Nothing wrong about hiring: Catholic board

The Northwest Catholic District School Board is denying any wrongdoing in the hiring of the director of education’s husband for a position with the board.
“Concerns have been brought forward to the board on whether all board hiring procedures had been followed with regards to the creation and selection process for the 10-week position of the Pathways Implementation Resource Facilitator Position and the selection of Maurice Bizero for the position,” the board said Thursday in a release to the Times.
“The board is satisfied that all board Governance Procedures have been adhered to,” it added. “The Director of Education continues to have the complete confidence of the board.”
The board was responding to a petition being circulated last week by Wade Petranik of Dryden, a former chair of the Northwest Catholic District School Board, calling for an inquiry into a perceived conflict of interest over the hiring.
Petranik said the board’s new director of education, Dr. Laurie Bizero, failed to declare a conflict of interest to trustees when her husband, Maurice, applied for the position of Pathways Implementation Resource Facilitator with the board.
“If you have a conflict of interest in any matter, it needs to be brought to the attention of the board immediately,” Petranik argued.
The petition goes on to say the board failed to fully and objectively investigate the hiring process.
But at its regular meeting Tuesday night, the board passed a motion to deny Petranik’s request to present the petition at its next meeting in December.
“My beef is with the process the board used to investigate this matter,” Petranik said. “Their job is to fully investigate the matter and report to the ratepayers as to what exactly happened, and I don’t think they did that.”
Petranik said he wrote a letter to the board asking for an explanation as to what procedures were followed in the hiring of the new facilitator.
“I didn’t really get a very satisfactory answer,” he remarked.
NCDSB chair Gerry Rousseau said the board sent a letter in reply. “He was directed to go to the director with any problems or questions,” he said Thursday.
“I don’t think it’s a matter for the director at all. It’s a matter for the board,” Petranik countered.
Rousseau noted discussions regarding personnel are always dealt with in-camera (behind closed doors), in accordance with the Ontario Municipal Act.
“It’s a personnel matter. We’re not prepared to discuss it,” he stressed.
An advertisement calling for applications for the Pathways Implementation Resource Facilitator was published in the Times on Sept. 22, 2004. It is a 10-week term position, running from Oct. 12-Dec. 17.
According to the board’s minutes for the regular meeting of Oct. 19, no conflict of interest was declared during the public session of the meeting.
Dr. Bizero replaced John Madigan as the Catholic board’s director of education on Aug. 1, following his retirement.
Petranik spent nine years on the board, including terms as chair and vice-chair. He lost his seat in last November’s municipal election to trustee John Borst by two votes.
(Fort Frances Daily Bulletin)