Gene Cassidy | Seven Days | Vermont's Independent Voice

Gene Cassidy 
Member since May 18, 2014



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Re: “The Odd Couple [SIV386]

Great video. Great couple. Comedian Gary Gulman says, 'People always say, "Congratulations on getting married." They should say, "Congratulations on staying married." That's much harder.' You picked a fabulously interesting couple and did a wonderful job showing who they are.

2 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by Gene Cassidy on 02/05/2015 at 4:27 AM

Re: “Superintendent Shuffle: Why Vermont's Top Jobs in Education Turn Over So Quickly

You said it in the description of their jobs - superintendents coordinate special education, testing, transportation and make budgets.
With principals reporting to school boards and teachers governed by contracts negotiated through bargaining units, where does a superintendent's power lie?
We think of them as the heads of school systems, but the truth is, nobody reports directly to them and no one has to do what they say.
They're figureheads, they can be politicians, and they can move pieces of the budget to achieve outcomes they think are best.
But after careers in education, when they have their best ideas and are probably at their professional peak, they have control over bus schedules. Plus they go to - what did Jack McCarthy say - 150 night meetings per school year.
And when something goes wrong, whose name is always in the story? The superintendent's.
As opposed to innovative programs or year after year of crafting and meeting budgets. A superintendent is mentioned then only parenthetically.
It's not surprising that the number of people who see a superintendency as a desirable career move is dropping steeply.

4 likes, 1 dislike
Posted by Gene Cassidy on 05/22/2014 at 5:21 PM

Re: “Vermont Has More Addicts Than It Can Treat, So Why Are Inpatient Facilities Losing Revenue?

I suspect most people who recently have had serious medical care agree that cost-driven medical decisions are just that - cost-driven first, treatment-based second. Medicine isn't special in that sense.
It's true for all sorts of businesses; families as well. Each of us makes the tough decision on 'must have' and 'like to have' when spending within a budget.
Mark Davis's report was an excellent example of the political positions the state takes on one side, providers on the other, both sides saying they represent ‘must have.’
I'd love to see some numbers.
How much does the state pay out to addiction-recovery providers? Where is that money coming from? What portion of the budget is it and what portion of the state-administered medical care budget is it?
Eventually, it all comes from you and me, the taxpayers. Are elected officials working toward the outcomes we want?
There’s a lot to consider but let’s limit it to three things. 1. Strictly by numbers, is it more cost effective to provide the limited treatment now available or are would lengthier, more effective treatment that benefits not only an addict, but the circle of the community in which he or she interacts, be more cost effective?
2. What kind of society or culture do we as Vermonters or Americans want to live in? Do we want to live in a 'heroin use is on the rise' world with lots of crime news to keep the media churning or do we want to spend some of our finite resources on limiting a pretty useless, destructive and deadly way to get high?
3. Are we willing to spend more than the state is spending now simply to help people on heroin? They're probably poor to begin with, probably otherwise involved in crime, and they're definitely non-productive. Is the Titanic a good model where hubris reigned and the lifeboats will only hold a select few or are we smart enough to figure out a way to avoid and effectively deal with disaster.
Don't get cynical about this. It's possible, without raising taxes, and without similarly underfunding or eliminating other deserving and essential programs, to make Vermont's heroin-treatment system work, at least better than it does in the picture painted in Mark Davis's story.

Posted by Gene Cassidy on 05/18/2014 at 7:18 PM

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