Does size matter? DeKalb schools are about to find out.

From the moment I published the names of the three finalists for the DeKalb school chief job on Tuesday, the e-mails began: “Is this the best we can do?” “Can you find out if other candidates turned DeKalb down and this is what we were stuck with?”  “None of these three is qualified. We ought to start over.”

On the other hand, I have also heard many comparisons to famous winning coaches who came to big schools from smaller ones and turned around losing athletic programs.

The fact is that all three candidates do come from much smaller systems. However, that doesn’t mean they have small ideas or that their leadership skills cannot transfer to a system 10 times greater in enrollment.

I have seen city managers, newspaper editors and school superintendents with seemingly ideal credentials fail, and I have seen people with unremarkable backgrounds succeed so I don’t think we can tell much from a curriculum vitae.

The candidates meet the public tonight — which is a very unusual event. Shouldn’t we at least wait until we hear them speak before dismissing them as too green for the DeKalb leadership post?

Here is an AJC story about the concerns over the qualifications of Lillie Cox, Arthur Culver and Gloria Davis (No favoritism in listing them. I went with alphabetical.):

State Sen. Emanuel Jones, D-Decatur, who chairs a legislative committee tasked with helping the school system keep its accreditation, is skeptical about the qualifications of the finalists.

“The first thing that jumped out at me is that all three of them come from small systems, minuscule in comparison,” Jones said. “What was the board thinking? Are these the best who applied?”

The finalists announced earlier this week are: Gloria Davis of Decatur (Ill.) Public Schools with 8,700 students; Arthur R. Culver of Champaign (Ill.) Community School District No. 4 with 8,900 students; and Lillie M. Cox of Hickory (N.C.) Public Schools with less than 5,000 students.

“We need someone with experience running one of the largest school systems in the country,” Jones said. “They have to hit the ground running. With everything we’re facing, there’s no time for on-the-job training.”

But Tom Bowen, chairman of the DeKalb school board, said district size doesn’t matter.

“We were looking for people with proven leadership ability, a track record of improving academic achievement and raw talent,” Bowen said. “We think that’s what we have here.”

Bowen said more than 50 applicants were screened for the job and several of them came from school districts at or near the size of DeKalb’s.

“We want proven success, not a magic number,” Bowen said.

A meeting is scheduled for Thursday night at which the three finalists will be questioned in a public forum. After that, Bowen said that the board expects to make its decision in several weeks.

Lynn Deutsch, who has two children in DeKalb’s school system, said she plans to be at the meeting. She said she’s concerned about the small districts the finalists are drawn from.

“I’m going to the meeting with an open mind,” Deutsch said. “But I’ve got to say that I’m concerned about the finalists. I mean, are their management skills really transferable from such small districts? Have they delved into a situation where every decision can be political? Have any of them ever gotten a district out of anything like the troubles we’re seeing?”

David Schutten, president of the Organization of DeKalb Educators, said he’s been hearing nonstop from members who say they, too, are skeptical about the qualifications of the candidates.

“We have a lot of problems here and I’m frankly surprised by the [board's] choices,” Schutten said. “There’s a lot to do and not a lot of time for someone to get up to speed. We have to get [students'] scores up. … And, frankly, there’s a big morale problem with the staff.”

–From Maureen Downey, for the AJC Get Schooled blog

47 comments Add your comment

PatDowns

March 31st, 2011
10:23 am

Does size matter? – Well, most women will say “yes.”

Lynn d

March 31st, 2011
10:26 am

I was misquoted. What I actually said was that I was going to the meeting with an open mind and that I believe that management skills are transferable. I did say I was worried about how political the DeKalb school system is. I have no idea where the question at the end of my quote even came from.

Ugh.

Lynn d

March 31st, 2011
10:28 am

May I also add, that given the importance of what is happening in DeKalb schools, I wish that the AJC would let Megan M. continue to cover the system in full. Having reporters new to the issues in DeKalb makes it harder.

pierre1852

March 31st, 2011
10:31 am

At some point any leader of a large organization has had to make the leap from being in charge of a smaller organization to being in charge of a larger one. It’s kind of like a governor of a state being elected president–for better or for worse of course. Just like any weighty decision involving people, their personalities, our assessment of their capabilities etc., choosing is an inexact science and always involves something of a leap of faith. Just like when a highly experienced politician runs for higher office, I think if they had a candidate from a large school district, many people would be saying that DeKalb was doing nothing but bringing in a jaded, entrenched, consummate insider to implement more of the same old same old. I don’t think we can dismiss someone’s candidacy because they are in charge of a smaller district. Since they have actually been put in charge, I think it’s far more revealing to to try and see a pattern of competence, incompetence, an underlying philosophy etc. in what they’ve done with their postion thus far.

