During its afternoon session of a CVB board retreat held at the Fairfield Inn in Columbus, Monday, the organization named Nancy Carpenter as its full-time director (she had been serving in the interim since February. RW).
I, like many, like Mrs. Carpenter. She has been doing an admirable job in a tough situation. But I, like many others, also don’t like the process (or lack thereof. RW) used to name Carpenter to the position!
The board never considered advertising the position, which should have been done. Therefore by not putting the position up for applicants, the board has denied the public access to a public board that oversees over a million dollars of taxpayer money! Any public board that oversees taxpayer money should always be completely open and honest to its constituents…and in the case of the CVB board, that would be all taxpayers of Columbus and Lowndes County. When I, as a taxpayer, have my money used for such a purpose, I expect to have a say in its process. The CVB board denied taxpayers access to the process when it named Carpenter as its director without their (public) input or due-process!
When the Lowndes County Board of Supervisors and The Columbus City Council threw out the old board, petitioned the state Legislature (successfully) to expand and revamp a new CVB board, many had hope that politics would be far removed from the process. When that didn’t happen, many also hoped that new, fresh faces on the board would force the board to adhere to bylaws that would eliminate such a manner in which the board acted when it named Carpenter director. That, too, has not happened!
And we wonder why the voting public continues to be frustrated with our public boards! A perfect example is the travesty of this particular CVB board action!
I would like to commend board member Whirllie Byrd, who voted against making Carpenter the director. Though Byrd’s reasons were not that the process wasn’t fair (Byrd questioned many of Carpenter’s actions as director), she at least voted against a motion that was likely preconceived in nature.
City Council Budget Meeting This Afternoon at 3:30
The Columbus City Council will meet at 3:30 this afternoon (Thursday) in the upstairs courtroom of the Columbus City Hall, across from the street from the downtown post office.
You can well bet that discussion will center around the Columbus Municipal School District’s budget woes and its request for a millage increase that will result in Columbus city property taxes going up.
I’ve spoken with many local officials, and nearly everyone points fingers at CMSD’s Chief Financial Officer Kenneth Hughes and his handling of the financial matters of the city school district. Hughes probably can’t be burdened with the blame for the district’s financial woes, but they question his unwillingness to offer solutions other than the school board asking for a tax increase or making cuts to its budget.
The interesting thing, here, is the fact that the council is practically powerless when it comes to dealing with the school board. They are legally bound to approve its budget. It’s also been pointed out many times that the Columbus City Council bears its own responsibility because it appointed the school board members…though the school board members don’t deserve full responsibility themselves. There is enough blame to go around.
You can’t leave out the fact that Del Phillips recent exit and the building of a new, $14 million school and locating it in the county certainly added to the school districts financial problems. Phillips, it has been suggested, must have seen this coming? Ya think?
Ron Williams can be reached by email at Ronsings2you@aol.com0