Monday, January 4, 2010

What's really up with the "Citizens Advisory Committee"?

I've been digging. And what I've unearthed is very interesting. DeKalb schools created this entity called the "Citizens Advisory Committee" - with this stated mission, found at the DCSS website,

"As with the SPLOST II program, the DeKalb County Board of Education will appoint an independent Citizens Review Committee. Their purpose is to oversee and monitor DeKalb County School System SPLOST III projects in an advisory capacity. The goal of this committee will be to develop and foster public trust in the management of SPLOST funds."

Ironically, the Chair of the current committee is none other than – David Moody, president of C. D. Moody Construction - one of DCSS main construction contractors! I don't see how this is ethical. Additionally, Pope's secretary is also a Moody - with the following salary information available at the state's open records website.

$77,489.26 salary +$729.23 expense

Check out the meeting minutes she wrote up for the Sept 10, 2009 “Citizens Advisory Committee” meeting. Very enlightening stuff – but can we believe EVERYTHING that was discussed was really covered in the minutes? How are we to trust this tight-knit group who stand to benefit from the decisions of this committee? Although Moody is a great contractor and does very good work, serving on (chairing!) this committee is truly the fox watching the henhouse, man, it just looks bad.
Regarding that point about the fox - here’s a very revealing quote from those minutes, “Mr. McChesney stated that the CAC members are the “Watch Dogs” over the money.” Yowsa!! I thought YOU and the board were supposed to do that Don!
Now, I have to ask, how is it that one of the most utilized construction contractors is the CHAIR of the "Citizens" Advisory Committee? How is it that someone with the same last name, Moody, is the secretary to the head of Operations? PRIVVY to ALL the SPLOST and construction secrets? Are we to believe that these people are so above board that they don't share information around the dinner table? That's a whole lotta trust they're asking for.
Sidebar: You DSA parents might like to hear Pope’s reason for DSA’s delays (FWIW, she used the same reason for the Cross Keys delays).

“What’s the status of DSA? -- Ms. Pope shared that the project was 3 ½ weeks delayed due to the instruction staff wanting to redefine the use of the facility. The theatre was never to open at the beginning of the school year; it was scheduled to open in September; but, is now 3 ½ weeks behind also. In a week or two the lower level will open and the theatre will open shortly afterwards.”
Here's a little more - check out the link to the Operations Org Chart. Look at all the people who report(ed) to Pat Pope. The chart is dated August 14, 2006, so it's old, however, one key person caught my eye. Look under transportation. Way down at the bottom we find "Fleet Operations Asst Director", Harold Lewis ($101,720.00 salary in 2008). Yes, Lewis - as in cousin of Crawford. Interesting that he in under the chain of command of David Guillory, "Transportation Executive Director", who is also the son-in-law of former board member Francis Edwards (2008 salary of $113,106.00). In fact, Francis' daughter Philandrea Guillory is also employed in DCSS - as an "Information Services Personnel" at a 2008 salary of $113,094.00. Thanks for the quarter-million dollars a year, mom!

You will notice that many of the positions at the time of this chart were not filled - especially the construction positions. If anyone has access to an updated chart, please leave a link in the comments - I would dearly LOVE to know who got those jobs - and what their qualifications were. (More importantly - who their relatives are.)

2010 looks to be a bang-up year. Right out of the starting gate - the board is scheduled to vote on the raise Dr. Lewis is demanding. My prediction for tonight’s board meeting is that the board will give Lewis the raise he seeks, tying it up with a big red bow, knowing fully that it’s really just a retirement gift – bloating his retirement check for him in perpetuity. A “thank-you” parting gift, if you will. The man will surely retire very soon – (he would never take a job elsewhere) – he needs to exit stage left and he knows it. This will become very obvious after the trial starts in March – which could be why the sudden pressure to discuss salary now… before the light is turned on.

After that - this blog will be very, very busy.


Anonymous said...

Do know when and where is the next Citizens Advisory Committee?

Cerebration said...