Dr. Craig Spinks/ Augusta

March 31st, 2011
10:46 am

GODSPEED to whomever the DCBOE selects as its new superintendent of schools.

Kat T

March 31st, 2011
10:49 am

I get the concerns with the size of school systems pervious candidates supervised. However, I think we should be more concerned with their track records regarding:

1. Nepotism – A huge huge problem running rampant in Deklab and what, in my opinion, is the root of many of the problems.

2. Problem children – I would like to know what policies they encouraged and had in place for dealing with problem children that do not care to learn.

3. Redistricting – We should know their thoughts on redistricting and thoughts on busing children to even out economic disparities. Personally, I would rather see a candidate that focuses on making neighborhood schools stronger than throwing in the towel and busing children, which never works.

4. Lawsuits – I would like to know how a candidate deals with a system with constant lawsuits and a system that is more concerned with being politically correct then doing what is best for the children.

5. Balls – I put this on here because I am tired of living in a district that walks on eggshells to make sure they are always politically correct. I want a candidate to make hard and unpopular decisions that will benefit the system as a whole and not just one area. Take for example the recent accusations of racism when trying to close many schools in south Dekalb. It was a numbers game period and I want a leader that will close schools as needed to keep the whole county from loosing money.

Roach

March 31st, 2011
11:03 am

It will be atrick to find the right scope of management–how much you need to do yourself and how much you can entrust to your subordinates. The twin dangers are trusting too much and micromanaging. Someone with big-district experience will have already made some of these mistakes and maybe learned from those. Then again, big-district experience might mean that someone has already compromised on their ideals, while a small-district person might still believe in the best possible outcome. DeKalb surely needs someone who believes in something.

Susan

March 31st, 2011
11:21 am

I am really looking forward to tonight’s public hearing. I’m hoping to hear responses of substance as opposed to rehearsed sound-bites that include all the right jargon but nothing real.

Susan

March 31st, 2011
11:25 am

…and, I second Lynn’s comment about coverage of DeKalb issues…this is a critical point for DCSS, and we need reporters who understand the history and culture of the system. Misquoting someone who is “in the know” like Lynn is pretty inexcusable…the AJC shouldn’t be feeding into the skeptics’ frenzy.

David Sims

March 31st, 2011
11:30 am

The whole reason for having an administrative hierarchy is to spare the top decision-maker the necessity of making any except the top decisions. He/she either makes policy, or else approves or vetoes policies made by administrative underlings. A big school system would have more under-administrators than a small school system would. Given a proper organization in school administration generally, I don’t see why the size of the school district matters.

To illustrate: President Obama isn’t the smartest person in the United States. He is indeed far and distant from that status. And yet he functions within the normal responsibilities of that office. (Whether he is or isn’t qualified to hold that office is another matter entirely.) He seems to like using pretexts to beat up on weaker countries, but he isn’t the first president guilty of that vice. He seems to approve of foolish foreign and domestic policies, but likewise so have many other presidents. Obama is the first black president, and he might be a fraud-in-office, but he is far from being the first fool to be elected. So apparently a cohesive administrative organization can make the strictly essential requirements of the Top Administrator into a very forgiving matter.

David Sims

March 31st, 2011
11:31 am

By “qualified” in the above comment, I meant “constitutionally eligible.”

Maureen Downey

March 31st, 2011
11:38 am

@lynn d, The only quote that I see from you in the piece is this:

“I’m going to the meeting with an open mind. But I’ve got to say that I’m concerned about the finalists. I mean, are their management skills really transferable from such small districts? Have they delved into a situation where every decision can be political? Have any of them ever gotten a district out of anything like the troubles we’re seeing?”

Tonya C.

March 31st, 2011
11:43 am

Look, really it makes me no nevermind. I am not nor will never be a resident of Dekalb county. I care about education issues overall, but understand the local control and how citizens get what they put in.

