This online version is an abridged compilation of the printed version of Fort Fairfield Journal, available in stores, now.  Pick up a copy, or subscribe for all the local & national news, FFMHS sports, obituaries, FFPD police log and more.


Selected Editorials from the Editor

Suns & Shields Christian Inspirational Writings by Rachelle Hamlin

Selected editorials from Dr. Katherine Albrecht, Ed. D.


The Roberts Trap is Sprung

By:  Bill Dunne
One of the most overlooked aspects of the year just ended is the vindication of Chief Justice John Roberts -- a vindication that showed up as the national catastrophe known as ObamaCare got rolling.  Roberts may have also doomed Hillary Clinton's chance to live in the White House again... click here to read whole editorial


Coach Hiring Process Discussed by MSAD #20 School Board


By:  David Deschesne

Fort Fairfield Journal, March 5, 2014


   The M.S.A.D. #20 School Board discussed the process of hiring coaches and received some public comment on the topic at their February 24 meeting.

   Superintendent, Marc Gendron explained the district's historical process of hiring coaches as one where the Athletic Director solicits applications, then he and the Superintendent concur and bring the school board a slate of coaches for either the Spring, Fall or Winter seasons that the board votes on as a block, rather than individual coaches.

   “The past practice, the process of what I have been following is what I inherited, said Tim Watt, FFMHS Athletic Director.  “That doesn't mean that the board can't make a decision that those positions open up every year; it's up to the board to make a decision on that.  When we have resignations we have involved the community in those searches.”

   “We've been in the habit of bringing a slate of coaches,” said Superintendent Marc Gendron.  “That makes it more difficult to discuss individual coach nominations.”  Mr. Gendron explained when a slate of coaches is brought before the school board, they have three choices: 1.) not bring a motion; 2.) not bring a second - at which point either of these scenarios would deny the coaches their positions; or 3.) bring a motion and discuss the coaches on an individual basis.  “Just because a board member brings a motion, or a second doesn't necessarily mean they're approving the motion,” explained Gendron, “it just means they're willing to bring it to discussion in front of the full board.  If there's any complaint or allegation then the board should go into executive session to discuss a personnel matter.  The procedure for executive session is similar to the expulsion hearing where the person who has issues with the coach has an opportunity to speak, the coach has an opportunity to defend himself, the board has the right to offer clarifying questions.  The board then has the choice of deliberating with both parties present, or if one of the parties leave they both have to leave and the board deliberates with neither party present.”

   In dealing with a complaint about a particular coach, Gendron described the “chain of command” for submitting such a complaint.  “The first thing to do is make an appointment with the athletic director since the athletic director is the direct supervisor of the coach.  If that happens and somebody is still in the position where they are not satisfied with the outcome of that discussion then they have an opportunity to talk to the superintendent.  After the person has done those two steps and the person is still not satisfied then they should ask in writing for the school board chair and superintendent to put that matter on the school board agenda.  If there's going to be a discussion that could go into a personal or negative manner then the board will go into executive session.”  At this point  the board would deliberate in executive session, but never votes.  After deliberating the board could come out and make a motion to have a vote on the coach.

   “In a discussion with the school board chair, we talked about the possibility of not bringing a slate of coaches anymore but bringing the coaches in on an individual basis.  If we bring everybody individually then you can discuss them individually and vote on them individually.”

   Mark Giberson spoke to the school board on behalf of several parents and community members who were present during the February 24 meeting.  “I'm not here to demonize any particular coach, I think they're all very good people and they truly care about our kids.  But I think we can do better as far as understanding the game they are coaching,” said Giberson.  “What I would like to propose is in the future, especially with our winter sports program, to put out in the papers or on the internet an advertisement to let people know this job is up and let many people come in and put their applications in so we can all look at it and decide who is the best person for that job.  I think right now we're only bringing certain individuals to the board; not everybody is being brought to be looked at.  I think you have to look at the best person with the skills to do the job.  We're not picking this person based on friendship, it has to be the best person that can do the coaching job.  That's what I'm asking for in the future, let's put it out there in the papers, let's see who we get for applicants.  Then I think the community should be involved in that choice as well as the board and whoever wants to be involved in it.  It should not be one person bringing it to the board and the board making the decision.  I'd like to have a say on who we pick.”

   Presently, the athletic director brings the nominations to the superintendent who, if he concurs, then presents the nominations to the board.

   “That's where I think we need to have more community availability and have different people in that decision so when he brings it forward he's not the only one making that call,” said Giberson.  “I think there are lots of townspeople who would like to be involved in that committee - to get a group of people together and say these are the people that we would like to go to the board.  Maybe narrow it down to three to five people then the board can have a discussion saying these are the best people that this committee has come up with, who are we going to choose for this position.”

   “I don't necessarily disagree with that but my thought would be that I hope you would feel more comfortable with coming to your board and voicing your concerns to the board because you have elected us to try to speak for you and we can only do that if you do come forward and speak to us,” responded Paula Perkins, MSAD #20 school board chair. To which Giberson reiterated, “That's why I'm here today.”

   Perkins then suggested that the board charge the superintendent with investigating what the possibilities might be and research on how the school board can involve the community in the coach selection process.

   “I think the opportunity for greater input would be in some kind of selection committee,” said Gendron.  “I think that's going to be the key that can make people happy.  And then I think you have to balance it - and this is just an opinion, I need more time to look at this - but what kind of security would you have if you did it to every coach, every year?”

   Mark Giberson then responded that they may have to look at every coach on an individual basis. “You have certain coaches in this system that do remarkable work and they're never questioned.  But every once in a while you'll have a coach that the community is not happy with and I think it is very apparent this year that that is going on.  I've heard it from hundreds of townspeople.  When that occurs I think you have to stand up and take a look and say something's wrong here.  Let's at least look at it and how can we approach it community-wise to get the best person or best applicant that might fit that position.  I'm not here to demonize any particular person.  Again, these are all good people.  They care about our kids, but it comes down to coaching ability.  I'd like more participation of people that might be willing to take certain positions in the coaching ranks.”

   There is currently an evaluation process the coaches now undergo at the end of their season, a process that is now in its second year.

   The school board has assigned the superintendent with the task of investigating the process for a selection committee, or similarly composed group,  for future coach nominations and more will be discussed by the school board as that process develops.







Click for Fort Fairfield, Maine Forecast 



Town and Country Advertising, from Scottsdale, Arizona is selling special events and holiday advertising packages in Fort Fairfield Journal.  To be included in these special feature ads, call 1-800-342-5299 or