No, but they appear to always take place on the second Thursday of the month at the Sam Moss Center at 5 pm. Ask a board member - or one of these members listed on the minutes -

Sandra Arnold
Pamela Buncum
Bob Chambers
David Cherry
Terracer Earnest
Ted Golden
Tim Hasan
Janet Haury
Keith Lamar
Martha McJilton
C. David Moody
Terry Morris
Marshall Orson
Eddy Rhinehart
Gary Roberson
Helen Smith
Will Thomas

Cerebration said...

BTW - I don't think this committee has succeeded in their mission -

The goal of this committee will be to develop and foster public trust in the management of SPLOST funds."

It is VERY hard to find out any information anywhere about what they are up to.

Anonymous said...

BTW, the DSA Theatre is not open yet (hopefully when we return, but we haven't had an announcement and our Winter Dance Concert--Jan 22-23-- will be held at McNair).

Also, the 9th grade building, band room, and other Avondale facilities that were included in the DSA move funds weren't ready for occupancy by the end of the 1st semester!!! As noted before on this blog, the Avondale students were using trailers all 1st semester! Absolutely unacceptable!

Yet any time Pat Pope was questioned last year about the start date of this construction and concerns that it wouldn't be completed on time, she poo-poed all of the questioners.

Anonymous said...

...and Pat Pope's assertion that the administrators at Avondale and DSA had instructional changes that delayed the start of construction is false. She didn't start using that excuse until the summer.

Anonymous said...

At one school, they blamed the delay in starting construction on the fact that summer school was being hosted at the school.

Only problem? It wasn't. So then Pope and her staff tried to blame the delay on the principal and "instructional changes." Again, I have to think that there is something other than usual government ineptness in all these delays, but it does smell funny to me.

Anonymous said...

ooh how the lies of Patricia A. Pope are starting to catch up with will the Board start to hear the truth from the citizens of DeKalb and dismiss Lewis and Pope.....stop allowing them to throw our tax dollars away on their personal agendas

Cerebration said...

I found the agenda for the scheduled Nov 12 CAC meeting at the operations page - but no minutes -- I wonder if the meeting occurred? Judging from the agenda, the minutes would be interesting. Guess the secretary fell down on the job? (Maybe she's not paid enough!) ;-)

E. New Business
1. Dr. Crawford Lewis, Board Policy BBF
2. Elect CAC Co-Chair
3. Introduction of Interim CIP Operations Officer
4. Introduction of Project Managers
5. Status on Redistricting/Consolidation/Closure Plan
6. Review Approved 2nd Qtr 2009 Local School Priority Requests [LSPR]
7. Presentation on all Projects (44)

Anonymous said...

David Cherry is Lynn Cherry's newphew. He is a super young man.

I heard that both Orson and Ernest Brown may have been placed back on the committee due to the need for past board members from the past. I hope this is true. Both of them deserve to be there.

Bob Chambers, Pam Buncum, Ted Golden, and Terry Morris, are all outstanding candidates also by looking at a glance. I am sure that they all will keep everything in check. They all are great representatives.

I have been sick and missed our discussions. I have forgot my password. I guess I will have to dig for it. I have been busy in school and then sick since the holidays. Hopefullly, I can find my password and be back on soon if I have some time.

I really do not have much time when I am in school. Hopefully, I can get more involved this spring.

As far as a salary increase, I sincerely believe that an increase is deserved. I look at the salaries of CEO's and running a school system with the amount of money that runs through the school systems and the expectations we all have and I know that any superintendent earns every penny they get just like principles earn every penny they receive.

I hate to disagree, but I must. I am working on my specialist degree in administration and it is extremely expensive. It will cost me almost 1/3 of my yearly salary. To get my doctorial if I continue it will cost me almost my years salary.

Respectfully, I must disagree on administrators salaries.

Ella Smith

Anonymous said...

How does CAC differ from this group, a notice that I just received?


The next meeting of the DCSS Parent Advisory Committee will be Thursday, January 14, 2010 beginning at 9:00 am at the William Bradley Bryant Center. All parents are invited to attend.

The program will include a DCSS Environmental Committee update, Charter School information, Magnet School information, and Redistricting information.

For more information please contact Pam Tallmadge at

These all seem like useless groups. The administration, whether at the home office or locally in the respective schools, seems to do whatever they please regardless of what parents or taxpayers want.