But because the system is SO corrupt and disorganized, having someone who can ‘hit the ground running’ is ALSO very important. He or she will need to not only clean house but have a source of candidates to replace those people from outside the system. I hope one of the candidates works out but if this goes bad, Dekalb doesn’t have much more bottom left in it. Just saying.

say what?

March 31st, 2011
11:48 am

If stakeholders cannot make the meeting then watch it on TV or streaming. No need for people to use the media as their only source of information on this issue. See for yourselves and then contact your board members.

redweather

March 31st, 2011
11:56 am

Although Maureen makes a good point, neither the DCSS nor the school board inspires confidence. However, there may not have been many qualified candidates who were interested in taking on the problems faced by DCSS. No matter who is hired, things are likely to get worse before they get better. That is, if they ever get better.

Ernest

March 31st, 2011
12:06 pm

As I mentioned, I was underwhelmed by the candidates initially because of the size of the school systems where they serve. I took the time to review their bios and felt a little better. I also performed a few searches on Google more more general information.

Seeing and hearing them in person will definitely help me get a better feel for each candidate. I want to know how they have handled challenges such as those currently faced by our school system. I want to know their instructional philosophies, specifically strategies for reaching students in Title 1 schools along with any provisions that might make for addresssing high achieving students in low academically performing schools. I want to know if they have been involved in flattening school system staffing along with general organizational strategies in this era of budget constraints. I want to understand how they have dealt with dwindling tax revenues in their current districts along with some of the tough decisions they’ve had to make. IMO, this would be a start of getting some insight on each candidate.

Too bad Michael Young, currently of Grady isn’t a candidate for this job. He has a track record of making the tough decisions regarding budgets and addressing weak staffers while improving the delivery of services. That is the profile of a good candidate.

HS Public Teacher

March 31st, 2011
12:18 pm

The people of DeKalb (all people, whether parents or not) have a large stake in the success of the school system. Everyone needs to ensure that the best decision is made.

If you don’t like the final decision and you do not participate, it is your fault!

Larry Major

March 31st, 2011
12:26 pm

That’s it – we are now even.

Yes, I lost our wager on the Charter Schools Commission lawsuit. No, I don’t mind the occasional loss of a mouthful of Warsteiner and keyboard over a “Cupcake Menace – Ha Ha, that was good” headline. But, you need to understand I just dropped a $500 German bier stein on a previously unblemished hardwood floor.

Sorry if this is off-topic, but I have not yet found the inner strength to actually read your post.

www.honeyfern.org

March 31st, 2011
12:28 pm

For me it wasn’t the size of the districts that they came from but their generic soundbites in the article. Close your eyes and they are just another part of the machine.

I am a big fan of “small, but mighty,” but they just don’t seem exceptional.

Lynn d

March 31st, 2011
12:31 pm

Maureen

What I said was that I was going to the meeting with an open mind. And that I believed that management skills were transferable. I mentioned the politics issue.

I did not say/ask Have any of them ever gotten a district out of anything like the troubles we’re seeing?”

It isn’t a big deal, but it did kind of twist what I said to fit the overall gist of the story.

East Cobb Parent

March 31st, 2011
12:50 pm

I realize this posting doesn’t pertain to the topic. I found this article interesting, http://www.educationnews.org/commentaries/insights_on_education/152755.html

Sounds similar to some of the information Attentive Parent has shared.

Ed Johnson

March 31st, 2011
1:20 pm

Maureen, point well made. Case in point, there is a small school district about 30 miles from Hickory, NC, whose superintendent not long ago became a state superintendent. Talking about going from small to large, gosh.

Jennchiz

March 31st, 2011
2:21 pm

Maybe board member, Jay Cunningham will apply, sigh! The real issue is the incompentent School Board. Dekalb’s School Board is comprised of couple of uneducated and ignorate members who sit and make decisions for educators. I just don’t understand how one can be on a board that oversees and make decisions for thousands of degreed educators when they themselves are uneducated.

My point is how do they know what to look for in the resumes of PhD candidates. I’m blown away by this and don’t know why it’s acceptable. There should be some minimum educational standard for board members beyound a GED and/or HS diploma. In many cases, there is nothing wrong with this level of education, but to have oversight of one of the largest school districts in the country with no degree. This guy can hardly read or talk!

