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CNBNews Archives July 2013:

Gloucester City School Board Appoints New Basketball Coach; Some People Not Happy with the Selection Process CITY NJ (July 29, 2013)--The Gloucester City Board of Education, at the July 23 meeting, named Liam James as the new coach for the boys’ high school basketball team for the upcoming season.  James will replace Kevin Hagan. Salary for the position is approximately $5,000.

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According to our sources there were five other candidates who applied for the position: Adam Carpenter, Josh Cassidy, Robert Chew, Richard Maunz, and Chuck Thomson. 

The interview committee consisted of High School Principal Jack Don, Athletic Director Leon Harris, Facilities Director John Kenney and School Superintendent Joseph Rafferty. 


The 24-year-old James is a life-long resident of Gloucester City. He graduated from Gloucester City High School in 2007. Presently he is employed by Gateway High School, Deptford Township, as a social studies teacher.


As for his credentials for this position, he was an assistant basketball coach last year for the Gloucester High girls’ basketball team. According to the Courier Post, James was a star football and basketball player in high school. He played basketball under Tom Torillo and earned All-Tri-County Conference honors. James graduated from Rutgers-Camden in 2013 with a degree in history. In college he played on theRaptors basketball team.


Two of the applicants were upset, saying “politics” were being played with the selection process. 


Bob Chew, (photo, right) who hand delivered his resume and cover letter to Superintendent Rafferty on May 16, said a school board member suggested he apply for the job. “Rafferty told me that day I would be called for an interview.”


“I waited for that call, but, it never came. I believe politics had something to do in part with the reason I was bypassed.” 


As for his qualifications for the coaching job, Chew said he ran the Gloucester City mens’ basketball league held at the Mary Ethel Costello School from 1988 until 1995.  


“I was an assistant basketball coach at Gloucester Catholic for one year. I was a scout for the Rams basketball program.  I ran the mens softball league for five years with Steve Cowgill.  In 2003, I organized the Gloucester Catholic vs Gloucester High alumni softball game. Money from that game is given to a graduating senior from each school. I was a high school basketball official for five-years on the varsity level with West Chapter 5. I officiated with the Joe Kelly/Bob McQuillan (South Jersey Basketball Organization) group for over 12-years prior to that starting in 1987.  


“The committee in charge of interviewing applicants never gave me the courtesy of a face-to-face meeting. I never had a chance to discuss my qualifications. Leon Harris never responded when I asked him recently who saw my resume.  I will bet none of them can even tell me what is on it.  I am wondering if it is because of my affiliation with Gloucester Catholic.”


Chew said he thought it was strange that there was an advertisement in the Courier Post on July 25 seeking applicants for the head coaching position at Gloucester High. “The ad also ran two days before the Board’s July 23 meeting, the same meeting when James was hired. Why would they do that? Was it just for appearance sake?” 


Chew works for the Camden County Metro Police as a homicide detective. 


The other applicant said, “It happens all the time in Gloucester City, it isn’t what you know, it is who you know.” Asked for an explanation he said, “James’ father is the mayor of Gloucester City, and he is related by marriage to a number of the faculty at the high school, who happened to be coaches.” The individual wanted to remain anonymous for fear of repercussions. He didn’t elaborate.


CNBNews reached out to Rafferty for a response. 


He writes, “Let me begin by stating that no one, to my knowledge, was treated unfairly in our interview process for any positions open in the Gloucester City School District.  


“Mr. Chew did personally come to my office and submit his resume.  I did not feel as though this was unprofessional in any way since Mr. Chew was an old personal friend of mine.  I told him at that time that I would submit his resume as part of the process, which I did by having my secretary send his resume and cover letter to the Committee responsiblefor the first and second round interviews.  It is unfortunate that Mr. Chew felt that he would be guaranteed an interview when I stated that I would ensure that his resume would be made a part of the process.