Cerebration said...

Ella! So glad to have you back!! I hope you are feeling better...we so appreciate your honesty here.

Anon - as far as this group - the Citizens Advisory Committee is strictly charged with SPLOST oversight. I am not clear on their exact purpose, but the committee was born out of the completely bungled spending of SPLOST 1 We're talking hundreds of millions of dollars...

Think about that the next time you "dis" a penny!

Cerebration said...

Oops - almost 6:00 - Time for the board meeting! Tune in to Comcast 24 and watch it live!

Lefty said...

From the 9/10/09 CAC minutes, future meetings will be 1/14/2010, 3/11/2010 and 5/13/2010. All meetings start at 5pm at the Sam Moss Ctr.

That November meeting did happen. The team from the projects management firm gave a detailed review of projects in the works.

Anonymous said...

I need to also indicate that I feel that I am not for sure that a raise currently in the school superintendents salary in justified at this time due to the hardships of the bus drivers, the cafeteria workers, etc, and of course the teachers in our county.

I think it is not fair for the school board to give the boss a raise and tell everyone else we do not have money for them. Do not take my comments above as meaning I feel a salary increase should be given currently. I am not so sure about that.

However, I still feel strongly that administrators are worth the money that they make. I actually had one of the local county directors as a professor and found that he was extremely professional and I learned a great deal. I was so impressed with his knowledge of Educational law and his ability to pull up the law when we asked a question. I was also so impressed with his love of the DeKalb County School System. He wants the same thing we want which is a great school system for DeKalb County.

He has a Doctorial Degree which I am sure cost him about 40-50 thousand dollars as I know where he attended school. That is not covering his specialist degree, masters degree, or bachelors degree. These educators have a great deal of money invested in there education and most of them are paying it off over a number of years. Most educators do not have that kind of money available to them.

Many times we do not look at the big picture and the investment of time and money many of these county administrators have made in there lives and the knowledge there do have. I would just like to see more of it shared with the teachers in the schools. Many of these individuals are very talented but do not have contact with teachers on a regular basis which is sad to me.


Cerebration said...

So - they approved Lewis' contract, but we don't know what it actually says. Womack made a point of stating that compared - as written - to Lewis' 2007 contract - there is only a $500 difference.

Walker made the clarification that those who didn't want to give Lewis a raise - didn't think that way because he doesn't deserve it - Walker thinks Lewis deserves a raise. It's just that the timing is really, really bad.

I agree. Judging from the speakers during the public comments, giving Lewis a raise right now would destroy morale across the board. Teachers have given up so much - STEP increase, cost of living raises, annuity contributions, reduction in the county's share of the cost of health benefits, furlough days, etc. Bus drivers have also had to endure horrendous cuts. When you are at the bottom - and have to take a 15-30% pay cut (often in the form of less hours or routes) - it's a game-changer. A 2% pay cut for an administrator simply means eating out less.

The times really are a changin'.

Anonymous said...

Anon 5:42 -

The Parents' Advisory Committee is supposed to be a vehicle for reporting to DCSS what is going on in the schools, getting questions from the individual schools / parents answered and getting info back from DCSS to schools. A parent rep from each school supposedly attends.
From personal experience, doesn't actually work this way. The attendees listen to someone from DCSS speak and then they go home.

Anonymous said...

They are also suppose to review the needs of the schools in the county and make recommendations to the superintendent about the most pressing needs of the counties schools.

You will notice that District 2 positions are always from the Lakeside/Druid Hills area. District 9 will never select anyone from the Cross Keys area either. They always get left out. (I always advocate for Cross Keys. They are one of the underdog schools.)

I noticed that another track got taken care of around the McNair area. Why does no one fight for school athletic facilities in the north end. I never hear a school board member go to bad to get a track re-surfaced like I hear from the McNair area. Maybe the squeeky wheel is getting oiled. (just kidding)


Lefty said...

IMHO, the reason that sports facilities are maintained better in the south end is because parents (and perhaps community leaders) there see sports as a career path. Sports are just an extra-curricular activity for most kids in the north end of the county.

Cerebration said...

Uh Lefty - have you been to Tucker HS???

Anonymous said...

