JAMES MADISON QUOTE - 1822

"A popular government without popular information, or the means of acquiring it, is but a Prologue to a Farce or a Tragedy; or, perhaps both. Knowledge will forever govern ignorance; and a people who mean to be their own governors must arm themselves with the power knowledge gives."

SCOTTSBORO WEATHER

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Thursday, June 30, 2016

Scottsboro City Schools Board Work Session - Two Part Video Series, Hot Topic Issue Contracting Support Services, June 28, 2016

Scottsboro Board of Education, Page Administration Complex, Scottsboro Board of Education photo, Fair Use for non-profit news reporting and commentary.

PRIVATIZE SCHOOL SYSTEM OR MONEY SAVING MEASURE??

June 28, 2016 Scottsboro, Alabama - Scottsboro City School Board Work Session - Part 1 Appleton Contracting Services for School System Support Positions.




It was a packed house, standing room only, for Tuesday evening's school board meeting. These two videos concern discussion by the school board and superintendent about contracting of support services for the school system. The recent 4% pay raise by the state is not fully funded and has left a gap in financial stability for the local school system of approximately $50,000 according to the Board's President Mr. Daryl Eustace. "No one will be laid-off or terminated so Appleton employees could be utilized." This statement was emphasized by both the Superintendent and the Board President.


Mr. Eustace has stated by filling vacant and retiring support positions with Appleton Contracting employees it would save the school system approximately $50,000. Mr. Eustace went on to say that he would like to utilize contracting services on a limited basis to determine if it was going to work for the school system.

The schools Superintendent, Dr. Sandra Spivey, was adamant that no employees were going to be terminated or laid-off. She also stated the school board must save money. We were in serious financial trouble when I came aboard, she commented. Dr. Spivey further commented, regarding the contracting issue, that children are first but financial accountability must be a high priority. Dr. Spivey asked for input as to ways money could be saved. Regarding that issue, folks should remember the City Board of Education moved from a small single story structure to its current location several years ago which is a huge multi story building for its' administration offices, Page Administration Center. The Scottsboro City School system has a large bond indebtedness. Administrative costs and bond debt has to be a large financial drain on the school system. It has been stated that not all of the city tax money for schools is turned over to the schools system, some is held by the City of Scottsboro.

The local Alabama Education Association (AEA) representative, Ms. Sheila Cornelison,  indicated to me afterwards that she was not appreciative regarding Dr. Spivey's comments about her. The AEA is not supportive of utilizing contract employees. There were several individuals present that had been terminated. It was stated by former employees that 17 positions had been terminated by the school system, these were all support positions. The terminated employees present stated, "The superintendent and school board are not telling the whole truth."  
About AEA: https://www.myaea.org/contact/about-aea/

As a note, the Scottsboro Board of Education no longer allows for sign-up by citizens at its Work-Session. Info from Board President Daryl Eustace - To get on the agenda, a person must call the Schools Superintendent to get permission after discussion with the superintendent. It is my opinion this does not facilitate the concept of citizen involvement in government within the community. County and City government in Scottsboro allow 5 minute presentations by citizens within established rules. When I inquired about this issue, Birmingham School system was mentioned regarding abuses by citizens.Sometimes our local government leadership has forgotten who they work for, the citizenry.

The School Board and Superintendent's job is to manage our school system efficiently and professionally, to provide the best education possible for the children of the Scottsboro area. For the most part this citizen believes they do an admirable job. To not allow citizen sign-ups demonstrates a distrust of local citizenry and does not facilitate participatory government for the people of Scottsboro. The school board should reconsider their policy regarding citizen sign-ups at the school board meetings..

Public Records Disclosure
The following 17 support personnel were not renewed, classified as "non-renewal" according to the May 16, 2016 Scottsboro Board of Education Personnel Agenda and would be eligible to be replaced by a contracted employee:
.
       1.      BLACK, Michelle – Itinerant Special Education Instructional Assistant, Scottsboro City
            Schools, effective May 20, 2016.

2.      BROWN, Amanda – After-School Program Lead Teacher, Collins Intermediate School,
           effective May 20, 2016.

3.      CAIN, Marcy – After-School Program Lead Teacher, Nelson Elementary School,
           effective May 20, 2016.

4.      CLARK, Desiree – Itinerant Special Education Instructional Assistant, Scottsboro
           City Schools, effective May 20, 2016.

