Newton Citizen Poll for Feb. 17, 2013

The Newton Citizen Poll is a compilation of opinions submitted by readers. They do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the Citizen newspapers. If you agree or disagree with something you read here, you may respond by emailing poll@newtoncitizen.com or call 770-787-7303, ext. 1349. Please remember that the Citizen Poll is not a forum for comments either for or in opposition to candidates seeking elective office.

"Just a suggestion on what the NCSS might reconsider to help students perform at a higher level. A few years ago NCSS adopted the concept of having a school year with fall, winter and spring breaks of five days each, with one of the benefits being the students need time off for 'stress relief.' In my opinion, this concept is actually counter-productive for these reasons: 1. Upon returning to the classroom after these breaks a few days are required to bring these students back up 'speed' to the point where they were prior to the break. Kinda' like coming back to work after a week or two of vacation. 2. Students do get breaks -- six early dismissal days for teacher planning, 13 total days for various holidays. 3. The school year starts at the first week in August (right in the middle of the heat of 'Dog Days,' plus school bus rides aren't very fun -- the boys are sweating and the girls are glistening when they walk into school or go home -- not a good way to start the day. Classrooms tend to be hotter than normal. Cooler temperatures are better for a learning environment. Students are more alert. 4. Certainly these additional breaks cause an inconvenience for the working parents/guardians. 5. For those that plan to further their education they will find life at the college or university is much different -- it is full of stress, a lot more reading and 'individual" work assignments, not much time to meet with the professor or instructor, not a lot of room for 'popcorn' (full of air with little substance) excuses and not a lot of 'chill down' time. For those that plan to work -- it is 40 hours per week, 50 weeks (after your earned two weeks vacation) per year and seven to 10 paid holidays/year. School systems are to prepare students for success after high school. It seems to me this system with 33 total days off plus six days of early dismissal is counter-productive to achieving that goal plus NCSS achievements on standardized testing has been nothing to brag about. The only benefit might be that for the teachers and administration but there is lots of time off of school during the summertime."

"It has been two years since Newton County Transportation implemented the three-tier bus schedule to save on fuel costs. I'm an interested taxpayer and have compared 10 bus drivers salaries for the past two years (2011 and 2012). Eight of the 10 drivers salaries increased by at least $7,000 (lowest) to $11,000 (highest). One particular driver's salary increased from $37,000 to $48,000! Not too shabby for a job that is considered part-time employment. I worked on one job for 27 years and made $40,000 one year! My point is this: Has this three- tier schedule really saved any money? Has anyone at the BOE compared the numbers before and since the three-tier schedule? Anyone out there still looking for a job may want to consider applying for a bus driver position in Newton County ... just saying. This is an afterthought: I have seen a bus driver on three different occasions on County Line Road at a time before and after school pick-up (no children on board). I thought buses were not to be driven home?"

Editor's note: According to Sherri Davis-Viniard, director of Public Relations with Newton County School System: "The savings attributed to the implementation of the three-tier transportation model were realized primarily through a reduction in staffing and the costs associated therewith. It also increased the total number of hours for some of the remaining school bus drivers. Adding hours to a smaller number of employees is more cost effective than paying additional salary and benefits for a larger number of employees. Further, driver's hours may also increase due to programmatic changes which are designed to meet the needs of students, requiring drivers to work beyond the school day, or, the school year."

"The Old Man was looking through the TV Guide the other day and I saw that most of the new shows and the returning shows were made up of blood and guts all over the place and some shows that not too long ago were considered soft porn. Of course, if one station has blood all over the place the next stations will have to have more blood and parts scattered around. Don't know how they can make it more grisly, but I am sure the writers will snort a couple more lines and come up with something. Then there are those shows that really push the envelope as far as lovemaking. They seem to have to take up five minutes of the show to demonstrate. And so you ask why don't I get rid of my TV set and listen to CD's or something. Because there are several good shows but if the producers don't think they are bringing in the money they shift them around or cancel them. The main thing here is money. They don't care what the majority of the public wants. Yes, I watch TV. I watch 'How It's Made,' PBS, and I like 'NCIS.' Now that show has some blood and guts, but it isn't continuous and the main thing is the actors know how to act. It is doing great in the ratings, but if the characters start wanting more money it will probably be cancelled. Then they will put in a cheap reality show that is about as real as watching grass grow. These shows are really cheap though, so that is why there are so many of them. I don't know if you have noticed but I think the commercials are getting longer. I timed them once and found for every hour, 20 minutes was taken up with commercials. This does not include the pop-ups and the racing through some of the news shows so they can get a few commercials in. Maybe this will turn around someday."

"I thought we got rid of Mort Ewing and his sidekick, Tim Fleming, but it seems that nothing has changed. At the last BOC meeting, the usual antics continued with the new BOC members, John Douglas, J.C. Henderson and Levie Maddox. They voted to simply vote to award two five-year contracts without bidding them to see if they could save any money for the county. How do we get rid of the 'good ole' boy' politics in this county?"