Top School

March 31st, 2011
2:40 pm

Oh the drama…You can’t fix this situation without requiring new leadership ethics…HONESTY AND INTEGRITY …

The problem is ongoing…in all aspects of leadership in our US democratic society. We might as well be ruled by dictators and rulers.
Few, like Medoff, ever serve the time for their corrupt leadership.

Until our society has experienced enough and there is an uprising and demand for ethical leadership …expect more of the same.

http://www.TopPublicSchoolCorruptionAtlanta.com

Top School

March 31st, 2011
2:48 pm

It is difficult to find leadership that does not fold under the bribery of the dishonest city folk.
Good luck…there are few left that value ethical leadership . These big buildings, flash and illusions of grandeur seem to blind most every time the take the position of leadership.

The problem…those doing the “manipulative choosing” are more than likely involved in much of the corruption.

Will the last Democrat in Georgia please turn off the lights.....

March 31st, 2011
2:56 pm

Ed Johnson
March 31st, 2011
1:20 pm
“Maureen, point well made. Case in point, there is a small school district about 30 miles from Hickory, NC, whose superintendent not long ago became a state superintendent. Talking about going from small to large, gosh.”

I see your point that it doesn’t really matter what the size of the district is where a candidate for superintendent may come from because COMPETENT leadership is competent leadership no matter what the size, but on the other hand….In unique situation like these where everything is on the line, maybe it might not be such a bad idea to consider bringing in a candidate who has a proven track record of being a “turnaround specialist” in a large, highly-populated urban school district where every single move made will be politicized and under the microscopic glare of a top-10 television market news media. There’s a HUGE and stark difference between small school districts like Hickory, NC and monsters like Atlanta and Dekalb where every decision is blogged about nearly 24-hours-a-day. In these cases it might be better to go with a highly-qualified superintendent from a large urban district who can command the respect and attention of the big city media and the respective unruly school boards in Atlanta & DeKalb, than to go with a small-town superintendent who may run a higher risk of being torn apart, chewed up, spit out and sent running back home to momma by the proverbial political & media sharks in a top-10 market.

Paul Blart

March 31st, 2011
3:14 pm

Does anyone really think the white female has a chance of getting hired?

A mostly black school board and a black superintendent are accused of racism by black parents in the county who disagree with them. Imagine what it would be like for a white female if she did get hired!

oldtimer

March 31st, 2011
3:51 pm

I will add to Ernest’s comment…Ethical smart leadership decisions transcend the job…ie the CEO leaving Grady. It is important that new superintendants are ethical problem solvers and ethics are the same..or should be…everywhere and problems solvers can identify and solve problems in most any business.

Concerned parent

March 31st, 2011
4:36 pm

To me, the only significant question is whether they have the fortitude and the willingness to make very unpopular choices even if it ultimately puts them at significant risk of losing their job? We need someone with Balls as Kat T said and we especially need someone who realizes that in order to turn this system around, they are going to have to do things that piss off just about everyone but which are in the best interest of educating our kids.

Ed Johnson

March 31st, 2011
5:11 pm

@Will the last Democrat please turn out the lights…..

1. No offense, but you describe how and why Atlanta got its current superintendent.
2. The Atlanta school board is not now the problem, no matter SACS. The current APS superindendency is and always has been the problem. Fire 90% of a district’s principals to only replace them with “Yes” people then stand back and watch CRCT cheating and other unsavory behaviors become inevitable and eventually emerge.
3. So-called “urban” districts are a misnomer, a social barrier all too often self-imposed. Show me a kid having “urban” as an inherent characteristic of being a human being.

another comment

March 31st, 2011
5:45 pm

The big problem here is the large mega school districts. These 100,000 student school districts need to be broken up then are unmanageable as school districts. They just become fifedoms for theft by administrators and clerks. No K-12 district should be over 20,000 Students. Most should be less than 10,000 Students. More ideal are 1 or 2 High Schools in a District with a Supt. making $150K. You can have 2-3 smaller Districts sharing a Vo-tech School, an Alternative School, a special needs school. Districts can form buying Co-ops to get better purchasing power. No need to have all these admin. positions. Most of the country does not have these mega districts. Look at the top performing districts and schools in the country, they are small. I know I went to one.

Skippy

March 31st, 2011
6:09 pm

Size doesn’t matter, but credentials do. The old adages “time in the saddle”, “years behind the wheel”, and “practice makes perfect” come to mind. I was hopeful DCSS would short-list candidates with more years as superintendent in their former districts.

