Plugging holes

Mar 13, 2013 By Steven R. Peck

Good institutions must be able to withstand the loss of good people

A sure sign that an institution -- any institution -- has achieved the critical mass necessary for sustenance is when it demonstrates an organizational structure and institutional history demonstrating that it can survive the turnover of key personnel.

It's a characteristic that tends to apply more reliably to public institutions than private ones. That's one of several reasons the oft-repeated political sound bite that "government ought to be run like a business" has some holes in it once it's actually put to the practical test.

Take Fremont County School District 25, for instance. We join the rest of the community in following hiring developments in Riverton's public schools with great interest, but everyone can take comfort in knowing that a well-established, long-standing structure is in place to ensure that qualified replacements will be found.

The individual performance of a particular person in a particular job always will be open to scrutiny and debate, but the underlying procedure for filling vacant positions is an administrative machine that runs pretty well.

District 25 is losing its No. 2 administrator, a high school principal and two elementary principals at the end of the year. Their combined experience covers more than 100 years of education locally.

One -- RHS principal Joanne Flanagan -- is moving from one job to another, so an element of stability will be maintained. But that's still a lot of leadership walking out the door this summer.

Nevertheless, we are reminded of the old employer's maxim sometimes called into play when a key person threatens to leave a private business: "We were looking for someone when we hired you." All it really means is that qualified replacements can and will be found for these vacancies, and most of them will view the new job as a great opportunity.

Good institutions -- public and private -- can withstand the loss of good people.

They do it all the time. All it takes is finding good people looking for a chance.

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