5.      EHLERT, Joan – Part-Time Nurse (Bus Route-Morning), Scottsboro City Schools,
           and After-School Program Itinerant Teacher Assistant/LPN, Scottsboro City
           Schools (based at Collins Intermediate School for the 2015-2016 year), effective
           May 20, 2016.

6.      GRAHAM, Velma – Part-Time Special Education Office Assistant, Central Office,
           effective June 30, 2016.

7.      HALLMAN, Rhonda – Itinerant Special Education Instructional Assistant and Nurse,
           Scottsboro City Schools, effective May 20, 2016. 

8.      HANCOCK, Riley – After-School Program Teacher Assistant, Brownwood
           Elementary School, effective May 20, 2016.

9.      HANCOCK, Taryn – After-School Program Teacher Assistant, Caldwell Elementary
           School, effective May 20, 2016.

10.      HEWITT, Pamela – Itinerant Special Education Instructional Assistant, Scottsboro
           City Schools, effective May 20, 2016.

11      JOHNSON, Molly – After-School Program Lead Teacher, Brownwood Elementary
           School, effective May 20, 2016.

12.      OWENS, Victoria – After-School Program Teacher Assistant, Nelson Elementary
           School, effective May 20, 2016.

13.      PENDERGRASS, Heather – After-School Program Teacher Assistant, Collins
           Intermediate School, effective May 20, 2016.
          
14.      PRITCHETT, Hartley – Itinerant Special Education Instructional Assistant, Scottsboro
           City Schools, effective May 20, 2016.

15.      RODGERS, Kim – Part-Time Nurse (Bus Route-Afternoon), Scottsboro City Schools,
           effective May 20, 2016.

16.      TALLEY, Cathy – After-School Program Lead Teacher, Caldwell Elementary School,
           effective May 20, 2016.

17.  WHITE, Sylvia – Itinerant Part-Time Special Education Instructional Assistant,
            Scottsboro City Schools, effective May 20, 2016.

Part of an ALEC Plan, "Cashing in on Kids?  http://www.prwatch.org/news/2016/03/13054/cashing-kids-172-alec-education-bills-2015

PART 2 Video 

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Jackson County Commission, Regular Session and Work Session June 27, 2016

Jackson County Courthouse, South Side, photo by G. Morgan

AGENDA Regular Session

VIDEO Regular Session



                                           AGENDA Work Session

VIDEOS Part 1


Video Part 2Work Session

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Scottsboro City Council Work Session and Regular Session, Issue of Transparency - City Boat Bill of Sale, Public Records Disclosures June 27, 2016

Many government's management consultants use the stop sign of good governance in various forms. I cannot pinpoint the originator for this specific illustration. Fair Use "Good Governance" image for non-profit news reporting and commentary.

Scottsboro City Hall, photo by G. Morgan 

THREE DOWN ONE TO GO
I have received, as disclosed below, the Boat Bill of Sale and the amount of money paid to Lanier Ford Law Firm and the Insurance Carriers Loss Control Report. I have not received the Bray Report regarding her spying activities without a state investigators license on private citizens/city employees. 

MONEY PAID TO LANIER FORD LAW FIRM OF HUNTSVILLE, ALABAMA
Records disclosure: Amount paid to Lanier Ford Law Firm, per Mayor Potter - In 2015 the City paid $18,133 and in 2016 to date the cost has been $25,465.91 to Lanier, Ford Law Firm for employment matters including rewriting the handbook.

BOAT ISSUE
 Boat Bill of Sale
(click on image for an expanded view)
A records Request was submitted last week regarding the sale of the boat, the Mayor supplied the Bill of Sale at last nights city council meeting. Link to boat issue:  http://arklite.blogspot.com/2016/06/the-boat-and-mayor-of-scottsboro-deep.html 

Picture of a Marinette Cabin Cruiser similar to the one sold
Fair use for non-profit news reporting and commentary. No credit listed on web.

THE CLARION'S REPORT
Comprehensive report on the boat issue by Clarion Reporter Heather Garner
Code of Alabama 1975 § 11-43-56 “Except as otherwise provided in this title, the council shall have the management and control of the finances and all of the property, real and personal, belonging to the city or town.”

