First of all. many thanks to all my readers for sharing the link to my last article that dealt with the repercussions from Dallemand’s pedagogical reign of terror and also the fiasco AKA the Promise initiative that was in response to Charles Richardson continuing to defend and make excuses for that man as well as remnants that include the Promise Initiative. My article was read by over 6,000 unique visitors as of this morning if Google analytics is to be believed. I hope you will also decide to follow this blog by subscribing because much more is coming. Also please continue sharing links on your favorite social media sites. I rely on you to help spread the word so your sharing and linking to this site will help immensely to be seen by the Google bots. As a community focused blog, I can’t stress enough how important your comments are below the articles. Please start leaving comments and let me know what you are thinking. I am also waiting for articles from others in the community. I received around 15 private messages with comments that I would have much preferred had been submitted as comments below the article instead or indeed as articles. Whether you agree, disagree, have positive or negative things to say about what you read here all voices are welcome. Your feedback will help begin the conversation that is so long overdue.
Charles did not reply directly on my site as I had hoped. One impetus for the creation of this site was the horribly poor user experience Macon.com has become in terms of being bombarded with dozens of ads, trackers, and scripts. It is as slow as molasses. Run your own tests at Google Pagesights. When I ran the test I got a 48/100 for mobile and a 58/100 for desktop which is beyond terrible. Anything below a score of 73 in fact needs to be fixed immediately. Many people also cannot log on the the telegraph website without a subscription. In the past they seemed a bit lax on this policy but I believe that policy is now being enforced.
But more important than the slowness, the abundance of ads, tracking cookies, and java scripts is they changed from a very good Disqus commenting system to Facebook. Unless you are really adept with the Facebook commenting plug-ins and coding for a website there can be problems with slow loading, disappearing comments, and many more issues I am sure you have all encountered. Facebook is also limited when you want to include photos, or video attachments, links, and even a 🙂 . Stories that used to routinely get 100 or more comments now get 2 or 3 at most. This website by contrast has a much more user friendly commenting system that I hope you will also start using.
Charles, in all honesty I have no idea whether your wife is good at her job or not and quite frankly neither do you. All you have to go by is her word and possibly her friends and I doubt even if they thought she was not very good they would tell you. Unless you work side-by-side with her you really wouldn’t know. But let’s assume she is a fantastic worker and great at her job. One simply cannot ignore the fact that as soon as she was hired by Dallemand your editorial became increasingly more effusive with heaping praise with any and all topics related to Dallemand and the Macon Nightmare. Even when many of Dallemand’s former supporters began to question him once report after report came out you remained loyal and steadfast in your support. I did not mention your wife in my article yesterday because I don’t think she is relevant to the discussion and I will take your word she is good at her job. I have no beef at all with your wife and in fact am pleased to hear she is trying to help clean up the mess left behind by her former boss and I wish her luck.
Conflict of Interest and a Question of Journalistic Integrity and Good Judgement
However, I am allowed to question whether you are good at your job given the enormous conflict of interest as a journalist with a wife that worked for the school system under Dallemand. Your “editorials” read more like your were a hired PR mouthpiece for Romain than an unbiased authoritative editorial writer. Good writers never lie about the facts and never cherry pick the facts that support their opinion while ignoring the ones that don’t. Instead, they respect the facts, and if necessary they change their opinions accordingly. You didn’t do that Charles. When it became clear the Macon Miracle was nothing but smoke and mirrors and the effects of the kool-aid began to wear off you remained ever loyal in your support of Dallemand and even now continue to try and make excuses and reasons to support the failed Promise initiative. Who cares if other board members signed off on that. If you read my article yesterday I clearly said all of the former board not just Hudson, West, Carter, Middleton, and Barnes certainly must accept some responsibility for not more forcefully exercising their duties to supervise an out of control superintendent. I also blamed 7 of the current board with the exception of Lester Miller for approving that golden parachute for a man that quit his job. He should have been fired or at the very least a better deal could have easily been negotiated had they simply stalled a little longer. (Read Full Text of Dallemand Severance Agreement Here)
Your job title is listed as senior opinion editor. That implies there are some junior opinion writers still working there. Given your wife’s employment with the school system the ethical thing to do would have been to recuse yourself from any and all education topics, give free reign and indeed orders to another writer to have full autonomy and authority to go where the facts lead them with all education editorials. Her job presented a major conflict of interest for you to ever write an opinion piece on the school system. This is simply indisputable. Macon has a lot of issues to cover so you could have stayed busy but instead you chose to permanently damage your reputation and credibility by actively advocating for an incompetent idiot and the good people of Bibb county are left to foot the bill.
