COLUMBUS, Ga.- Last week, the Muscogee School Board spoke for almost an hour regarding the appointment of a new Senior Director of Budget. The main topic of that discussion was that some board members did not like the fact that they did not have the chance to meet the nominee.
Tuesday, the vote on the position was the first item on the Action Agenda. Just before the item went to a vote, District 2 Board Member, John Thomas addressed the board. He felt the nominee’s qualifications did not meet the position. He asked that the nominee’s name be withdrawn from consideration. He added, “I think that we can probably find someone who has better qualifications in the field and perhaps more experience. I don’t know about that- certainly a Master’s Degree or CPA for a highly compensated and a very critical position in this finance department.”
District 8 Board Member, Frank Myers said the reason he and Thomas ran for the school board was accountability. He says that “rubberstamping” an appointment without meeting them face to face was not in the best interest of the people. Myers added that he felt that information such as resumes of the candidates. He added that the withholding of information could put the board in front of a Supreme Court. “It’s time to give the board the information they want when they ask for it, period,” Myers said. “End of story. Ma’am, I apologize in advance, I can’t vote for you, but this system, I believe is rigged and I just will not be able to be a part of it and I wish you well.”
During the discussion, Board Member Pat Hugely Green said she has never experienced any withholding of information. She said it was the Superintendent’s job to make the best choices for positions and the only person the board evaluates is the Superintendent.
The school board’s legal counsel, Gregory Ellington spoke to the issue of information being withheld. He says after he looked into it, he said he did not feel it was appropriate for board members to see the resumes of the applicants not chosen for the job. He also stated that the only person the board evaluates is the Superintendent.
Thomas made a motion that the vote be tabled until February. The motion failed and Michi Billings was appointed Senior Director of Budget in a 6 to 2 vote. She said that the position comes with a great amount of responsibility, but it gives her the opportunity to show that she can do it.