AN EXAMPLE OF WHAT NOT TO DO IF YOU ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR CITY PROPERTY. A QUESTION OF GROSS NEGLIGENCE?
The Clarion, article by Heather Garner - "After doing a public records request asking for a copy of the city council meeting minutes showing acceptance of the boat donation; city council meeting minutes showing the boat was declared as surplus property; a copy of the donation letter given to the Culvers and a copy of the bill of sale showing the boat was sold, it was discovered that the City Council never publicly accepted the donation, the property was never declared surplus, and that copies of the donation letter and bill of sale were not kept for recording, by the City. According to Rick Wheeler, City Finance Director, the boat was never listed as an asset by the City and it was never insured by the City."
More on the boat issue:
During today's discussions with Mayor Potter regarding the insurance carriers loss control report, I asked the Mayor, who was responsible for management of property within the city in regards to the boat issue? His reply, "Rick Wheeler."

City took payments from purchaser
Clarion Report
"Records received by the City of Scottsboro, on a Cash Collection History Report, show cash payments in the amount of $2,300 on December 13,2013, $200 on January 3, 2014, $200 received on February 7,2014 and $300 on March 3,2014, received from Rick Nugent."

Insurance Carriers Loss Control Report Disclosure
2015 Insurance Carriers Loss Control Report Inspection
There were no safety findings reported, it was indicated that the City of Scottsboro has a Safety Committee and they meet on a regular basis. 
There were three Items listed as items of concern on the insurance carriers 2015 loss control report. During the month of July an annual inspection is performed. The Mayor produced the report and we discussed each finding. The Mayor's time regarding this item was appreciated. Numbered Findings described as follows along with the City of Scottsboro's reply.  

1) No sexual harassment policy. This was an oversight by the insurance carriers inspector, the City of Scottsboro does have a comprehensive sexual harassment policy contained in The 2004 City of Scottsboro Personnel Handbook. The city indicated this in their reply along with the reference material. As a side note to this finding, but not identified, the City should participate in annual Equal Opportunity/Sexual Harassment Training. We discussed this and the Mayor agreed that this would be a good idea to implement an annual or once every two years type of training program. There have been Sexual Harassment and Equal Opportunity claims against the City of Scottsboro. 
2) What is an acceptable driving record description for city employees. Reply - It was indicated that this policy or description was needed and is being submitted for inclusion as a personnel policy.
3) Emergency lighting deficiency at City Hall and the Senior Center. City Reply - The city has an emergency power generator to supply lighting in case of a power outage. The deficient emergency light at the senior center was replaced.
All other areas either complied or were expalined during the inspection.

AGENDA
Work Session

VIDEO of Work Session



Video of Transparency issue, agenda item 9


                             AGENDA of Regular Session
Mayors Report - Porter Road will be closed for 2 weeks maximum, probably less, because of drainage tile replacement near rail road Tracks.  Also, due to Alabama Budget cuts it was announced that the National Guard Armory on Cedar Hill Drive will be closing. The armory will revert back to the City of Scottsboro.

                              Video of Regular meeting

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Jackson County Commission and Scottsboro City Council Work Sessions June 20, 2016

Jackson County Courthouse, North Side, photo by G. Morgan

There was no quorum present for a Commission Meeting, the work session will be held next Monday along with the regular meeting.

video


Scottsboro City Council Meeting

Beautiful picture of Robert T. Scott, Sr,, Founder of Scottsboro by John Warr, hangs in the foyer to Scottsboro City Hall. (photo by G. Morgan)

There was no quorum present for a City Council meeting.

video


Monday, June 20, 2016

The Boat and the Mayor of Scottsboro - Deep Throat 11 - The Expose Continues - Shh, we had a boat, now we don't, the Mayor sold it, where's the money, but don't tell anyone.

Photo of Mayor Melton Potter at the State of the City Address. Photo by G.Morgan

(UPDATE JUNE 30, 2016)
Code of Alabama 1975 § 11-43-56 “Except as otherwise provided in this title, the council shall have the management and control of the finances and all of the property, real and personal, belonging to the city or town.”

Once again, Scottsboro's Mayor, Melton Potter, has found himself embroiled in another political escapade of ridiculousness. You would think he would have learned by now that you cannot do whatever you want just because you are the Mayor, or is it because he has not been held accountable that his ridiculousness continues? Has he learned he can get by with not following law, rules, policy and procedures? Does our Mayor think that law does not pertain to him because of his political position?

