New post: Cherokee School Board Member Marlow Guilty Of Ethics Violations http://t.co/pkg61x0cVp #gapol
Cherokee School Board Member Marlow Guilty Of Ethics Violations http://t.co/qrdazlFyE7
From @peachpundit Cherokee School Board Member Marlow Guilty Of Ethics Violations http://t.co/Nz5khJEme6
Not over – The drama will continue like a movie where the scary ones keep reforming and coming back.
I sent this letter to the School Board on this issue:
My wife and I have lived in Cherokee County for over 12 years. One of our kids graduated from Woodstock High School, and attends Georgia Tech with a 4.0 as M.E. major, while our other child is a strong student at Freedom Middle School.
The math and science program in our community is a strong program, especially for AP students. The Georgia Tech students from Cherokee County from the class of ’12 at Georgia Tech had about 50 percent with a 4.0 GPA. Bottom line, one cannot argue that the school system has shown tremendous improvement under Dr. P, going from a troubled district to one of the top systems in the state.
With that said, I do think the system needs to improve in some areas such as increasing vocational opportunities, internship/co-op opportunities coordinated with business community and online education coordinated with home-school students.
I have always tried to work within the system, and I have found most of the board members receptive to improving the system. In fact, I think the Chairman Janet Read has been a driving force on a board level, pushing for new positive programs like the academy, expanding on line education, and opening up vocational opportunities.
I know Kelly and thought she could do a good job adding a balanced voice to the community. The problem is she does not understand the proper role nor temperament of a board member:
1) The job is to do what is best for the community via our school system. Obviously putting our accreditation at risk over a personal vendetta is not proper behavior for a responsible board member.
2) Board members’ private or public job is oversight of the process, direction and budget. A board member job is not to manage or direct day-to-day operations. Once again, Kelly stepped over the line by bypassing the management structure, and going directly to employees with management type request. This behavior would not be tolerated in the private nor public sector, for obvious reasons of disrupting day-to-day management.
3) Finally, instead of bringing up issues in a constructive manner, she focused on spewing vile, baseless remarks over focusing on core issues, and working on solutions. Obviously, questioning the process and budget is the job of a board member, yet Mrs. Marlow made the job about her/politics, not improving our schools.
Kelly Marlow’s overall behavior as an elected school board member calls for a resignation. Her elected job is to make sure we protect our schools system first for the community.
Kelly at this point, is hurting the foundation of what her job is as a member of the school board. Kelly, please resign.
For further flavor on this issue this was published in the AJC.
Kelly’s tactics and knowledge regarding topics she has confronted can be legitimately questioned, no doubt. But did you watch the ethics hearing last night? What a joke for all sides.
Kelly won an election and is serving her first year in office. She won mainly because of her support for the charter school which was vehemently opposed by Dr. P, Read and other previous board members (including former Chairman Mike Chapman who similarily wrote letters to elected officials that could have hurt Cherokee schools). She has now been punished for writing a letter to SACS which Dr. P said in testimony last night never had a chance of harming Cherokee’s accreditation because the charges were patently false in his mind. The sanction amount finally agreed upon after multiple failed votes was $3600 (6 pay periods I believe was the rationale for the amount). That should cover past transgressions, no need to call for resignation.
The dangerous precedent established by last night’s ruling is what should be of concern to all. Basically if a board member writes a letter that can be perceived to damage the credibility of Cherokee schools, you are now subject to an ethics violation with possible monetary sanctions. Board member Geist spoke to this prior to the first sanction vote and warned of the consequences.
You wouldn’t be trying to wipe any of that egg off your buddy Trim’s face would you?
This does not open the door for hoards of ethics violations and the scare tactic isn’t really subtle. The only joke last night was Salata and his threats of dire consequences.
1) All letters that are sent don’t call for a formal investigation that would threaten a school districts accreditation. A letter to a senator or even a governance body that makes a formal request to investigate should be looked at differently than all other letters, and has. Especially that when the act of sending the letter itself can be construed as poor board governance.
2) All letters that are sent don’t originate from topics that haven’t previously been discussed by board members or function under the veil of already adopted policy. Ms. Marlow stated under oath that she approached no other board member about the material she was sending. Other letters mentioned at the hearing had indirect board approval because they were part of a formally adopted (read VOTED on) legislative policy.
3) All letters won’t lead to ethics hearings or even violations. Let us not forget that Mr. Geist voted to hold an ethics hearing related to the letter and at that time had no consternation that this issue had been potentially violated previously. Not one word of that when he raised his hand to vote for a hearing. If a letter is sent and a hearing is voted down, it’s not an ethics violation. If a letter is sent, a hearing occurs and the decision is made it’s not an ethics violation…it’s not an ethics violation. There were two hurdles to jump and they both were and Mr. Geist raised his hand to both.
