Winners and Losers

  People win and lose in the political world.  In the case of the LCSS budget discussions for the 2011-12 School Year, taxpayers lost.  No, there won’t be another forced property tax hike, but the people of this state and county still must foot the bill to increase funding for the LCSS.  The LCSS still hasn’t justified its spending plan, by the way.  Our local version of a democratic republican form of government was used get the deal done without a full accounting to the people. 

  The clear winner in the process was the county’s Superintendent of Schools.  Dr. Moss got an unusual (maximum) extension to his lucrative contract and a 4-year guarantee of salary and perks. The LCBOE has now made sure Dr. Moss’ term of office exceeds that of any of the elected officials to whom he seems nominally responsible.  Plus, he has a new salary and compensation deal that has not been made public.  (What is so democratically republican about our appointed leaders and managers being immune to pending changes in the democratically elected representatives of the voters of this county over the next two election cycles?) 

  There were a number of losers in this LCSS budget debate.  Taxpayers lost: tax rates and burdens remain unnecessarily high.  Student athletes and bandsmen lost: they and their parents found out that Dr. Moss was more than willing to trade them away for his own gadgets and gizmos.  Teachers lost: they too were found to be expendable. 

  The democratic republican form of government lost, too, as used in the liberal or progressive context.  A handful of dutifully elected representatives of the people approved funding increases for the LCSS; funding which, by the way, may well have been justified without any more substantiation or justification than Dr. Moss was willing to give.  Five members of the LCBOE and four members of the LCBOC must be asked, and asked, and asked again, over the remainder of their respective terms of office, ‘What do you stand for? And to whom are you beholden?’ 

  No, our form of government didn’t win or lose.  Moss won while taxpayers, students, and teachers lost.  Maybe over the next two election cycles, this county will be able to comprehend who the real winners were, and why and for what purpose.  Maybe they will come to understand it wasn’t about our kids or their education.

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About Charles Carroll

I am a wealthy planter, originally from Maryland, and an early advocate of independence from Great Britain. I served as a delegate to the Continental Congress and later as United States Senator for Maryland. I was the only Catholic and last surviving signatory of the Declaration of Independence.
This entry was posted in Budget, Education, Election 2012, Lee County Politics, Taxes & Fees. Bookmark the permalink.

11 Responses to Winners and Losers

  1. shawn says:

    Charles just so I can understand, you believe that you have facts that will say that the Superintendent got an increase in benefits? I would hate to say to you that is a false, and whoever told you that is only trying to keep things going. Is this blog only about your way and no other way, and if so that is good to know. I know I met with three Commissioners, and at the end of the meeting they left with what they wanted to know answered, and a few follow up questions to be given. I think it is time to stop the trash talking and lets get down to the real business and that is making sure that ALL citizens of Lee County have a fair chance and equal opportunity to the best of our abilities.

  2. LetLIbertyPrevail says:

    shawn…please clarify Mr. BOE chairman. Why give the supplements in the first place? Were they used as performance bonuses like some businesses do? And if so, why where they rolled up as salary behind closed doors and objected by the only TWO conservatives on the board done at a time when you are saying that there’s nowhere else left to cut but the classroom? I just want to understand if you took teacher supplements and gave them the same benefits as you did the administrators. And why did you extend Mr. Moss’ contract when his current one didn’t end until 2014? You could have very well waited until 2013. Don’t think that is an election year? These are questions the citizens would like for you to answer. Because right now it appears the BOE, headed by you, wanted to slap a few of us in the face. Just my observation.

  3. shawn says:

    Well simple put I can see how you may feel that way, and I cant speak for my other BOE members, but I can say as I said that night, that you can’t extend a contract during election year. Most good Superintendents don’t get down to their last year to get a contract extension, it does not send a good message in my opinion. We will never agree on supplements, so that issue is closed. Supplements are just like incentives that are given to businesses which I would assume you don’t believe. There was nothing done behind closed doors, that is against the law. Everything we have done has been done on the floor in open meetings. I shared my answers, you might not agree, but that is my justification for what I did, and what I believe the other BOE members did.

    • The Sheepdog says:

      Mr. Williams:
      It amazes me how you can lie, unabashedly! “Nothing done behind closed doors” – Most “GOOD” superintendents – (you call this conniving parasite good. What’s he got on you?) – “suppliments are just like incentives” (ask anybody who gets paid on commission if supplements are the same as incentives) At first I thought you were either misguided or in a position far above your abilities. As time goes on and more unfolds, the lies, obfuscations, intentional misrepresentations, it becomes aparent I was wrong. You and you’re buch are just dispicable!

  4. shawn says:

    Just for clarification, there was nothing new added to Dr. Moss contract, so I am not sure why the thought is he got something new this year. All he got was an additional year added onto his contract, because all the evidence states that our system is going in the right direction.