THE BOAT 
In December 2012 a citizen donated a boat to the City of Scottsboro. I vaguely remember a discussion about this as it was stated a boat would be good to show industrial prospects around the community. 
Goosepond Colony (GPC) Marina photo - The folks at GPC did not know any specifics about the boat other than to confirm the City of Scottsboro did have a boat tied up on the end of one of the docks. (Fair use photo for non-profit news reporting and commentary.)

AN EXAMPLE OF WHAT NOT TO DO IF YOU ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR CITY PROPERTY. A QUESTION OF GROSS NEGLIGENCE?
The Clarion, article by Heather Garner - "After doing a public records request asking for a copy of the city council meeting minutes showing acceptance of the boat donation; city council meeting minutes showing the boat was declared as surplus property; a copy of the donation letter given to the Culvers and a copy of the bill of sale showing the boat was sold, it was discovered that the City Council never publicly accepted the donation, the property was never declared surplus, and that copies of the donation letter and bill of sale were not kept for recording, by the City. According to Rick Wheeler, City Finance Director, the boat was never listed as an asset by the City and it was never insured by the City."
More on the boat issue:
During today's discussions (June 30, 2016) with Mayor Potter regarding the insurance carriers loss control report, I asked the Mayor, who was responsible for management of property within the city in regards to the boat issue? His reply, "Rick Wheeler." 

UPDATE - Bill of Sale provided on June 27, 2016
Boat was sold in April 2014
(click on image for an expanded view)
This is a boat similar to the one sold for $3000.00, a 1979 Marinette Cabin Cruiser

City took payments from purchaser
Clarion Report
"Records received by the City of Scottsboro, on a Cash Collection History Report, show cash payments in the amount of $2,300 on December 13,2013, $200 on January 3, 2014, $200 received on February 7,2014 and $300 on March 3,2014, received from Rick Nugent."


 There is other information which has been provided to me regarding Scottsboro's financial accountability and the numerous accounts of the City of Scottsboro. It is this citizens opinion that a forensic audit of the City of Scottsboro should be accomplished as soon as possible by the Alabama Department of Public Examiners which should include all financial accounts, cash records, and all property records and control policies.

Fair use for non-profit news reporting and commentary. 

Does the City of Scottsboro leadership pass the test of good governance?

Friday, June 17, 2016

Scottsboro Water Quality

The Scottsboro Water, Sewer & Gas Board operates two surface water filter plants. Both of our plants receive water from the Tennessee River. Link: http://www.scottsborowsg.com/index.cfm?formID=treatmentPlants  Photo courtesy of the Scottsboro Water Sewer and Gas Board - Fair Use of photo for non-profit news reporting and commentary.


Some folks have questioned the quality of drinking water in Scottsboro. Reasons, 1) demolition of B.B. Comer Bridge, lead content in paint and petro chemicals from road surface contamination; 2) perfluoroalkyl substances (also known as PFAS chemicals) which have been found in the water supply of counties west of Madison County which has resulted in no consumption warnings.

The Director of the Scottsboro Water Sewer and Gas Board, Mr. Roy Light, was interviewed by telephone on Thursday June 16, 2016 on the current water chemistry information. Mr. Light stated there are no current problems with Scottsboro's drinking water supply, it is safe to drink. I discussed lead content in the water, Mr. Light informed me that water analysis for this heavy metal had been completed this month and the chemistry essay revealed no detectable level. He also stated there were no detectable levels of PFA's, PFOA's and PFO'sin our local water supply. Scottsboro's current reports are listed below.


EXCELLENT WATER QUALITYIN SCOTTSBORO
Scottsboro Waterworks, Sewer & Gas Board tested our water for perfluoroalkyl substances (also known as PFAS chemicals) as required by EPA. Samples were collected, from each of our water plants, on 09/24/14, 12/18/14, 03/23/15, and 06/08/15. Lab analysis was performed by an independent certified laboratory approved by EPA. Our water DID NOT contain any of the PFAS substances, including PFOA and PFOS. PFAS’s have been used to make carpets, clothing, fabrics for furniture, and paper packaging for food that are resistant to water, grease and stains. Water contamination is typically localized and associated with a specific facility where these chemicals were produced or used to manufacture other products. Please contact Roy E. Light, General Manager, (256-574-1515) if you have any questions.

Chemistry Analysis and Scottsboro Water Quality Report (Clickon image for an expanded view.