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Nice Post Celeb!Ella
you know...sigh...if they had put measures like this in place and created more "transparency" DCSS would not have wasted millions on a lawsuit and maybe this Ms. Pope matter would have been caught sooner(if there is anything to catch) afterall you can't get rid of someone because they make bad business decisions...if so how many BOE members would be left standing....get a clue...this is all a big dog and pony show and we are all being taken for fools by Lewis....JMO
I wish her "special project" was LHS.
We do have issues with board members. One in particular, Jay Cunningham is at risk financially. He ran his campaign on the premise that he is a very astute businessman, owning some pizza restaurants. However, it seems that he has been sued by landlords for non-payment of rent on his pizza places. Go here -http://www.ojs.dekalbga.org/Click on the civil suit tab and then type in Jay Cunningham.Add to this - we already know that Gene Walker has taken $20,000 in campaign contributions from a developer with a keen interest in school-owned property and we may have a couple of people with vulnerable ethics making decisions about someone else's ethics.
That's a great post, Cere. And don't forget we have two board memebrs, Zepora Robers and Sarah Copelin-Wood, that depend on the BOE salary and very generous mileage reimbursements. We should not have BOE members that view the position as a job and source of income.It's amazing to me that none of the current BOE members have children currently in the system. And I wonder if any BOE members are getting jobs for their friends and family, like Frances Edwards blatantly did. I can see the ethically challenged Gene Walker trying that tact.
It was just pointed out (as it must be according to the current bylaws) that two people have been hired with relatives in powerful positions with DCSS - As No Duh informed us in the post about the board meeting, Also, did anyone else catch that of all the unemployed people in Atlanta, by coincidence the BOE agreed to hire Bob Moseley's brother in law as a roofer and Felicia Mitchell's son as a parapro. Today a roofer -- tomorrow Executive Director of Roofing!Now, since Jamey - head of HR - announced that there are so many "new" positions available due to Stimulus funding - I'm sure we can sit back and watch ever long-lost niece/nephew of anyone with any power race to tag one of these jobs. Then - watch them fast track...
Hey 9:45 Anon: "Mileage reimbursements?" The BOE members are not employees of the district, so they're not allowed mileage reimbursements... unless it comes out of their own Board Travel budgets. I have never seen a BOE member claim mileage from their own budget unless it was for an out-of-town BOE related seminar/convention. I hope they're not taking general operations funds for their daily trips around town.
And for the latest update at Atlanta Unfiltered -DeKalb gives Parsons ‘full responsibility’ for school construction — at least for now
Regarding Pope's interim replacement - Barbara Colman came across as very serious, very competent, and very receptive at last night's DCSS' meeting on CKHS SPLOST III and Tech-North move.Regarding Ms. Roberts, she has always listened sincerely when ever I have spoken with her. She also replies to email which is always a bonus in my book. Like the old Peter Sellers movie, "Being There," being there is half the battle and Ms. Roberts is there for her stakeholders.
As someone who knows her and has worked with her, please, please do not be fooled by Zepora.She is in deep with (convicted felon) John Evans. Really deep. She is one of the BOE members that made sure all South DeKalb schools jumped to the head of the line for SPLOST projects, and if you ask her why the funds haven't been distributed better geographically around the county, she will just explode on you, as she did to me. She was vicious and it was a total shock, as she can be sweet as pie.I also talked to her one time about the hiring of families and friends by BOE members and administrators, and she actually supports it. Another shock, but she has no problem with nepotism, and says they are good jobs and BOE family and friends should be able to be hired by DCSS. She sees no conflict of interest.She has been on other county boards and trust me, she is contributing to the North DeKalb/South DeKalb divide, and she routinely blasts the county government as the source of half of the school system's problems.She is definitely great at getting funds and resources for schools in her district, but at the expense of other schools. She has tunnel vision only on her schools, not all DCSS schools. She was one of the board members who wanted to keep the contract with the DCSS lawyer just because she is an African-American female. And she has blasted McChesney to anyone who will listen for even suggesting the system bring on new legal counsel.She does not have a smidgen of a system-wide view. Don't even try to talk to her about the system's and county's growing number of Latino students.She is part of the old guard. She gets involved in day to day management issues at schools where no BOE member has any business getting involved in.We can do such much better than Zepora Roberts on the BOE. Ernest Brown compared to Zepora is no comparasion.