The process that I am referring to, for which is used for all positions open in this district is:  1.  For this particular position, I selected a committee consisting of the High School Principal (Dr. Don), the Athletic Director (Mr. Harris) and Facilities Director (Mr. Kenney).  2. Resumes are submitted to the committee for their review, resumes come from various sources.  However, no one can demand that a or "their" candidate be interviewed, this includes me as the Superintendent.  3. After the resumes are reviewed, the committee selects a  group to be interviewed this is the first round.  4.  After the first round interviews, a smaller group is interviewed by this same committee.  5.  After the second interviews, the committee then sends their two top candidates to me for the third and final interview with myself and the committee.  6. After one of the two candidates are selected their name is presented to the board.  7.  After the candidate's name is presented to the board it is only the board that can officially vote to hire that person.


“Bill, this process as I have explained above, keeps the hiring of

individuals in our district fair and not political.”


Rafferty was asked why the facility director (John Kenney) was interviewing candidates for a coaching position?


"I have the facility director involved due to the use of the buildings, gym and the locker room areas. Each person at  the  table has certain levels of experience associated with asking questions associated with the position."


Part One: What is Being Done about the Blight and Housing Problems in Gloucester City

Part Two: What is Being Done about the Blight and Housing Problems in Gloucester City




Happy Parent said...

I can't speak on the person chosen, but my son played for Coach Cassidy the past 2 years at MEC and he was a great coach. He held the boys to a high standard and they delivered. Besides teaching them the game, he taught them to be good team mates. Hope my son has him as a coach again.

John Wooden said...

Does anyone besides me think it is odd to have the facility director as one of the people interviewing candidates for a position of basketball coach.

The supt. says the FD is on the panel because "I have the facility director involved due to the use of the buildings, gym and the locker room areas."


Instead of the head janitor sitting on the panel why not have one of the school board members sitting there? Who is looking out for the taxpayer's interest?

Where are the two cops that ran for the school board who promised to change things if they were elected? They are no different than the other 7 "Bobble Heads" that fill chairs on that body.

Yes Liam is a nice man. But his only qualification is that he played the game, and was an assistant for one year. Several of the applicants have head coaching experience and are better suited for the job.

Lastly, there were only six candidates for the position. Why not give all six candidates the courtesy of a face to face interview? Spend 10, 15 even 20 mins. for each man at the most it would have been a three hour process for all to have some time before the panel. They are all getting paid for their time.

We have a janitor interviewing candidates for a basketball position. UNBELIEVABLE!

Lew Alcindor said...

Woody, the FD is a Wharton Grad, has seen every Bball game at GHS for the past decade and wasn't to shabby a player if I recall. Makes sense to have him part of the process. Just sayin.

John Wooden said...

A graduate of Wharton! And in ends up as FD in Gloucester City.

Good for him.

So besides questioning the candidate about his knowledge of the buildings, the gym and locker room areas, he can ask questions about basketball too because he played the game in high school so many years ago, plus he attends all the Lions basketball games, which also adds to his knowledge.

I can see now why he was chosen.


Factsonly said in reply to John Wooden...

John Kenney played basketball in college, Rutgers grad, masters from Penn, coached basketball for many years, basketball ref for over 30 years. Our schools are.lucky to have him after he retired from Lockheed. 

Wow said...

Come on bob you wouldn't even have time to coach...I read your name in the paper once a week having to investigate a murder or shooting...As for mr. Anonymous aka Adam Carpenter get over it stop embarassing yourself, and hope the way you acted after the fact doesn't prevent you from getting a job in the future..All you did at that board meeting was confirm you are to inmature for the job anyway..Liam great job keep your head up and don't listen to these clowns on here..

Bill Walton said in reply to John Wooden...

