CCISD sets superintendent search procedure

HANCOCK – The Copper Country Intermediate School District Board of Education voted during a special meeting Tuesday on how to conduct the search process for a new superintendent.

Current Superintendent Dennis Harbour plans to present the board with his letter of resignation during its regular monthly meeting Jan. 28. The board hopes to have a new superintendent in place by or before Harbour’s planned July retirement.

During its December meeting, the board discussed whether to hire an outside agency to conduct the search or to carry it out itself. There was considerable discussion about how equipped they were to handle the legal issues associated with the search compared to the responsibility of the board to be active in this important decision. They discussed hiring the Michigan Association of School Boards to do the search, but Harbour placed a conservative estimate of that cost at $10,000, a price the board felt was too high. At that meeting the board decided to take some time to review material before meeting Tuesday to make a final decision.

To address the board members’ concerns both about their own responsibility and navigating legal issues, Harbour presented it with an alternative option. Instead of paying MASB to conduct the entire search, Harbour proposed retaining it in an advisory capacity.

“In preparation for this meeting I took the liberty of calling MASB with the following idea. I said I think we’ve had some discussion regarding retaining or not retaining someone to do this search,” Harbour said. “I said there’s concern about the amount of money, there’s concern about a number of things associated with this. So I said what about the possibility of MASBsimply serving as a consultant for the board.”

The board unanimously agreed to retain MASB in an advisory capacity during their search for a superintendent.

Although the fee has not been finalized, Harbour said using MASB as consultants will be significantly less expensive than hiring it for the entire process. It will provide legal advice and use its experience with the search and hire process to keep the board on track.

“You would have a consultant team. They would guide you through the process. It’s going to be more work for you than under normal circumstances if you just retained them to do the search,” he said.

“They have a legal team there so there’s going to be no legal mistakes. But you have this blanket of security there in terms of having them available.”

The board will meet with MASB representatives via webcam to decide exactly what role MASB will have in the search. It plans on talking to MASB about search parameters, citing the importance of having someone more local in the position, as well as how to carry out steps such as focus groups of employees.

“They can provide advice, they can provide structure for you, they can keep us on a timeline and those kinds of things. And we’ll do the work,” Harbour said. “They said to me that they’ll work within our terms.”