Good job Cerebration.
I just came over from Community Radar because your article was posted--so the system is working.

Aren't these reps picked specifically because they can be "reasoned" with? Ball-busters wanted.

Lefty said...

That's true Cere. But I suspect sports is considered a career path at Tucker too.

Cerebration said...

Oh yeah - those boys are good! Not only that - did you know they have built homes for Habitat for Humanity? Pretty good kids overall...

Anonymous said...

Love you, but you are way off on your assessment of the committee. Terry Morris is a fossil, with no idea what is going on in schools today. Bob is a nice guy, but so risk averse he waffles like crazy. Looking at that list, only Pam Buncum, Marshall Orson and Will Thomas jump out as people who will really look at the issues and ask hard questions. And I wish Ernest Brown was on there!

Justice in Dekalb said...

Justice is still here! Never fear.......

Know this - I dance to my own tune and I beat my own drum. The information that I have shared so far is so so so miniscule that it is almost laughable. Give me a little more credit than that. (And yet the emails that I continue to receive for pre-orders of my book, for additional information, for interviews, for investigative help, etc. is AMAZING!). This is not a job for the average, the weak or the meek at heart....

For me, this DeKalb situation is most fascinating...kinda reminds me of a Rubik’s Cube. A Puzzle. And I am proud to say that I have broken the code. Solved the puzzle. Got the answers. Know the connections and all of the diabolical intricacies involved. Now, let me say...I am blown away by the Brilliance of such a scheme. Truly. So much so that I wrote a book about it BLACKBOARD CORRUPT! And am now working on my second book JUSTICE IN DEKALB - The Aftermath!
As for the "Anon" who continues to cast aspersions my way ....... Whatever. So unworthy of a response from me.......

In retrospect, I imagine that I could have connected the dots a bit more for my fellow Bloggers; however, this is a situation in which...either you get it or you don’t. The Broward address in Florida with the Popes and Cooper Co. seems to have been received with mix reviews, which I find interesting because for me, the very foundation of this diabolical scheme rests on the ability to see what others can not see ...connect what others have In order to de-construct this master must acknowledge the motivator (MONEY FOR CONSTRUCTION FRAUD!!!!!) and understand the relationships of the parties involved. Next, look for the common links...but always always remember that nothing is as it seems!

As for the Heery/Mitchell lawsuit...the research that I did at the courthouse was 2 incredible days....the info gather simply confirmed some of my previous findings but by no means ...and I mean by no means is this what I have used to make my case. As a matter of a fact, I would caution anyone out there to be weary of true "justice" coming out of that case. Too political. Too much money....too many bodies burried! Do your research, people! But, again, do not take that piece of the puzzle in not so easily disregard that important piece of the puzzle so quickly. In order to de-construct this master must acknowledge the motivator (money from construction fraud) and understand the relationships of the parties involved. Next, look for the common links...but always always remember that nothing is as it seems!

Confession took me approx 3 to 5 months to uncover this constrution corruption and about 2 years to thoroughly research. Not conjecture but solid proof. I am simply discriminate with who I share my documents and information with. Please feel free to email me at

Anonymous said...

my earlier post is not here, don't know why, but I guess it's another reason I don't like Internet Explorer (it looked like it posted!)
Anyway, Janet Haury is a longtime parent at Coralwood and 2x pres of the foundation. she's going to make sure Coralwood gets the expansion they want (they got full reno - really nice - in 2004, and a KaBOOM! playground - she's good)
She's a mover and shaker, so she's a good rep for the CAC, tho I know her interests are in getting that pool and first-class therapy center at Coralwood.
don't know any of the others, but Cere, you're so right, why IS Moody head of the CAC?
Re: no Cross Keys person representing northern schools - they don't have the bandwidth. At this point, they barely have a PTA and most of the parents are too busy working to put in the kind of time required.

Anonymous said...

Annoynous, I see the good in everyone. That is just who I am. I really need to dig and find my password or either remember it so I can be myself again and not annoynous. I am not much for anonymous. I am just who I am.

However, many students in the northside of the county also have scholarship opportunties and I feel it is extremely discriminatory not to treat all athletic fields equally. Is Cross Keys' fields getting a face lift?