Actually coming from a small district may be a benefit to DeKalb’s taxpayers. I imagine one who is used to only a handful of central office personnel managing federal mandates, instruction, and such would feel like they’ve been slapped in the face with an eraser when they see for themselves just how bloated the DCSS central office is.

Susan

March 31st, 2011
8:34 pm

But…someone with years of experience and a proven track record also has to be willing to come to DeKalb. I imagine that, if that candidate existed, he/she would have been in the top 3.

Henry County Teacher

March 31st, 2011
9:06 pm

Size matters!!! Especially in salary!

say what?

March 31st, 2011
9:13 pm

“Does size matter?” Yep. People who did not attend, did not watch on PDS24, or did not watch online the meeting of the three finalist, please do not complain anymore. Stakeholder apathy (based on the audience size) is what is wrong with DCSS, not the board, not the schools, but the stakeholder community. You will end up with the person who showed much charisma, yet you need the one who was last woman standing. Charisma talked and got handclaps, but that is what Lewis had-charisma- and see where thay got DCSS.

not shocked

March 31st, 2011
9:23 pm

DeKalb, Clayton, and APS deserve what they get……the students will suffer..believe me. The WORST school districts in America are run by the WORST school boards who hire the WORST superintendents, who promote and name the WORST principals’ supervisors, and the WORST principals are hired, who, in turn, hire the WORST teachers available….and the beat goes on and on and on and on………………………………………………………………..

Belle

March 31st, 2011
9:31 pm

All three had good points. No savior emerged. Davis seems personable, but lacks substance. Culver has 12 years experience as a superintendent, but I’m not sure DeKalb pays a lot more than he is making, and he may scare the board because he seems stron- willed. Cox seemed really nice and I think she would be good as an assistant. I can’t see her tackling DeKalb’s giant mess after only 18 months as a superintendent.

Maureen Downey

March 31st, 2011
9:33 pm

@Belle, I thought Cox was strongest on teacher improvement issues. I thought Davis seemed like she would rein in the central office bloat. Culver was the most reserved, but he made some good points on how to manage.
I have no clear favorite. All three seemed bright, committed and capable to me. I took detailed notes and they echoed one another in some replies.
Maureen

Write Your Board Members

March 31st, 2011
10:01 pm

Say What

Agree with you about the crowd and apathy. Disagree about Cox. Fresh meat for the board, I am afraid.

Ernest

March 31st, 2011
11:29 pm

say what?, please don’t conclude there was stakeholder apathy merely on the live audience size. Given this was announced 48 hours prior to this session, I spoke with many who wanted to be there that had existing obligations. Since it was televised on PDS 24, it also allowed countless stakeholders to watch from the comfort of their home and not have to drive home late (it ended around 9:15 pm).

Atlanta Teacher

April 1st, 2011
3:30 am

School board competence is critical and a big problem for Dekalb and Atlanta. Atlanta’s school board did not supervise and hold Beverly Hall accountable at all, especially on the major issues and
they are going to continue to pay dearly for their negligence.

She consistently over burdened the finances of the district during her tenure and the board is clueless, but they are getting ready to be enlightened as soon as she gets out of here! We are probably broke with a hugh deficit!

She never brought proposals to close any schools and there are too many buildings open, some with as little as 200 students in the seats, the number of educational reform models that are not working has also costed the district millions with little in return.

Rezoning the schools for efficient use was barely mentioned and the north elite hasn’t moved one inch near the south end of the city(i.e. Brandon, Jackson, Smith, Morningside are all land locked with kindergarten centers off site) basically maintaining segregation at all cost and it is costly. Including her proposal for a new Buckhead high school that is significantly over priced for what may be needed. The solution for a lot of these concerns is to shift the zones and students and use the buildings that exist. There was no response to the demographic changes in the city at all. The district has lost more than 100,000 students down now to 49,000. So why do we still have more than 85 buildings open and no significant decrease in staff?

She has contracted out every service that she could with terrible outcomes. Who is monitoring the contract performance, nobody! I’ve never even heard the board ask for any kind of performance reporting on all these contracts. The current contract janitorial services are awful and the buildings are not clean. They only empty waste baskets, dust wipe and clean the restrooms somewhat. They don’t speak english so you can’t tell them anything and they understand and no APS staff is monitoring them on any given day any way. Atlanta tax dollars are not at work effectively at all.

