montgomery to attend a private, late-night meeting Tuesday with the school board at the home of board President Reginald M. Felton (Northeastern County). During the meeting, Massie discussed the circumstances of her and her husband's two bankruptcy filings -- the most recent one last June -- and attempted to explain why she had not warned school board members before they endorsed her. It was not enough, however, to save her candidacy...

...Felton said the board had directed the firm conducting the search, Illinois-based Hazard, Young, Attea & Associates, to find new candidates for consideration and to "strengthen the background and financial review of potential candidates."
Despite mounting criticism over the secrecy with which the board has conducted the search to date, Felton reaffirmed that members remain "committed to the search process underway at this time as the best method of identifying and selecting candidates for consideration as superintendent."
The board had been criticized by many in Montgomery's active educational circles for not giving the community a larger role in reviewing candidates, even before the revelations of Massie's personal financial problems derailed the process this week. Some said the board's stance was especially disheartening considering its stated support for collaborative decision-making...

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