Some friends and I were recently discussing the Wake school bus fiasco. Some thought that through his resignation, Don Haydon, Wake’s long-time operations and facilities manager, might be accepting responsibility for the debacle. And he is. It has been his job for 12 years to get the buses where they need to go. I wondered, though: how could a seasoned administrator with over a decade of experience foul things up so badly?
Then I recalled the military bureaucracy I once served in and got an idea of what most likely happened. Haydon was almost certainly given an impossible task to move more kids with fewer buses. I can imagine that his boss wasn’t too keen to hear that a train wreck was imminent and Haydon had no choice but to step down.
Now the Wake GOP is concerned that Tata will be shown the door tomorrow in a closed-session personnel meeting. Well,the fact is that the superintendent serves at the pleasure of the board. If Tata has been working to thwart the board’s wishes, as Bob Geary speculates, he deserves to be held accountable. Personally, I thought Tata had more than earned his walking papers after his June public disrespecting of two school board members, Susan Evans and Christine Kushner. The bus debacle is only the coup de grâce.
My boss at the hardware store where I worked after high school was a crusty retired Army colonel named Bob Ley. He used to tell me stories about officers having to “fall on their swords” after whatever boneheaded decision they had made. The military demands accountability. Tata job is to be accountable and its the board’s responsibility to hold him accountable.
It wouldn’t surprise me if Tata is sent packing tomorrow, but if he is he will have earned it. I hope the Wake County School Board can find a superintendent whose more interested in doing what’s best for the 150,000 students rather than scoring political points.