Archive for June, 2010

Proposed 2011 budget a bust for county employees

Chairman Eldrin Bell says he wants to hear from Clayton county residents on the proposed 2011 budget. If adopted as is, employee salaries will be lowered by 4 percent, among other departmental cuts systemwide. So if you’ve got an opinion on this subject, now is the time to share it with your elected officials.

The majority of Clayton county employees have not received a pay increase since 2006, and even that raise wasn’t what it appeared to be since it was offset by an increase in employee benefit contributions. So it is understandable why most have stated that they would prefer furlough days in lieu of a pay cut this go-round.

In addition, it is inevitable that some valuable workers will seek employment elsewhere if a salary decrease occurs. Will doing so be harder to accomplish in this economy? Absolutely – but it’s not impossible. And with no disrespect to those working in other capacities, as a resident, the potential loss of manpower in the public safety realm (on and off …

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CCPS policing itself a good thing!

While I wasn’t happy about school board member Jessie Goree (District 3) having to be censured by her colleagues, I was glad to see that action was taken so that Clayton County Public Schools doesn’t relapse.

As per the AJC, on May 12 Goree was said to have violated six board policies and a Southern Association of Colleges and Schools mandate that requires board members to respect the superintendent’s authority. Recently, our Board of Education voted 7-1 (with Michael King (District 4) casting the lone dissenting vote and Trinia Garrett (District 7) absent) to censure Goree because of her actions.

Before someone inevitably asks, no I do not believe that CCPS’s accreditation will be at risk because of this. Why should it be? The BOE seems to have handled its business on this matter relatively quickly, and that should be a good thing in the eyes of SACS and Clayton residents.

But I did appreciate Goree admitting wrongdoing and taking her licks (although no fine or punishment was …

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No bailout for the unemployed

UPDATE: Senate rejected extending H.R. 4213 yesterday, the bill will be revised and resubmitted.

Recently, Congress enjoyed a week off for Memorial Day while America’s unemployed worried about the future of their benefits. Amidst rumors of a recovering economy, 12.1 percent of Clayton county’s population are still unemployed, compared to Georgia at 10.9% according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

H.R. 4213 (American Jobs and Closing Tax Loopholes Act of 2010) will extend COBRA and the filing deadline for tiers 1-4 of unemployment benefits until November 30, 2010. Other provisions include restoring the flow of credit to small businesses, an extension of the current rate of Medicare payments to doctors, several targeted tax cuts and a recently added price per barrel tax to clean up the Gulf oil spill, among other things. Price tag is $127 billion, including $43 billion of new revenue being raised by closing tax loopholes affecting wealthy individuals and corporations.

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Will Senate Bill 84 make a difference?

Recently, Governor Sonny Perdue signed Senate Bill 84 into law, initiating school board reform which will allow the state to step in when a local school system’s accreditation is threatened.

So, how does it feel to have lived through a small piece of history that has completely changed the way the system works? I’m glad this is in place for future school systems, it’s just too bad that Clayton County Public Schools was the template used to get it passed.

Nevertheless, CCPS is still working hard to erase the past and move forward, and the system is getting there slowly but surely.

During the SACS Review Team’s April visit CCPS fell short on four mandates, which included: “Committing to an ethics policy governing the actions of school board members; implementing a comprehensive, strategic planning process at the school, and district, levels; conducting a review of the school system’s organizational structure, and establishing an articulated action plan for dealing with the …

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How do you choose which candidate gets your vote?

Too often, Clayton residents find themselves electing candidates routinely described as the “best of the worst” out of the choices provided. Recently, a blogger asked how to determine who the “wrong” candidates are. So, I’m asking folks to share how you choose candidate(s), and where you get information on them.

One resource is Project Vote Smart, which is a wealth of information providing, among many other things, contact information, candidate biographies and voting records. For non-voting positions, consider what that person has/hasn’t done for constitutents and the community. I also speak with other residents for perspectives I may not have considered or known about.

This is harder to do when unknown candidates run. In this case, I’ll research their history as much as possible, particularly what they have done in the community lately.  Whether new to politics or an incumbent, I’ll also attempt to speak directly with a candidate(s) – particularly serial candidates who …

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