I'm not sure which budget the mileage money comes from, but it's there. The missed and beloved Elizabth Andrews kept her's down to the tenth of a mile, kept her mileage for anything and everything related to DCSS and even non-related county meetings and events, and it really added up. I think it is 53 cents per mile.I agree that BOE members should not be reimbursed for Citizen's Advisory Committee meetings, as they are not on the committee, and if they attend, they need to do so as a private citizen.
"And don't forget we have two board memebrs, Zepora Robers and Sarah Copelin-Wood, that depend on the BOE salary and very generous mileage reimbursements. We should not have BOE members that view the position as a job and source of income."Why not? It's a job.
"Why not? It's a job."Are you serious? It's an elected office with the main functions of drafting policy and supervising the performance of management. It's not close to being a job. There are many city and county school systems where the board of edcuation members only get mileage reimbursement and conference travel reimbursements. A job my @#$.
There are many elected officals who have a salary and mileage. If we follow the business model corporate boards receive pay. These people oversee the policy and well being of a half a billion dollar a year operating budget. For that matter, if you compare the admininstrative salaries of the school system with UPS or IBM they are realitvely little. I won't use business like Citibank, GM, or AIG.The problem is not the the salaries-the voters get what they elect. If you compare the US with any of the countries that regular beat our students on performance in math and science what most of them have in common is no school board.
First time I ever spoke "offline" with ZR, after some meeting or another, I think I asked her something about the difference in spending on north and south schools and without batting an eye she called me a "racist." Mind you this whole exchange took place in about 15 seconds. And there was absolutely no malice in my voice or in my question. I was not asking her a "gotcha" question. What's the point in talking with people like that ever again.Gene and Zepora see color all right. And like an epileptic -- all their brain circuits shut off. There is no cure for epilepsy.
Why hasn't SACS started an investigation into this Board? The effort to bully Board members into voting on racial lines is more than sufficient to put this entire school system on probation. Add the financial mismagement, cheating on CRCTs, the Pat Pope investigation, the Superintendent memo urging staff to support the cheaters and these immature and incompetent Board members and we are Clayton County all over again.However, there is nothing improper with the Board members receiving mileage reimbursement for official travel. The rate is set by the IRS and used by government and all businesses, profit and non profit.
"However, there is nothing improper with the Board members receiving mileage reimbursement for official travel."Yes, for official travel. But some things are unofficial. They are not members of the CAC. If they choose to attend, they need to do so on their own and not try to get reimbursed 53 per mile for it.
As far as Board Members I like Tom Bowen and Pam Spears. They are very professional and about buisness. Jay Cunnigham is a waste of space. He is my district rep and I hate it. He and Horace Dunson are worthless. They need to be tossed out with Crawford Lewis.If the board members white and black to not do something about Crawford, we the voters need to do a recall petition on all of their behinds. Except Tom and Pam.
Let be fair. You spoke on E.Walker and Z Roberts seeing color. Well I think the same can be said for H. Womack. He "reaks" of the "GOOD OLE BOY" mantality.Its like the civil rights of the 60s all over again, except DCSS is majority black now.
Recall petition. I spoke with the State BOE about who was in control of the LBOE. I was informed that we were. We cant get rid of Crawford for his position was appointed, but we can get rid of those board members who are just taking up space at our tax dollar expense. Roberts and Woods are just fisty old biddies LOL, but I do think they care about the interest of the schools and the students. Walker and Womack need to take their differences to the streets and fight it out. We are one Dekalb and they do more harm than good feeding racial differences. McCheney and Redovian appear to be about business aolthough redovain KILLS ME WITH THOSE BEACH BOY SHIRTS LOL!! Jay cunningham is as crooked and sorry as Crawford! He is as much a failure as a board member and represetnative of District 5 as he was a business man. He really needs to go. We as taxpayers need to clean up the BOE so we can get a good superintendent, like Johnny Brown, to clean up the school system.Johnny Brown as I remember came in and got all those retired pension holders, Like Robert Tucker, getting paid as consultant out of the administrative office.I remember we had three teachers set their rooms up one week and were breaking them down the first week of school. they ahd been teaching in the ssytem for two or more years on provisioanl status!!Now my child cant go pass the 1st, 3rd, 5th abd 8th grade if they dont pass the CRCT, but we had teachers teaching that could not pass the certification test!Johnny Brown was from the outside. He did not grow up in the Dekalb game, so he truly had no loyalty to anyone but the students of Dekalb.OUR LOSS TEXAS GAIN!!!
