School board steamrolls hiring opposition - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

School board steamrolls hiring opposition

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By Jennifer Emert - bio | email

ALBANY, GA (WALB) –  Blistering criticism from the community failed to prompt the Dougherty County School Board to change its controversial superintendent selection.

Board members were forced to talk about their selection publicly, but some still refuse to answer our questions about it.

A crowd packed a called meeting during which critics said the board gave the community a black eye by quickly selecting Dr. Joshua Murfree, who ranked so lowly on the candidate list, as the only finalist for superintendent.

But the board didn't waiver, and voted again to keep Murfree.

It was standing room only as the public got the chance to share their thoughts with the board. 18 people spoke their minds, and the opinions were both for and against what the board did.

The meeting was packed with concerned, even angry parents and business leaders.

"It gives us a black eye it does not create the kind of environment that companies are going to want to come into and establish industry in and you just need to do your job better," said  Thomas Mueller.

"Of the people I tried to bring in for interviews, many refused to come to Albany because of what they had seen, heard or read," said Leslie Hudson of MillerCoors.

But not everyone agreed. "I think the board has spoken and I do know that this is a democratic process, that the majority has spoken," said Rev. Bankston.

"I agree 100 percent with the selection they made, we chose them to represent us and that they are doing a fine job," said Bishop John Burr.

Board member Milton Griffin claimed David Maschke hasn't told the truth about the selection process. "Did David mention he nominated a candidate first, did he tell anyone the news?"

"They did not want to follow that process," said Maschke. "They did not want to do any second interviews. They said they were done meeting and they were ready to vote for a superintendent in an open meeting."

When Maschke moved to start the process over, James Bush made another motion to continue with Murfree, and it passed four to three.

"The majority has spoken, and we'll just look forward to working with what's been laid out," said Board Member Michael Windom.

When the board adjourned, Milton Griffin and James Bush immediately left the room and even when we pursued, said 'no comment.' It was the same from Velvet Riggins and Dr. Anita Brown who wouldn't answer our questions about why they chose not to continue the hiring process. 

Milton Griffin made a motion to not even hold a public hearing so the community can meet with Murfree, but it died for lack of a second.

The board must wait 14 days after announcing Murfree as the sole candidate before he's officially hired.


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