0

Newton Poll for Jan. 5, 2014

The Newton Poll is a weekly compilation of reader comments and opinions on subjects of local interest. The Newton Citizen publishes as many comments as space allows. Comments, which may be edited for space or content, are published anonymously on Sunday. To submit a comment, call 770-483-7108, ext. 403, email: poll@newtoncitizen.com or complete the online form.

——

“There used to be a working relationship of trust between the Newton County Board of Commissioners, the elected constitutional officials and the rank and file county employees. If county employees worked hard, obeyed work rules, took care of the citizens, and were good stewards of taxpayer dollars, you knew you would never get rich, but in return you would be paid a competitive wage, have job security, and receive a modest retirement after many years of service. After Arron Varner and the then county commissioners gutted our little retirement they set about reduced pay and benefits. Many cities including Conyers and Covington pay their employees much more for the same work and they have competitive benefits and we do not. If you started working for Newton County seven years ago, after furlough days, benefit cuts and inflation you would be now be making 25 percent less today than the day you started. There is no reason for young people to go to work for Newton County. Check for yourself about how bad things are. Please ask any elected constitutional officer what they think about how their employees are being compensated compared to other government employers. Ask any Newton County employee about how they feel. Would they recommend family or friends apply?”

——

“As an educator I would really like an explanation from Eddie Johnson for why he continues to keep our school system in possible violations of Open Meetings laws and why he persists in disrupting or either interfering with BOE protocol and meeting regulations. Why can’t the school board just meet and do their job and shut up? Why the attacks on fellow board members? Lie detector tests? Who does he think he is? I hope they laughed in his face. This is what happens when districts elect people like him and can’t get behind a candidate to oppose him because, , one wants to be on the Newton BOE and the morale in our system is so bad and the tension is so thick you can cut it with a knife. We are tired of being told to Tweet during the school day by central office leaders, and we are tired of the numbing meetings and the principals who show no respect for teachers. Many teachers are looking to get out of Newton County so I imagine just like the last year when no one reported how many left in 2012 or 2013 you will see a lot of good quality people go to nearby systems, private schools or into other businesses completely. It is a poorly led system at the present time. When we see that behavior of a school board member who has no appreciation for policy and the written law, we then know it is crumbling from the top down. Lie detector tests? Still hard to get past that one.”

——

“Our Newton school board is shockingly out of order. Why was the whole Eddie Johnson lie detector apparent rampage allowed to go on? Why are meetings at the Newton BOE treated with so much lack of respect for law? We deserve answers from those who act like this. This is not the first time this board has held either illegal or apparently illegal meetings and violated board protocol. Why all the behind-the-scenes stuff like with SPLOST meeting in a quorum and now this meeting in a quorum. I saw no advertisement that there would be a meeting before the meeting? How can we trust the Newton BOE?”

——

“Some 2014 things we should be able to learn more about. Who is the point person who is responsible for the failure to collect and report data, if that is the true cause of the low graduation rates at Newton High? Is it the principal? Who is it? Is that person being held accountable for this? This is public data and we pay salaries on the public dole so the public should be told all of these details since this number is hurting our community and property values. Is the E-SPLOST language going to be written accurately by this board? There is no urgent need for a replacement high school. Enrollment in NCSS is not near the 25K mark where this E-SPLOST is based on. Was this a lie to voters? What does the board have to say about the illegal meetings in 2012 and again in 2013 and the discussion of non-closed session topics in closed session and the SPLOST quorum meeting and the recent quorum to discuss lie detector tests? Baxter, is this where you want to send your kids to school? I doubt so. … Expose the process of hiring in 2013 whereby people from Bibb County were hired at Newton High and the additional counselor was hired at the career academy. We pay for all of this and have the right to know what is happening behind the scenes in our schools. I will work on the BOC next week. The Chamber will take pages so that will come later. Can the BOE be transparent or do they just hope this will go away like the missing money allegations at Alcovy High where the past superintendent basically admitted it was true to the paper.”

——

“Honestly and for realzzz — what is up with the Newton school board? Lie detector tests? Did I read that right? They act crazy in my opinion at the meetings shouting out last year about “educational assassination” and bad grammar and no clue about the rules of order and legal meetings. Is this a circus? Do they sell popcorn at these meetings? Have they ever thought about not reading the Citizen Poll, or if they insist on reading it finding out how to fix the problems in the school system? Teachers are ready to walk. Expect to see many leave NCSS this year.”