"This message is for my fellow Newton County citizens and taxpayers. Please attend the Board of Commissioners meetings! You need to know how your elected officials are mismanaging our tax dollars! On Feb. 5, three of the five commissioners voted to award without bid or competition, two five-year contracts to two vendors (Landscape and Recycle Center). The total cost for these contracts is over $2.5 million. The way I see it, this is totally unethical! I work for a government agency and all contracts and requests for services over $3,000 must be solicited for offers or bids. State procurement policies, which provide guidance to local agencies, follow similar guidelines, so it would seem that the actions of the BOC are unethical, if not criminal. Please join me on Tuesday, Feb. 19, at 7 p.m. at the BOC meeting. Let's stand up and be heard. Tell the commissioners that their actions are wrong and that the decisions that they are making do not represent us and are wrong for us as a county and taxpayers. Send them emails and tell them to stop the mishandling of our tax dollars!"

"To the members of the Newton County BOC that voted to award contracts without competition, I ask you, 'If you were making these purchases with your own money would you have done the same thing?' Somehow, I doubt that you would make a purchase totaling thousands of dollars without shopping to make sure that you got the best price or deal for your money. I believe that your wives would insist that you shop for the best value and handle your money more wisely. Might I suggest for future decisions, that you handle the taxpayers' money more like you would if it were your personal monies. Offer the contracts under open competition to ensure that Newton County is indeed getting the best price and/or value and follow the ideals of fairness and equitability, and maximization of competition as outlined in your mission statement."

"I was appalled to read about the most recent Board of Commissioners meeting where the commissioners decided that, 'If it ain't broke don't fix it.' What a vacuous, ridiculous attitude. Bless Nancy Schulz and Lanier Sims for reminding these people that putting services out to bid is part of their job. If it is too much trouble, why are you there? Get another job. I was particularly shocked with this attitude coming from John Douglas, the newest commissioner. ... "

"As a concerned citizen of Newton County after reading the very short Newton Citizen Poll last week, it seems no one really cares about our school tax money. I didn't write or call in because I was real mad, but now I am even madder. Like Darrell Huckaby tells about us lintheads, $70,000 is a lot of years working in a cotton mill. Back then, probably eight years for my mother, but it seems the school board doesn't see it that way. You must all make good money. If my thinking is correct, Mr. Carpenter was going all over the United States putting in for other school district jobs. I don't think he was asked to leave, but if I was charge when he messed up the bid money for the school and left out the stadium (lights), he would have been fired then. I hope and pray our school board gets recalled because they are not taking care of our tax money. Thank you for letting me get this off my chest before i have 'the big one' like Fred Sanford says."

==="I was glad to read that the Carpenters are leaving town and I wish them well in Missouri; however, I don't understand why the taxpayers are providing termination fees or harassment fees. It was their choice to leave. It was LaQuanda Carpenter's choice to file a suit and later rescind it. That had nothing to do with the school system. The school system did not harass her. That was a personal problem. The taxpayers should not be charged for her problems."

"I was calling about Obama coming to Atlanta. I wonder will they allow him to talk to the police officers involved in that scandal while he's up there? Let him see the real story. I doubt it."

"I was calling about the 10 police officers in Atlanta ... . It seems to me like Kaseem Reed is forever kissing up to Obama. I would just love to hear him explain that to him."


dennistay53 2 years, 9 months ago

The only job that should ever not be bidded by the Board of commissioners would be an EMERGENCY job where time would be of the essence? (chemical spill etc). By not bidding these jobs they are breaking their own Ethics Codes. Commissioners Schultz and Sims should bring them up on these charges. Did anyone notice that when the TSPLOST was up to vote that the Commissioners were saying it had to pass to do necessary road projects? One of the projects was widening and improving Crowell Road. Guess what- they found the funds to do this without TSPLOST. Guess Governor Deal was right when he said they would have to learn to manage.


Frustrated 2 years, 9 months ago

Maybe we should ask the BOC the same question Douglas asked that person. Is your BOC broken? Well maybe it is if they make decisions like they did with the contracts. I have never heard of a government agency putting out contracts with no bidding process. The Ewing wannabe John Douglas is just as bad as Ewing was. I guess J C found somebody to make his decisions for him. For once I wish J C would think for himself istead of being a puppet for someone else.


John 2 years, 9 months ago

Relative to the cost savings "plan" for the school buses I think the BOE needs to advise the "actual & real" results of this "paper study" plan to determine how well the actually plan worked. Any body can come up with a plan that sounds great (aka salesmanship) but the end result must be measured and reported (actual results - without excuses). There are two years of following this plan - but is there a "report card" on how well or otherwise the plan worked.

The same thing goes for the CNG project that The City of Covington & Newton County are undertaking. All research & actual experience with CNG with a major airline headquarted in Houston, TX, I have done says it is not as cost effective in real life as it is when presented on paper unless you have very large fleets like found in large metropolitan areas. The old adage, "figures lie & liars figure" may prove to be true on this project. Had a customer, the fleet manager, that oversaw 4500 pieces of rolling equipment - forklifts, trucks and various pieces of off road equipment, tell me one time - "if a sales person tells me his product can save him money or do anything the other ones can't, he believes nothing that was said, if a sales person is willing to put his claim down in writing & sign it, he believes only 50% of what was written .......... but he is unsure which 50% to believe". He could track by asset number how many spark plugs, filters, hydraulic pumps, starters, repair orders, usage (hours) used on every piece of equipment to detrmine cost/hour of usage - this was in 1976, when computers took up a very large room plus staff to operate (IBM punch cards & Fortran programming).


Henrycounselor 2 years, 9 months ago

Your right the school system did not harass them but they knew if there was a big enough deal made and them playing the I was harassed card the board would eventually get tired of it and do what they wanted.


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