Airing Criticism Of Woodward

To say Hancock County school Superintendent Tim Woodward is angry would be putting it very mildly.

On Monday night, after being told Woodward was not able to attend their meeting because of a medical emergency, board members voted against a motion to continue negotiations with him over a new contract as superintendent. The vote was unanimous except for member Caroll Rosenlieb, who abstained over concern about a possible conflict of interest.

During the meeting, board members received a packet of documents regarding Woodward from a member of the public. He said the information could involve potentially illegal activity. Nothing more was said about the papers — but a board member had the packet sealed and handed it to a sheriff’s deputy.

The episode was typical of criticism of Woodward voiced during the past few weeks. With one notable exception, a complaint about his relationship with another school employee, very little detail has been offered in comments — and anonymously circulated flyers — reflecting on the superintendent.

That lack of specifics has not gone unnoticed. On Monday, Ed Bowman, of Weirton, presented the board with a Freedom of Information Act request. He explained it related to questions he has asked the board previously.

“I don’t know anything more today than I did two weeks ago,” Bowman said Monday night.

For his part, Woodward has maintained he is guilty of no wrongdoing. On Wednesday, he released a statement alleging the vote on his contract Monday was illegal because the meeting agenda did not include mention of any action on the matter was planned.

He added that “simple human decency would have suggested that the superintendent at least be present.”

“Allegations without any foundation whatsoever have consistently been tolerated,” Woodward stated.

Woodward closed by stating he would have no other comment on the issue — because of legal issues.

As matters stand, then, Hancock County residents’ knowledge of the situation is that, apparently because of a host of vague accusations against Woodward, the board of education wants a new superintendent.

The public deserves to know what specific complaints have been made about Woodward, along with the results of any investigation of them.

There are two sides to every story. In this case, the public has not really heard either of them.

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