Bacons Bits: Personnel Is Policy Edition

Is Charlottesville ungovernable? In the latest example of revolving-door leadership in the People’s Republic of Charlottesville, Marc Woolley has withdrawn from his appointment as interim city manager just a day prior to his start date. According to the Daily Progress, Woolley had faced questions from the newspaper about his resignation from two previous jobs and multiple lawsuits in which he was named when working in other states. Woolley’s withdrawal, notes the newspaper, follows the departure of five city managers in three years. It’s bad news when a city can’t hang onto a city manager. It’s downright dysfunctional when a city can’t even appoint an interim city manager.

Don’t let the door hit your butt on the way out. As the Northam administration winds down, Virginia Secretary of Education Atif Qarni has left his post to take a job managing the Hope Center for College, Community and Justice at Temple University. A Richmond Times-Dispatch article published today emphasizes Qarni’s efforts to “solve modern-day school segregation,” particularly his efforts to “diversify” the state’s 19 elite Governor’s Schools. “Former Secretary Qarni has served Virginia’s students well, and I am proud of the work we have done together to support public education and raise teacher pay,” said Governor Ralph Northam. 

Neither Northam nor the RTD took note of the fact that under Qarni’s leadership, Virginia schools experienced among the lowest rates of in-person learning among the 5o states during the COVID epidemic, that Virginia students saw unprecedented drops in the Standards of Learning test scores, or that the gap between Asian/White and Black/Hispanic test scores got worse during his tenure.