According to a March 3 AJC article, Interim Superintendent Michael Thurmond was to have presented a 90-day plan of action on March 15—most likely including a request for a forensic audit.
“Q: Have you or do you plan to request a forensic audit?
A: “On March 15, I have to present my 90 day-plan to the board. I would be surprised if that would not be one of my recommendations.”
Ironically, at the April 1 meeting – after the report was already over two weeks late – the all new Board approved an amendment to Thurmond’s contract that gave him an extension to April 30 to submit his ’90 day plan’ and to July 31 for his first review. [Incredibly, this was not on the agenda for the 2PM work session, but appeared just in time to get on the 7PM business meeting.]
The amendment (which we certainly paid attorneys to write) states:
Sentence One of Paragraph 7(A) is deleted and replaced with the following:
By no later than April 30, 2013, the Board and Interim Superintendent shall meet to establish goals, objectives, and expectations of performance by the Interim Superintendent, which shall be among the criteria by which the Interim Superintendent shall be evaluated for that school year.
Sentence One of Paragraph 7(B) is deleted and replaced with the following:
The Board and Interim Superintendent shall meet in closed executive session, by July 31, 2013, for the purpose of evaluating the Interim Superintendent’s performance. Thereafter, at least once each fiscal year, the Board and the Interim Superintendent shall meet in closed executive session for the purpose of evaluating the Interim Superintendent’s performance.
All other provisions of the Employment Contract, dated February 8, 2013, remain in full force and effect. … [Well, at least until they amend it again.]
That means that Thurmond will spend his first 90 days creating a 90 day plan! Oh the irony!
In truth, we have spent the last several years awaiting various 90-day plans —first from Ramona Tyson, then Cheryl Atkinson and now Michael Thurmond. We have awaited plans and then read plans but have never really implemented any kind of plan – instead, we just get a new Super and a new Board and start over! And each one promises to request a ‘new’ forensic audit – after finally admitting burying the the only one ever done—in 2004. In fact, in May, 2011 Ramona Tyson publicly and dramatically promised a brand new forensic audit – and included a specific timeline! That was two years ago, yet as of today, no forensic audit has been ordered.
So comes April 3, and Mark Elgart holds a very dramatic meeting talking about goals and expectations. This would be encouraging, except he is chatting with a temporary Superintendent and a temporary Board – placeholders at best, until we elect an all new (7 member) Board in July, 2014. Then, this newly elected Board won’t even take their seats until January 1, 2015.
Will our temporary Board spend the time and energy necessary to go ahead and hire a much-needed professional, experienced Superintendent? Or will they defer that decision to the next elected Board – who can’t even begin the process until January, 2015? If so, then Thurmond could end up steering the rudder for well over two years!
Thurmond himself led us to believe that he wanted to find a highly qualified permanent superintendent ASAP. In fact, a February 8 report in the AJC quoted Thurmond as saying that finding a permanent superintendent would be Job #1: “Thurmond said the search for a permanent superintendent would begin immediately and he would leave as soon as one is found.”
But then, those extra large deposits into his checking account made their debut! And gee, Thurmond is now saying that he plans to stay at least a year—or as long as this Board ‘needs’ him.
Feeling duped yet?
Please read our article, “The Vortex of DeKalb” to get a sense of perspective.
You may also want to read, “Thurmond treads into Ramona Tyson’s land of empty promises“