My son will probable have both academic and athletic opportunites in soccer. He is an Olympic Developmental Soccer Player and also has scored well on PSATs since in the 6th grade. I think it is important to provide all types of opportunities for our studies in all parts of the north, south, east and west part of the county.

I was under the impression that both Earnest Brown and Marshall Orson were not appointed to the advisory committee at the school board meeting that they were approved. Then I heard through the grapevine they had been appointed later. Now I see only one name. I hope both of them are on the board as they both will represent the county well.

Ella Smith

Anonymous said...


Ernest Brown was removed by Gene Walker who made new appointments. The Supt. tried to remove Marshall Orson and replace him with Terracer Earnest but since that was in direct violation of board policy (committee members are to serve as long as the person who appointed them is still in office) Marshall stayed on the committee. Now Paul Womack is leading the charge to change the committee's rules so that committee members serve for one year only but this violates the state SPLOST regulations. The DeKalb county legislative contingent is watching the situation to make sure state rules are followed, but shenanigans abound. One thing is for certain, the board wants zero community input and is doing everything they can to eliminate it.

Kim Gokce said...

@Ella: "Is Cross Keys' fields getting a face lift? "

Welcome back!

No. In fact, there is no money earmarked for any grounds or landscaping whatsoever.

Regarding "no Cross Keys person representing northern schools" .... though Pam Buncum live in the Chamblee Charter attendance area of Brookhaven, I consider her an advocate for our kids' schools.

Anonymous said...

Kim Pam is great. I agree. She is so good.

Actually I heard pretty straight that someone else wanted Marshall removed and he stayed as he was appointed by either Dr. Halford or Elizabeth Andrews and her term was not over. (Sometime like that) I heard (politically) from others who were directly affected that school board members elected did not want them on this council. Now I did not hear this from the school board members so I heard this one-sided so I do not know this to be true.

I do know that they were not on the original list and there was some problems and now it looks like at least one of them appears to be back. That is interesting. I am glad.

I do occassionally jump on to see what is happening. I just do not have time to write anymore. One more semester from ___________ and them maybe I can be an administrator and get these big bucks we are all talking about on this site. However, I do not think I would want to be an AP or a principal.

By the way I had to go downstairs and eat with husband for a few minutes last night and missed the election of the chairman of the school board. I was hopeful that Mr. Bowen was definitely elected again. He is such a good chairman. He is so polite to the teachers, school bus drivers and citizens of Dekalb who speak. What happen? Was there any comments? What did I miss?

Ella Smith

Cerebration said...

Yes, Tom Bowen is once again chair. That's the best news. He is a board member we can be proud of and we need to mention that more often. He seems to be a person of integrity.

Zepora is also still vice chair. She has her heart in her job and looks out for her schools - wish she had been my board rep all these years.

Not much discussion. No debate. Very dull meeting all in all. In fact, I think they were finished by about 7:20 or so.

Anonymous said...

Great. I am happy. He is a jewel. We are lucky to have him.

Did you see the news about Womack and the $15,000 raise the school super got? It was interesting last night at 11. Apparently the news channel questioned Womack's 500.00 increase also and he indicated that legal council had explained it this way. Apparently someone is trying to make the situation look rosey.

Also when asked about the teachers who were disappointed and felt mistrust in the school board and that would leave the system. He indicated this was there decision and they could leave. Having advocated for teachers in his election campaign I was extremely disappointed.

He also mentioned that this was strictly a business decision. He mentioned making the decision to protect students in Dekalb from losing Dr. Lewis and possible preventing him from taking a position at another school system. This might have been the big problem not mentioned much. They payed him to stay to protect the students' interests.

Celebration, we need to have coffee. Email me.

Ella Smith

Anonymous said...

Protect student interests?

What a joke!

Womack is pandering to Lewis to pay back the shift in leadership at Lakeside, I think.

Anonymous said...

If Lewis wants to leave DCSS after over three decades, here's the door, buddy.

There is no doubt in my mind that new leadership could be brought in, cut the entire DCSS budget by 5%, and could still improve facilities, academics and teacher morale. The administrative bloat machine is at full strength, and Lewis was one of the lead architects.