Which coaches had HC experience? Liam actually played College Basketball. He coached at the HS level for BBall and Football this past year. He's put in his time videotaping (scouting) for head coaches and also coached summer league games at the HS level. I see 2 Middle School coaches which is basically coaching the Gloucester Celtics, a Jr High coach, and a Scholarship softball game coordinator. But Liam's knocked because he's only 24 and is inexperienced? And he only got the job because his dad's the mayor? I didnt see the mayor on the committee for choosing a coach or his "relatives by marriage". Any excuse is a good excuse I guess.

Metta World Peace said...

Liam James was an All-Conference football and basketball player at Gloucester High. He played college basketball in a very tough conference. He is the assistant varsity football coach. He was the freshman baseball coach. He teaches high school. He was the assistant varsity basketball coach under the two-time South Jersey Coach of the Year. I think it's fair to say that his resume is much better than the other guys and the fact that his father is Mayor has exactly nothing to do with the selection.

BillR said...

At least he is a Gloucester High grad and knows the kids in school and in town and what it takes to succeed and to make it to college.
I think it was a good selection.
They get kudos for picking a GHS product for the head coaching job. GCHS picked a Eustace grad for their head coaching job and they've underachieved IMO.
Give the kid a chance.

GHS Basketball Fan said...

I congratulate Liam, wish him success as a head coach, and will continue to support basketball at all levels. But to set the record straight, there was another candidate who is a product of GHS, played basketball in high school and college, has 12 years of experience as an assistant varsity boys’ coach at GHS during very successful years, has 13 years of experience as a very successful head coach at the junior high level, and has been developing accomplished players and young adults for many years.

Wow said in reply to GHS Basketball Fan...

Thank you Chuck Thompson for telling us all about yourself. Glad you will still support GHS even though you didn't get picked.

GHS Basketball Fan said...

Though I'm sure Chuck would have expressed the same sentiments to Liam, he didn't write the GHS Basketball Fan post.

Frustrated Educator said in reply to Wow...


Tim said...

Gloucester City boys aren't going out for sports like in years past for some reason. 
I think a young enthusiatic guy like James is more likely to get kids out than an older coach who has been part of the system for a long time.
Girls teams at the High are much more competitive than the boys teams.

Bill Junior Johnson said...

As a Board Member I support the reccomendation made by the Superintendent and I voted in the affirmative. I don't think Liam James should be automatically eliminated just because his father happens to be Mayor. Why punish a candidate just because of what his father does? I am confident that the decision was made after careful consideration was given to all eligible candidates. This is a small town. There will always be an applicant that is related to somebody or knows somebody. As far as the "bobblehead" comment, you obviously do not know me or Doug.

CuriousOfGloucesterCitySchoolDistrict said...

It does seem to raise questions that John Kenney would be a part of interview process when he isn't apart of the interview process of bringing on his janitorial staff.

Thank you said in reply to Bill Junior Johnson...

You seem to find it offensive to be referred to as a "bobblehead".

If you are working hard to do your job of directing the faculty and staff you might consider participating at the front end of the selection process rather than the back end.

We all know that politics is an integral part of the educational system. i.e. (1) the unions spend vast sums of money to elect legislators who support their positions and agenda. (2) Faculty does its utmost to please the governing body and voters to support its budget. (3) Staff does its best to establish a harmonious relationship with faculty since it is frequently at odds with the Board and Faculty for reasons of Negotiations and Grievances.

Therefore, it is a good opportunity to look like true harmony exists and all parties are on the same page part of the time. As Board members each of you should be looking at seeing that a clearly defined selection process has been established prior to announcement of a position, be it this position or any other. Publish the rules of the game in advance. See to it that all competitors are subjected to the same scrutiny at the same time. And that the winnowing process informs competitors of their standing and right to review the scoring of their application versus all other competitors immediately.

Unless there is an emergent need to fill the position a few days should be given for a competitor’s response to notification of failure to move to the next step. Check off lists and review notes should be made available if review is requested.

I understand that you are a young man and are new to the BOE. I also am happy that you did not remain silent as your peers have done. You do not have to be more highly educated than the Superintendant that you employ to know right from wrong or fair from unfair.

