Terje Moen, deputy leader of the Norwegian labour organization representing school employees, thinks more top city employees in charge of education in Oslo should consider resigning. Those who worked closely with outgoing schools director Astrid Søgnen, who was forced to resign this week, are at the top of Moen’s list.
He argues that the conflict between Søgnen as a city administrator and the city’s elected political leadership is much more serious than it first appeared. “It’s also deep between leaders at a level under the city government’s elected official in charge of schools, Inga Marte Thorkildsen, and the outgoing Søgnen,” Moen stated in a press release this week. “I expect that the political leadership in Oslo will evaluate whether more administrative employees under Søgnen should resign. We have to clean up after Søgnen.”
Moen’s press release is every bit as remarkable as the one issued by the city when Søgnen was forced to step down. It’s candid to the point that he openly noted how several of Søgnen’s subordinates “still hold powerful positions. If there’s to be any change in school policies in Oslo, Søgnen’s closest colleagues must carry out policy issued by the city government.”
He also called Søgnen’s forced resignation “a victory for democracy. There must be no doubt that it’s the elected officials who shall decide, not the bureaucrats.” He also urged that when the city advertises for her replacement, the position be made available for a set period of time, and not indefinitely, to avoid a new education director from holding power for as long at Søgnen did, for 18 years.