Two questions, perhaps very naive -1) Anon 2:30 suggests we begin recall procedures on selected board members. How to begin this process? I suppose each district would need to have someone organizing the effort, along with someone to organize the effort for the two superdistricts. Big undertaking, although pertty worthwhile in my opinion.2) Can we ourselves get SACS to look at DeKalb? How would we do that? How did SACS come to investigate Clayton? How did that start? How can we make it start here?
Recall petitons require ten signatures to get it started. I am not sure if you can list more than one elected official on the petition. Only those who voted in last election can vote in the recall. Depending on the population of voters, you will need a certain percentage of signatures to recall the elected official.you have to run an ad to give notice of your intent for I beleive 60-90 days.The elected official can not be one that has been in office less than 6 months or ended his or term in 6 months.Get the word out by any means necessary. Each one reach one.Form a communication committee to put of signs, use myspace, facebook, twitter!Do bumper stickers. Get the media involed to get it out.OPEN PANDORA'S BOX OF THESE SORRY BOE fat cats not servicing our children and wasting our tax dollars.Send a strong message to the BOE member that you are sick of being disregarded.
You stated Z. Robert was in deep with convicted felon John Evans. The same John Evans that put out the packet on the DCSS? The same John Evans that once headed the Decatur Chapter of the NAACP? OMG! WHAT DID HE DO?
This is reposted from Ella's thread - for those of you who missed it, Anonymous said...John Evans was the first black county commissioner to be elected in DeKalb County. How did he carry himself after that great achievement? He was arrested and convicted of receiving bribes.He has spent him time out of jail doing everything he can to try to paint a picture of racial divide between North and South DeKalb. Funny, but you'll never see him mention or champion the county's growing Latino population. If he was really intersted in equality, he would be screaming about the conditions of Cross Keys High and Sequoyah Middle.John Evans is a convicted felon, and has absolutely no credibility...NONE!Check page 24:http://www.mass.gov/ig/publ/bidrig.pdfOctober 8, 2009 2:38 PM
John Evans, the first elected black county commissioner in the history of DeKalb County, was convicted of extortion and income tax evasion.pg. 24http://www.mass.gov/ig/publ/bidrig.pdfAs head of the county NAACP chapter, instead of bringing groups together to start positive change, he instead attacks and always "goes negative".He is close friends with Zepora Roberts, and it is true that she has absolutely snapped on people and called them racists if they asked why some schools were receiving more program and constructin schools than others.
WOW!Thanks Cere...did not know that. I met him some years ago while working with the Cynthia McKinney. He seemed so positive, but we were not talking about racial equalities, and I am an African American. You are right! Blacks are not the only minority. The Latino population is treated like they are invisible beyond Buford Highway.If someone from the BOE is reading this Blog:"One Dekalb", with equal opportunity for all of our students; black, white, latino, asian.Bring back "Intrigrity", by one getting rid of Crawford Lewis, before he distroys our school system and you!"RECALL PETITION" TURN UP THE HEATON THE BOE IF THEY WONT LISTEN.RECALL PETITION IS THE WORD FOR THE WEEK DCSW.
Before passing anymore judgement on Pat and the others being investigated, lets just wait and see what she has to say about this mess. We sure are quick to assign guilt, when it could be a smoke screen by others.
Who else is being investigated? I agree about Pat Pope - there simply must be more to the story - she could very well be taking the fall for someone else or she could be just the tip of an iceberg. If they really had any kind of serious evidence, certainly they would have fired her sometime between Dec of 2008 when these charges first surfaced and now. Heck - apparently, she's still going in to work every day. Time will tell - but sadly -- it seems to take a ridiculous amount of time to tell.
