By Steven Ray Hernandez
Once upon a time… in fact, it was about 3 p.m. on a Thursday afternoon, and in case you’re wondering why I am starting this story off like a fairy tale, it’s because just like a fairy tale, this story’s ending was “too good to be true.”
So there I was, sitting at my desk on a hot summer’s day editing a few stories for our weekend edition, when in walked a short, sharp-dressed man wanting to “talk” about some of the issues within the school district. He strolled in, politely asked if it was ok to enter as he stood behind our swinging office-barrier door, and then confidently walked over to our editorial department area. Much to my surprise, it was none other than (former) Superintendent Dr. Marc A. Puig himself. And I say ‘to my surprise’ because other than through a few emails, talking to the man over the phone (let alone in person) had become somewhat of a fictitious option I still had not the pleasure of exercising.
Nevertheless, we shook hands and we scheduled an interview with our staff writer Pete Banda in hopes of getting some exclusive 411 on some of the district’s most important topics of debate, such as the budget crisis and employment issues.
He talked about being “stunned” at the “financial catastrophe” of the district’s budget when he first arrived. He talked about how he and the board had to make some tough decisions but that he was overall pleased at the direction now. He talked about plans to bring in a better and more economical health insurance plan. And he talked about how he was pleased that the school district was now “financially ahead of schedule.”
But you know what he didn’t talk about? He didn’t talk about his obvious plans to resign the very next day, and I say obvious plans based off his statement that he resigned, “after long and prayerful consideration.” To this (and this only), I commend you Dr. Puig by saying, “Well played, Well played.”
I must say he had me (and my staff writer) convinced that maybe with a new outlook on the district and a plan set in course, that we could build a professional relationship where the community would get the facts and most up to date information via consistent and first-hand interviews with the superintendent himself.
But I guess Dr. Puig had a different plan, a devious plan.
The bottom line is if the job was too stressful and the pressure from the board was too much to the point where you saw no other option other than resignation, then fine, I respect that, especially considering the overwhelming pressure and attention the school district’s budget crisis received over the past year. From what I observed, Dr. Puig came in here and made a valid attempt to try and fix issues that arose from his predecessors, which again, I respect.
But you know what I don’t respect? I don’t respect someone coming into my office and using the media as their own personal way of “going out on top.” How convenient that he finally came in and talked to us, only to later issue his resignation statement right after press time, when our paper was already being printed. It’s obvious that Dr. Puig had a well-mapped out plan when he came into our office to talk about all the wonderful things he and the board were doing and how their plan was working.
Again, that I do not respect, but I will say again, “Well played, Dr. Puig, well played.”