Statement on the Commissioner’s Waiver for Cathleen P. Black

This Decision is a half-hearted attempt to salvage a fatally flawed candidate.  In previous public remarks, the Commissioner, as well as a majority of his own panel, stated that Ms. Black is unqualified to stand on her own as Chancellor.[1] As a result, the Decision all but ignores the statutory test of finding substantial equivalence of Ms. Black’s experience with certification requirements, a necessary comparison used in all past waivers.  Instead, the Decision merely parrots precedent and relies on a vague Commission Report that has no legal effect.  The Decision makes clear that Ms. Black has neither the degree requirements nor professional background required to serve, merely the organizational and charitable experiences of any corporate executive.  That she will likely have able deputies and is highly recommended by an appointing authority has no legal consequence, since this is true of any waiver candidate. Since no rational basis has been demonstrated to meet legal requirements, Ms. Black should withdraw from consideration as Chancellor rather than further delay a public search for a qualified candidate who can ably serve the city’s 1.1 million public school students.


[1] The idea of an independent Chief Academic Officer, as suggested by the Commissioner and 2 panel members, would be an illegal dilution of the Chancellor’s powers and was rejected by the Mayor.

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