I would like for the board to explain how they can justify no contributions to teacher's 403b plan for 12 months. The state furlough was only 4 days. Four days does not equal to a whole year of no contributions to our retirement plan. Teachers have really been taken advantage of in this skituation. Please explain
UPDATE!Atlanta Unfiltered has compiled the first in a short series of posts on the subject. Jim Walls has been researching the case and brings us the latest update -DeKalb County schools' multimillion-dollar damage suit over construction cost overruns may be undermined by a criminal probe of school contracts. Lawyers for a fired construction management firm, Heery/Mitchell, are scheduled to question the schools' chief operating officer, Pat Pope, on Wednesday. Heery/Mitchell wants to hear what Pope knows about a criminal investigation of her handling of school construction contracts.Check out the rest of the story at Atlanta Unfiltered
Another quote from Atlanta Unfiltered - The school district has been locked in a court struggle nearing epic proportions since it suspended its construction management firm, Heery/Mitchell, in 2006. What began with the contractor’s claim for roughly $500,000 for unpaid invoices has escalated to the point that DeKalb, in a counterclaim, seeks damages of up to $125 million for mismanagement. The file for the court case is more than five feet thick.Looks like once again - the attorneys are the only people getting their hands on the money! (If the reports are true that DCSS has already spent $12-14 million in legal fees on this case.) I wonder if anyone's ever reminded them that you can't squeeze blood out of a turnip! DCSS is the one with the money - and they're paying gobs of it to law firms to try to get money back from someone who won't ever be able to pay up!
Really - what would have happened if they had just settled on the $500,000 claim - and moved on?!! Perhaps projects like Lakeside, Dunwoody and Cross Keys would be built by now!
And one more quote -Heery/Mitchell claims its dismissal was just a pretext to place the projects under a new construction manager. In court papers filed last week, its lawyers said ”it was terminated pretextually by the School District to facilitate fraudulent activity in the same projects Heery/Mitchell had been managing.”“… a key component of Heery/Mitchell’s defense is that its termination as SPLOST II program manager was pretextual, in that the School District’s actions to remove Heery/Mitchell from involvement in the selection, deployment, and coordination of architects and contractors and to facilitate the ascension of a DCSD employee now under criminal investigation over her role in discharging Heery/Mitchell’s former duties …”======="pretextual" - interesting word -- here's a definition -pretext : a purpose or motive alleged or an appearance assumed in order to cloak the real intention or state of affairs
14 million! The school system is counter suing for 125 million. HOW FREAKING CUTE!!!A judgement is just that a judgement. It is not money in the bank.Crawford Lewis... YOU ARE AN IDIOT!!!!
Actually, it appears that Heery/Mitchell filed suit for $500,000 - and DeKalb filed a countersuit - then they hired attorneys (who have charged $12-14 million to date) and a consultant who reviewed the change orders on 20 projects (for a fee of $3.6 million) - and now the countersuit claim is up to between $85-125 million.
Heery/Mitchell is in court all over the country. That is where they conduct business. Just Google Heery/Mitchell. I think Pope was set-up. I think she made mistakes but was seized upon as a fall guy. She was hired to fix mistakes made by "Stanley P". Tall price for a good salary.
DCSS has maintenance workers going out in 1994 and earlier trucks that barely run and hardly stop with nothing but heat and oil leaks to try to maintain these schools with old tools and limited supplies, who cares about their morale? Where is the thanks for trying to work with less than the bare essentials? Quality you want professional quality?
You make a good point. Not only are the unrevonated older schools outdated but so are the maintenance trucks and their equipment. However, the tools needed for repairs should match up w/ whats needed to fix an older building's issues as they were both manufactured circa late 60s early 70s. I have worked closely with the plant engineer and principal at my child's school and have found that if the work order isn't submitted in exacting, painful detail the job doesn't get done. If you have a sink that needs repairs because it drips they will bring a new washer and nothing else, when the washer isn't the problem...to bad for you. We get "I'm sorry, you will need to submit a work order again." Thus begins the process of repeating and repeating work orders for the same repair; until they throw up their hand and say screw it, let it drip.
I believe that. There is no room for logic and no empowerment for employees to make judgment calls.We (PTSA Volunteers)needed some items from the central office delivered to the gym. Our principal put in the work order. After the order was submitted, we changed our minds and wanted the items in the cafeteria instead -- but the items were already on the way. When the employees showed up with the heavy items in the gym -- we happened to be there (we are not administrators of the school, so no authority whatsoever) and asked if they could put the items in the cafeteria instead. Nope, work order says "Gym." No big deal, but an example of ridiculous constraints on employees who must be very frustrated with the mandated inflexibility of their jobs. Why couldn't they write a note on the work order citing my name and getting my signature (if necessary) to indicate that I was the person who changed the request? Seems like the employees would appreciate a little latitude to think!I get process, I get forms, I get accountability -- I get it!! I just know that too much process can be debilitating. Common sense is squeezed out of the equation.
Yes, Heery-Mitchell has been a problem in other school districts. I've shared this link with you all before - but for those who haven't checked out what HM has going on in Dallas read about it here -Dallas Crooks - Heery Watch
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