*File photo
*File photo

Bermuda’s public school principals have issued a vote of no confidence in Education Commissioner Dr Edmond Heatley.

Dr. Heatley has come under fire for applying for a school superintendent job in New Orleans — as revealed by the Bermuda Sun. 

He was interviewed for that post last month, but withdrew his name from consideration earlier this week amid considerable political backlash in Bermuda. 

Some thought his interest in another job reflected a lack of focus. When he assumed his position last autumn, he was given a three-year contract which expires in 2016.

Now, the principals of the Bermuda public school system, who are represented by the Bermuda Public Services Union (BPSU), have declared a vote of no confidence in the commissioner.

“The principals believe that the Bermuda Public School System deserves to have a commissioner who is committed, resilient and who operates with transparency, honesty and respect towards educators, parents, students and the wider community,” read the BPSU statement. “These essential qualities have not been demonstrated by the current commissioner, in their observations.”

The principals are seeking to arrange a meeting with the permanent secretary responsible for education to discuss a way forward for the betterment of the Bermuda public school system, according to the BPSU statement.

Numerous attempts to contact Dr Heatley’s office were unsuccessful last night.

The Education Ministry stated last night that it “acknowledges the position of the Principals and will factor their clear concerns into the on-going review of the Commissioner’s position by both the Permanent Secretary and the Board of Education.

“...While the Minister of Education and Economic Development has been fully briefed, under Public Service Commission Regulations, Cabinet Ministers do not play a role in the hiring, transfer or removal of public sector staff.

“The matter is under active consideration and is being addressed at the highest level with full attention.” 

 


THURSDAY, APRIL 3: Late this afternoon the Ministry of Education and Economic Development received a letter from the Bermuda Public Services Union (BPSU) detailing the position of the Principals of the Public School System, who are represented by the BPSU, declaring a vote of no confidence in the Commissioner of Education Dr Edmond Heatley.

The BPSU letter was released to the media prior to any consultation with the Ministry.

The Ministry acknowledges the position of the Principals and will factor their clear concerns into the on-going review of the Commissioner’s position by both the Permanent Secretary and the Board of Education.

As has already been stated; on Monday morning, the Permanent Secretary met with the Commissioner upon his return from New Orleans to discuss the issues surrounding the Commissioner’s application to the Orleans Parish School Board.

Subsequently the Commissioner met with a sub-committee of the Board of Education and the full Board has met to consider their position.

The BPSU will know there is a Civil Service Code of Conduct, as well as Public Service Commission Regulations. The Permanent Secretary and the Board of Education are undertaking this review with full understanding of due process.

It is important to note that while the Minister of Education and Economic Development has been fully briefed, under Public Service Commission Regulations, Cabinet Ministers do not play a role in the hiring, transfer or removal of public sector staff.

The matter is under active consideration and is being addressed at the highest level with full attention. The Ministry believes the most important factor is the long term future of our education system and welfare of Bermuda’s students.