Sodexho food services is also awful as the food served in the cafeteria is terrible. Pizza served most days and sometimes with collard greens and french bread! Complaints fall on deaf ears as the food has been awful since day one. The contracts are not saving money and there is little oversight of the work by APS.

The number of lawsuits in the district is crazy and self inflicted, especially in the special education department and has also cost millions, and the board rarely ask Beverly Hall anything. It wasn’t even included as part of her performance evaluation and special education as well as 504 services for students have suffered badly under her tenure.

There hasn’t been any real financial accountability by the board where Hall is concerned and the students and staff are suffering. Schools aren’t getting the monies that they need for basic supplies and staff will not see any cost of living raises in a very long time thanks to her mismanagement of the district’s revenues.

Atlanta has always had very good funding and financial management with no problems in paying employees step and cost of living increments until now which ultimately decreases retirement pension funds. Even the current economy wouldn’t have had such a significant affect if she had the foresight to respond to the demographic changes in the city and shown fiscal responsibility all around. Since she got her $350K salary with bonuses and pension contributions annually she wasn’t effected by the current economic tsunami to ever be concerned about the staff or students of the Atlanta Pubic Schools thanks to the negligent board of education.

say what?

April 1st, 2011
7:19 am

@Ernest, For those who did not attend and watched at home, hopefully they will go to the school’s website and complete the e-comment.

Participation is key to the success of this process. Have a good weekend and spring break.

Lee

April 1st, 2011
7:30 am

My guess, the top notch candidates took one look at Dekalb’s dysfunctional board, the central office bloat, the mess left behind by Lewis, and decided thanks, but no thanks.

No, what Dekalb needs is a turnaround manager. Someone who has a proven track record of turning lemons into lemonaide. I would not have ruled out a corporate type who has taken a troubled company and brought it back into solvency. Most often, these types are good for the short term heavy lifting, but their skills do not lend themselves to a long term relationship. I would have found this person, given them a 4-5 year contract with the mandate to clean up the mess, take out the trash, and groom his/her successor.

Ernest

April 1st, 2011
9:56 am

@say what?, no disagreements from me on your last post! Hope you have a great weekend and spring break also….

A Conservative Voice

April 1st, 2011
10:03 am

You know, if the DeKalb BOE does select a new Supt. and that new selectee is Black, what’s gonna change from the way it is now? Nothing, because blacks take care of blacks, no matter the situation. The same underqualified people who are now screwing up the system will stay on to do the same poor job of running a major school system as has been the case for the last thirty years. Why hire someone else when the interim overpaid underqualified person can perform as poorly as a new person and we could save money, although that’s a poor, poor way to save money.

Maureen Downey

April 1st, 2011
10:07 am

@A Conservative Voice: And whites don’t care of whites? My former colleague Jim Wooten wrote for years about the double dipping and generous pensions for state legislators, back when it was nearly an all white body. (The GOP Senate is back to being all white, by the way, 35 white men and 1 white woman.)
Jim won national awards for his reporting. But those good old boys didn’t change the rules because it was their pals getting the platinum parachutes on the taxpayers’ dime and they were in line for one themselves when they left “public service.”
So please, let’s not pretend that one race is more noble than the other when it comes to taking care of colleagues.
Maureen

A Conservative Voice

April 1st, 2011
11:50 am

@Maureen Downey

April 1st, 2011
10:07 am
@A Conservative Voice: And whites don’t care of whites?
In your hurry, you left out “take” :)

Maureen, you’re trying to muddy the waters here. We’re talking about a real serious situation. There are thousands of school children whose lives are being affected along with the economic future of DeKalb County and it’s people and it’s as plain as the nose on your face that what’s not been working for the past thirty years will continue not working if we continue on the same path as before. The administrations and the DeKalb BOE for the last thirty years have absolutely ruined what was once a mighty fine school system and with another black superintendent, I certainly don’t think anything of substance is gonna happen to turn it around. You know, you can talk about the “good old boys” all you want, but at least they didn’t ruin our school systems and run our county finances into the ground. Look around you and open your eyes at what’s happening in all of metro Atlanta (except Decatur :) ). A major shift is needed to right a bunch of ships that are very close to sinking to the bottom.

Oh, and I don’t pretend…….I meant every word I said.