    • Goose says:

      Shawn, Are you telling us that having Supplements treated as Salary is Not new? You may be telling the truth about the contract but I don’t think you are telling the whole truth about Dr Moss’s employment by the school system. For example you claim “but I can say as I said that night, that you can’t extend a contract during election year.” Can you cite the source for this statement? Law. Regulation, or just common practice? There may be something that prevents a lame duck BOE from extending a contract binding on the incoming BOE and if so you have done worse by extending through 2 election cycles. I don’t believe there is anything that stops a BOE from extending a contract once the new members are sworn in (July I think for Lee Co) Also you state that there was nothing done behind closed doors, so why did the Herald write “The Lee County Board of Education voted 5-2 to extend Superintendent Jeff Moss’ contract through 2015 during a closed session meeting late Tuesday”? Directly contradicts you doesn’t it? I am no great believer of the Herald’s reporting, nor do I believe you would break the law knowingly. So after talking it over in closed session, you opened a public session, allowed the 2 that disagreed to go on record and held the formal vote. That is what really happened right? I think you tell the truth just not the whole truth and I have a name for people like you…
      Tell me do you really expect Moss to work for 4 more years without a salary increase? I have heard that there is an automatic increase when enrollment goes above a certain number. Is this true and was it already in his contract so you can make your claim that there was nothing NEW in the extension? I think you get the ideal that you (and the Board) have lost my trust.

    • That’s right Shawn. You and your board had already done the dirty deed last year. That’s when all the perks were added to Moss’ contract. You made Jeff Moss a very rich man, indeed. No one knew or had reported anywhere that you guys gave him a deferred comp package of $18K a year, bearing interest. Your one year extension of that contract this week now makes his likely entitlement from that deferred comp well over $90,000, just for showing up to work. There are no objective-based incentives in his contract, and nothing tied whatsoever to performance. in total, he makes over $200,000 a year in direct fiancial compensation. He gets a comp. package unprecedented for Lee County and the state of North Caolina. And we don’t even have a school system that meets or exceeds state averages. Are you guys insane?

  5. LetLibertyPrevail says:

    So supplements are not bonuses? Not Merit pay, so to speak like the private sector would give if performance and goals are met?

    As for incentives, there is a reason I don’t believe in them. We shouldn’t have to give incentives to lower a business’ tax rate. We should just give a lower tax rate all around. Lower taxes means I have more money in my pocket which means I spend more which means more tax revenue generated. It isn’t rocket science.

    What you didn’t answer is why were the teachers not extended this benefit?

  6. Rich Wulpern says:

    Mr. Williams,

    I am sorry, but your board has some serious credibility problems.

    First, before any budget negotiations even start, the schools start having ‘informational sessions’ where Dr Moss essentially pumped up the crowd with unsubstantiated claims of what would happen if he didn’t get his way (You remember, the loss of all athletics, etc.). Next, you go on your planned trip to San Francisco. Yes, I know it was budgeted, yes I know there is a minimum number of required training hours. But you have to understand, you stroked the fires to begin with and this was perceived as a waste of money (and there were cheaper alternatives).

    Next we have Dr. Moss calling for an immediate emergency meeting to deal with a budget that hasn’t been and, at the time, wasn’t close to being passed. More over-reaction. During this whole time, the board, through Dr Moss, keeps saying that if they don’t get the additional $4M+ that the required cuts would be draconian. I don’t remember the numbers, but it was over 100 people.

    Yet, in the end, the board received less than 15% of the requested amount and all of a sudden everything is ‘ok’. All of a sudden, you stop stroking the fires. Give me a break. This is like the boy who cried wolf. Next year, when you request some amount over this years budget, and it will be greater, why should I believe you or the board?

    You stonewalled all attempts to justify your current budget requests. You claimed doom and gloom if your request wasn’t met when in the end you were able to meet your needs on significantly less money. You extend Dr Moss’s contract and protect his supplements without protecting the teachers.

    So, again, why should I believe you going forward and why is this a good thing for the teachers and the county?

    I see this as a good thing for Dr Moss, but a terrible thing for our community, and you’re in charge of the board that allowed these events to come to pass.

  7. Sanford27330 says:

    Let’s be clear. This year Dr. Moss only got an extension. However the system is still on the hook for the 80 percent (going from $40,000 in the May 2010 approved budget to $72,000 in the October 2010 budget is an 80 percent hike)supplement increase of last year for several more years. The teachers, who do more day to day to move the district in the right direction than anyone, still bear the brunt of the layoffs and burdens imposed by the plan that’s been passed. The two c.o. job losses are most likely attrition so little will change in the administrative end.

  8. Someone else says:

    Shawn, since you read this blog, you might as well know that the board’s actions are a huge slap in the face for teachers. Teachers were told to do extra work this summer, but there is no money for that. Really? They couldn’t pay teachers the usual $100 per diem for curriculum work for a day or two? For the uninformed, we aren’t talking about many teachers or many days. Moss could pay and never even miss it. Meanwhile, teachers are busting butt working on Moss’s requests and getting screwed.

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