I haven’t spoken with Robert in quite some time so he will have to deal with the egg himself 😉
You can nuance the hell out of whether a letter writer can be brought up on ethics charges, but the fact remains it is now a possibility. The charge last night had nothing to do with content as was pointed out repeatedly by school board attorney Roach. So the very act of sending a letter no matter content is now grounds for possible ethical violations.
And you are correct about Cousin Vinny the attorney, it was almost comical watching him try to make a case.
You are missing a very big point or intentionally trying to mislead.
Salata was attempting to bring up each of the itemized points in Ms. Marlow’s letter to SACS and attempt to identify their validity. The school objected and the hearing officer confirmed that the accusations and their validity were not germane to the hearing but the point of the letter was.
He allowed Mr. Roach to discuss the point of letter…quoting the request for a formal investigation and when Mr. Salata pointed out that this “opened the door” to discuss the specific accusations the hearing officer said no.
That point may be a little “nuanced” to you, but when you simplify it to a point that you yourself understand you begin to fib…and fib in a big way. If you can’t separate the purpose of a letter from its specific contents you shouldn’t expound on the dire consequences it raises.
I’m not missing anything. Marlow was charged with 2 violations:
1> “Recognize that the authority of the board rests only with the board as a whole and act accordingly” – This violation could fit a number of circumstances over the past few years, but Marlow was the first to face this charge.
2> “Take no private action that will compromise the board or school system administration.” Again there have been numerous actions in the past that fall under this ambiguous charge and now will likely be the basis for future ethics hearings.
Cousin Vinny wanted to explore the content of the letter to defend Marlow, the hearing officer denied him this line of defense despite Roach’s previous use of the letter. Allowing one side to get into content while prohibiting the other will likely be part of an appeal if indeed that happens.
Bottom line, I’m not here to defend Marlow or Trim…I was against the charter school deal in Cherokee and believe the ultimate intervention by the governor was wrong. But there are questions about CCSD finances that should be addressed in the proper manner, hopefully Marlow will do that going forward.
Again with the misleading statements. On one side you can quote and allude to specifics in the hearing which gives you some semblance of understanding what is going on and then you spoil it at the end with an outright fib. We could almost get along if not for that crazy little personality quirk.
The letter that Ms. Marlow wrote to SACS had no mention of CCSD finances. Period. End of Story. Ms. Marlow testified on the stand and used as her defense on one count that she never mentioned finances. To suggest in your last sentence that she should address this issue properly suggests that she has done so improperly at some point in the past (presumably by the letter). She has not.
What she has done is blow a lot of hot air about financial issues related to the budget / audit (she still can’t figure out the difference) and has alleged seven pages of questions related to the irregularities that she has shared with no one. She has repeatedly refused to bring these items up as an agenda item and have them looked at / dispelled because she likes to throw it around and doesn’t really want to settle anything.
Last month Geist (her lone supporter) was so frustrated by her antics he called her bluff and said that if she didn’t bring the agenda item he would.
Nothing misleading at all if you have a clue. And I really could care less about ‘getting along’ with you since I have only the slightest idea who you are.
You just wrote, “The letter that Ms. Marlow wrote to SACS had no mention of CCSD finances”
From Marlow’s original complaint to SACS – “It is of grave concern that our Board Chairman permitted our School Board Attorney at the January 17th, 2013 School Board Meeting to insert a surprise agenda item at an official board meeting after the agenda had been approved. This agenda item involved the movement of millions of taxpayer dollars between bank accounts.”
That covers that.
Marlow should not have contacted SACS at this early stage of her term. She should have formed a solid alliance with at least 2 more board members to properly review past financial issues, then bring the matter before the entire board. That would have been the proper, maybe even effective way to handle it. If the board ignored the findings as likely would have happened under Dr. P, then she could reach out to SACS for advice on how to proceed. Again, that would have been reasonable. She can still do this if she wants, it is totally up to her now.
This was from a board member who supports Marlow, and voted against her last night.
…….For board member Rob Usher, Chapman’s actions last year did not have any relevance to the question that was before the board.
It’s the action of an individual board member that undermined the authority of the board as a whole is what the board is grappling with, according to Usher.
“I feel (that) is the problem here.”…………….
Usher also said the following (www.cherokeetribune.com) – Before the vote to sanction Marlow, Board Member Rob Usher said he was against any financial penalty for Marlow.
“I think the public humiliation that’s involved with this should serve as punishment,” Usher said. “I don’t think the financial impact on this has been severe.”
I disagree with Usher’s opinion of the Chapman incident. Based on precedent established last night, the simple act of sending a letter can now be cause for an ethics hearing.
What the board should do – Immediately clarify their bylaws because the only thing that was clear from the hearing last night is just how wide open the rules are for the board.
I think if she would of won the county should of paid the cost of her lawyer, but since she lost it should be on her dime. Just my 10 cents…
I’m all for loser pays, but only if the loser is the one who files the charges. I think it would be a stretch to force a defendant to pay for the hearing along with a sanction/fine.
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