You were elected to the BOE to represent the taxpayers and to evaluate the performance of both faculty and staff. Your job is not to endorse the actions of Faculty and Staff. It is to see that the process under which they function is fair, open and above board.

That was the failure in the Penn State matter and look at all the fallout that has occurred. All that would have been avoided if those same three simple steps had been followed.

My advice to you would be to continue to respond to your constituents and move toward applying those three simple rules in all BOE actions be they hiring, purchasing or performance evaluation at all levels. Thank you for your service.

A Perplexing Situation said...

Mr. Johnson,

Since Gloucester City sold its “soul” to the state in the early 90‘s to become an ABBOTT District, I wonder how much power you and other Board members have?

Isn’t it true, because of being ABBOTT district, the state tells GC what they can do and can not do? For example, the state told the city it had to have a pre-school.

With regards to the coaching position and other positions, isn’t it true the superintendent tells you who he wants by recommending someone for the job?

And if you vote against his recommendation, you are “shunned” by the superintendent and other board members for going up against the system.

As a member of the Gloucester City School Board what power do you have over the everyday operation of the school district?

Also can you point to one thing that you have accomplished as a member since being elected to the Board.

Thank you for trying

GROW UP said...

SOUR GRAPES ! You men sound like a bunch of whiny third graders
who didn't get their way. Liam James possesses the 
skills and knowledge needed for the position. HE was hired and his maturity
is an added bonus. The other candidates need deal with their
disappointment and move on. This is life . Deal with it like an 
Emotionally mature adult. Also, I can understand whyJohn Kenny was
Part of the interviewing process . I imagine he wanted to see and hear that 
the candidates could and would accept the responsibilities of respectfully
using the buildings . Coaching requires more than how to handle a ball .

Bill Junior Johnson said...

I am involved in the hiring process the same way every other Board Member is in this State. The only person who can recommend hiring someone is the Superintendant. I have no problem with the process that Mr. Rafferty has established regarding the hiring of coaches. Every Administrator in that process has the knowlege and experience (way more than I have) to select and/or reject a candidate. That is the process that is used. I can either vote to accept his reccomendation or vote to not accept it. That is my power in this process and it is shared by every other board member. A majority of the Board can vote to not accept the nomination and the same Superintendant will then present another candidate for our approval/disapproval. 
Some things I have done since being elected, with the assistance and support of members like Doug Ziegler, Pat Hagan, Adam Baker, and Bruce Darrow includes objecting to making Gloucester City a School Choice District. We have also voted against bussing students to the Alternative High School while every other regluar High School student has to walk. We have voted to apply for a grant which could pay 75% of the salaries to have an armed full time police officer in every school protecting our children and staff (currently, there is one police officer at the high school only). We have demanded that the Altenative School no longer take costly field trips for their gym credits while they are housed in a school with two gymnasiums and outdoor facilities. We have voted against spending approximately $40,000 of tax payer money for security/lock down training that our Police Department can and will provide for free.
I am new to the Board and I am still learning as I go. I do not know all of the rules of the Abbot District but I can tell you that my children have attended the Pre-School and I support it. I would look at other more expensive programs to cut before voting to cut the Pre-School. In my opinion, our residents use that program more than all the others. 
I am not the type of person who will just take the easy way out of anything. I hope that anybody that knows me would agree. I have no problem voting against the majority of the Board and my voting record indicates that. 
With that said, I congratulate Coach James and wish him the best in his coaching career.

Worked there said...

Bill Jr. You were fine in what you said until you mentioned darrow. The reason he voted against school choice is because Brooklawn already is and would steal children from them.

Taxpayer said...

Gloucester City nepotism never ends. You can give a hundred reasons why...but you all know he was given the job because he is a James. Hope he doesn't have his fathers arrogant personality. I'm still amazed that the same families rule this town. They should take a look around ....nothing to be proud of.