Board members don't say why they like Murfree -, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Board members don't say why they like Murfree

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Board members Milton 'June Bug' Griffin and James Bush Board members Milton 'June Bug' Griffin and James Bush

By Jennifer Emert - bio | email

ALBANY, GA (WALB) –  The Dougherty County School Board officially hired a controversial choice for school superintendent. But they did not approve a contract, so Dr. Joshua Murfree can't yet take over.

It was a four to three vote. James Bush, Milton Griffin, Dr. Anita Williams Brown, and Velvet Riggins voted to hire Murfree, even though by the criteria they set out, he was far from the most qualified applicant.

Murfree's hiring was a late addition to the meeting agenda. Board members previously declined to talk about why they selected Murfree as the top candidate because of an open records lawsuit.

With that settled we thought we'd hear more from them about why Murfree was the top choice. We were wrong.

Four school board members voted to make Dr. Joshua Murfree the school system's top employee, but wouldn't explain why they believe he's the right man for the job.  

We asked why he's a good candidate, and the best superintendent? James Bush, and Milton Griffin all walked by our cameras.

"No comment," said Griffin.

We reminded him that he made the motion to hire, but "Come on..." was all June Bug Griffin said.

Velvet Riggins stopped, but gave us few answers, and eventually walked away. "They need to look at the qualifications we placed. Look at the qualifications, ask Mr. Harter he'll be glad to give you a booklet."

And you feel he meets those qualifications?

"He's the best qualification for the 26 schools in Dougherty County."


"Because he's what we need."

Why do we need him? "Come on," said Dr. Anita Williams Brown.

Board member Emily Jean McAfee didn't hold her opinions back,saying there's no evidence to show Murfree's prepared to lead this school system and doesn't have the credentials.

"He may be a fine man, but he hasn't applied anywhere else because he would have been in the third tier based on his credentials, in any search. You can deny that if you want to and vote for him, but the proof is in the pudding."

Murfree has no contract, no set salary, giving the board little leverage, but neither did Dr. Whatley when she was hired. The board also failed to take steps to put Murfree one step closer to starting the job.

"Since they were in a sudden rush to appoint Dr. Murfree today," said David Maschke, DCSS Board Chairman. "I asked Mr. Griffin to amend his motion so that we could get the paperwork moving on the waiver. No waiver, no start work."

So when Murfree will take the reigns is still unknown. Apparently, Murfree doesn't want to meet the public. Early on, the board promised to have a public forum to introduce their finalists, but today they voted against that at Murfree's request.

Instead they'll allow him to host an open house once he's settled into the job. Murfree is currently the Chief of Staff and the Executive Assistant to the President at Albany State University. He was not at Tuesday's meeting for the announcement.


  • Here is an Official Statement From Board Member Velvet Riggins


Dear media representatives,

 Thank you for your patience as we go through this process. Below is my official statement concerning Dr. Joshua Murfree:

(Please share with your audiences as soon as possible)

By virtue of Dr. Murfree's broad-based experience and expertise, he will be able to play the leading role in directing and integrating highly interrelated programs that assist family and youth who may face such dire situations as poverty, premature parenthood, substance abuse, unemployment and homelessness so our students can realize their maximum academic and personal potential, resulting in those children becoming educationally and emotionally successful and thereby enhancing their ability to pursue productive careers.

Dr. Murfree will help link the needs of Family, School and Community.

I heard it quoted somewhere,   "We need to demonstrate in this world that we celebrate children, believe in them, challenge them, and prepare them for their world.  And most important, (we need to) create opportunities for them."

I am confident that Dr. Joshua Murfree and the staff of DCSS will provide this for our children.


Thank you.


Velvet Riggins

Dougherty County School Board Member-District 3


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