March 30, 2013

Letters to the Editor: Turnover of school principals no mystery

Your front-page story ("Is knotty job undoing principals in Maine?" March 4) about several Maine high school principals leaving their jobs under a variety of circumstances tried to find an answer to a question that may not need be asked: Why the "high rate" of departures?

click image to enlarge

Massabesic High School Principal Christian Elkington talks to students awaiting a bus at the end of the school day in Waterboro. He’s been a principal for 18 years. It’s not hard to figure out why many other principals resign, a reader says: “Human beings have a hard time getting along with each other.”

2013 File Photo/Tim Greenway

Dig deep in most of these situations and you will find a consistent theme, no doubt -- human beings have a hard time getting along with each other. This is especially true with big egos in high-profile jobs with much at stake.

In Scarborough over the past 40 years, we have had some fantastic principals at Scarborough High School, and we have had some duds.

Jerry Hallett in the 1950s and '60s was the picture in the dictionary beside the term "old-school style." Lots of "please" and "thank you" and the three R's.

Al Juniewicz in the 1970s would say "good morning" to a pile of rocks if you let him. He was "collaborative style of communication" before the term was invented.

Andrew Dolloff in the 1990s and early 2000s was age 35 going on 55. He showed that being a mature adult could actually help a person succeed.

The duds?

Even before the latest local brouhahas involving the four southern Maine principals your story dealt with, SHS experienced:

One principal who insisted on bringing a live animal to the principal's office now and then (not popular!).

One principal who often favored "drive-around meetings" with one to three staffers in a moving vehicle.

One principal with a K-2 background who often responded to inquiries of protest by asking: "Did you not hear me?"

The Peter Principle, if not invented in the education field, has at least been alive and well in it for a half-century.

Your story took a Christopher Columbus approach to a land discovered long ago.

Dan Warren


Patients should be repaid for inflated hospital fees


The failure of the state of Maine to make prompt payment to Maine hospitals should be rectified by the Legislature and governor this biennium. However, the hospitals should not be the sole beneficiaries of that action.

The inflated fees that private-pay and insured patients paid to Maine hospitals has silently eroded the true toll owed to hospitals.

Some increases in the prices for hospital services have been legitimate, reflecting the increased complexity of medical science and increases in the market-determined costs of labor and goods.

Some increases in the cost of hospital services over that long period undoubtedly have been due to hospitals dealing with the failure of the state of Maine to make timely payments for services rendered by silently augmenting the "natural" rate of medical cost increases.

The Legislature should compromise with Gov. LePage on the funding method to be employed in paying the hospitals the nominally owed amount to ensure the maximal federal pay-in, but it should insist on the following terms:

1. The hospitals would be required to keep a third of the disbursed funds in a reserve account for up to five years.

2. The state would appoint a special master to:

Oversee a forensic audit of hospital charges over the period of withheld state payments to determine what portion of the nearly $500 million should be returned to private-pay and insured parties.

Assess the costs borne by hospitals due to deferred payment.

Set rules for repatriation of overpayments, with special attention to the intertwined interests of carriers, employers and employees.

Exercise oversight responsibility in the repayment of overcharges.

An equitable outcome is due both the hospitals and citizens whose bills were elevated by hospital "adaptive" billing practices.

(Continued on page 2)

Were you interviewed for this story? If so, please fill out our accuracy form

Send question/comment to the editors

Further Discussion

Here at we value our readers and are committed to growing our community by encouraging you to add to the discussion. To ensure conscientious dialogue we have implemented a strict no-bullying policy. To participate, you must follow our Terms of Use.

Questions about the article? Add them below and we’ll try to answer them or do a follow-up post as soon as we can. Technical problems? Email them to us with an exact description of the problem. Make sure to include:
  • Type of computer or mobile device your are using
  • Exact operating system and browser you are viewing the site on (TIP: You can easily determine your operating system here.)