Your other point about open records almost made me laugh. Need I remind you that the Macon Telegraph itself wrote a few articles complaining how difficult, slow, and expensive it was to get any open record requests from Dallemand. Citizens in the community simply do not have hundred or even thousands of dollars to dig for records from a government entity intent on making that process as difficult as possible which is precisely why the state attorney general sent his assistant here to remind the board about Georgia sunshine laws. Isn’t that your job as a newspaper? Even with Dr. Smith now in charge and doing his best to clean up the mess the public simply doesn’t have the financial resources or indeed time to dig through the thousands of documents so your answer was akin to “let them eat cake”.
Thanks to many people like Bill Knowles, your own Macon Telegraph, and many others as well, I have read all the files available that were released. What I read was extremely disturbing and my question to you is why are you not seeing that $51 million missing is not outrageous regardless of who or how many on the board approved this? And why do you not see that a broken school system in an economically depressed city should not be diverting millions from the budget over a project like Promise Initiative when so many other things are desperately needed in the schools themselves? That is my question to you Charles. What are you seeing in these released reports that the other people at the Macon Telegraph, all other news media in Macon and indeed other journalists from across the state and even nation are not seeing? Have you considered that maybe you are the one that got it wrong…
The late senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan once said “Everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not his own facts.” This is something that bad editorial writers never learn.
Here is what your counterpart at the Rochester Minnesota newspaper thought about Dallemand Audit:
Dallemand left financial mess in Georgia
Here is what other writers at the Macon Telegraph though about Dallemand
School audit blasts Dallemand for policy violations, spending
Dallemand’s tenure packed with trips near and far
And here is what Steve Smith Said about Dallemand
Interim Bibb Superintendent: Board could have fired Dallemand ” Collier laid out a timeline for the spending. He says he was demoted for speaking out about it, and described a culture of intimidation and coercion during Dallemand’s tenure.
“It doesn’t take a DA or U.S. Attorney to understand the logic of all of this,” Collier said.
“When people look to see what’s happened to Mr. Collier, I think they were very hesitant to speak their mind,” Smith said.
Any investigation would have to address the culpability of school board members and their legal counsel. The audit shows the school board voted to rubber stamp many purchases after a contract was written or after a no-bid purchase was made.
Smith said the votes came on the advice of Chief External Council Patrick Millsaps.
“He felt like, I think that was in the best interest of the board to ratify the document after the fact to prevent further litigation from the companies involved,” Smith said.
Perhaps it is you Charles that simply cannot see the forest for the trees.
the amazing thing about all of this is the lack of Major uproar. It is almost comparable to criticizing obama, if you question him you are racist. I get the same feeling here. I still wonder, where is the taxpayer outrage? As far as charles writing about the BoE, I told Sherrie Marshall over a year ago that was a major conflict, and since charles see’s fit to continue to try to justify selling a property for a pittance, then renting it back at MY expense, well, I just don’t give him any credence anymore. In my mind he is firmly ensconced in dollarman’s pocket. He has joined with columnist meeks when it comes to seeing things as they are. In other words, he sees things through a pair of glasses with which I am not familiar. This is a bit disjointed as I could write several pages and I’ve drifted into other areas but the bottom line is, Where is the outrage and why does charles continue to think anyone believes what HE writes?
I could almost overlook his conflict of interest if he were at least a better writer. I honestly think his writing is extremely unfocused, unappealing, unorganized, and completely unpersuasive. Don’t get me wrong I would still disagree with nearly all the conclusions he reaches but at least I would be entertained and have more respect for him. Now I realize it would be easy to go through my articles and find numerous typos and other errors, but I am writing rather quickly (most in just a few hours or less) in my free time. He has a full week to work on his articles and refine them and his articles are also very short. His sophomoric writing offends me almost more than his unethical connection to the BOE, his subservience to the Cotton street mafia types, and his often bizarre and uninspiring choice of subject matter.