DCSS Board Member emails tell details of search - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

DCSS Board Member emails tell details of search

James Bush denies he's ever sent e-mails regarding the superintendent search James Bush denies he's ever sent e-mails regarding the superintendent search

By Jennifer Emert - bio | email

ALBANY, GA (WALB) –  An inside look at the mindset of at least of some of the Dougherty School Board Members in their search for a superintendent.

A telling e-mail from board member James Bush states the search is for a superintendent who will be a follower, not a leader. It's a stunning revelation that could perhaps explain why the board bypassed more qualified candidates and chose Joshua Murfree for the job.

Since a media lawsuit forced the board to release information on the other finalists for the job. We've discovered that several highly qualified candidates applied for the position, candidates with much more experience that Joshua Murfree.

So these discoveries raise even more questions about Murfree's selection and the e-mails possibly hold some answers.

Among the 37 school superintendent candidates were six superintendents, five assistant superintendents, several principals and consultants, but board members selected Joshua Murfree, who has no K-through-12 experience.

Since the day his selection was announced, board members who voted for him, have all but run from reporters and still refuse to talk to us. Now, using Georgia's Open Records law, we've obtained e-mails they sent to each other and they speak volumes.

In this December 15, 2009 e-mail to the board chairman, board member James Bush wrote quote, "We need someone who is dependable, someone who is proud of doing steady, consistent work, and leader who is content to follow rather than lead."

A surprising job description for the person who will be at the helm of Dougherty County Schools. Bush denies he's even sent e-mails, and didn't provide any under the open records request. Neither would Dr. Anita Williams Brown, Milton Griffin, or Velvet Riggins.

But Bush's comments showed up in e-mail threads between him and board chairman David Maschke.

"I sent letters twice to various members of the board three members responded and I disclosed that," said Tommy Coleman, DCSS Board Attorney.

James Bush wouldn't come to the door of his home Friday or return our phone calls. Job finalist Joshua Murfree won't talk about the superintendent search either.

"You won't comment at all on the school board or why you were a good candidate?" we asked him Friday at Albany State.

Murfree removed his microphone and shook his head no.

Now that the lawsuit we filed has been settled and dismissed, the board will ask the six candidates interviewed if their names can be released.

"Those people will have to be contacted, they'll have an opportunity to withdraw, if they do withdraw their names will not be disclosed if they do go on and decide to be candidates their information will be disclosed," said Coleman.

That information should be available next week. Among the items released, will be any information those candidates submitted to the board, that includes, resumes, applications, and any other information the board obtained.

Once that information is released, board members must wait 14 days before officially hiring a candidate. If the top candidate is still Joshua Murfree they will need to take one more vote to officially appoint him to the position of Superintendent.

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