Que the circus music. The New Bedford School Committee is back in session and if last night's premiere performance is any indication, it could be quite an entertaining year. That is if performance art is what you are looking for in your school committee.

Now appearing under the big top, member Chris Cotter who groused about not being appointed to the superintendent search committee, even though he was a part of the unanimous vote to approve the appointees, and newcomer John Oliveira, who, prior to last night's meeting, (his first) had been barred from School Department property after cussing at the Superintendent and slamming her door after being elected to his first term.

Cotter threw a hissy fit, insisting that he was excluded from the Superintendent Search Committee by School Committee Chair, Mayor Jon Mitchell. The fact of the matter is that Cotter was part of a unanimous vote, without discussion, to approve the appointees.

The committee voted last night to appoint Cotter to the search committee and to expand the sub-committee by as many as three additional people.

But, Oliveira insists Mitchell has already handpicked a successor to the retiring Dr. Pia Durkin:

"The whole Screening Committee, the whole process of finding a superintendent, has been hijacked by you, Mr. Chairman. You put the names out, there was no discussion."

Again, the School Committee, including Cotter, voted unanimously to approve the search committee appointees.

Why do we need a search committee to begin with? Isn't it the School Committee's job to search for a superintendent? The search committee concept is nothing more than a political dog and pony exhibition. The School Committee should rescind its earlier vote to establish a search panel and do the work itself. Do your job.

By the way, if you find this stuff amusing just remember it's your tax money and your kids future at stake here.

Editor's Note: Barry Richard is the afternoon host on 1420 WBSM New Bedford. He can be heard weekdays from Noon-3pm. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.

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