Sunday, October 21, 2007

Scott Galloway's $400,000 gift of taxpayer dollars

Olentangy Residents,

In July, Olentangy school board member and candidate, Scott Galloway, celebrated a night of giving; giving the gift of taxpayer dollars of course.

Galloway and the rest of the board unanimously amended the superintendent's contract effective July 17 and added almost $400,000 in salary and benefits. That's a lot of money given the cry for an additional levy. Actually, it's a lot of money no matter how you put it. Of course, it's all for the kids. Yeah, right!

Keep in mind that the superintendent was already one of the highest paid in Ohio. And, that was before the new amendments.

The new contract is a wonder to read. It removes the original accountability language and replaces it with guaranteed dollars.

In true double-speak, the bonus that was based on performance, and is now just another salary component, is classified in the contract as "at-risk compensation." At-risk? Come on, the bonus is guaranteed and is to be paid out before the school year begins.

In a bit of irony, the Ludwig von Mises Institute recently published my
article on such types of gifts; gifts where the elected officials stand proud as they give your tax dollars away in their name. In addition, the Institute also published my article regarding those who end up suffering from the district's -- and Galloway's -- profligate spending habits.

I really don't know what's worse: the board giving away your tax dollars; the superintendent accepting those dollars while whining about budget shortfalls; or, the spin that was placed on this whole mess. Some people have no shame at all.

Remember this as the board and superintendent just agreed upon the "need" for a March levy; despite the fact that none is needed until 2009.

And, more importantly, remember this at the ballot machine.

Galloway claims he is for fiscal accountability, yet his true nature is exactly the opposite -- by $400,000 of taxpayer money.

Galloway wants your vote ... and your money.

Read the provisions of the contract (here). You will be amazed, shocked, and troubled. I was.


Anonymous said...

Some of the provisions in this document make it unrecognizable as a labor contract. This is a corporate executive parachute. As such, I would be surprised if Dimon McPherson was not the guiding hand that rewrote it.

Is one really to believe this perversion was the brainchild of the sitting board members? Do you really believe Terri Meider or Julie Feasel has the wattage to come up with some of the Tyco-esque provisions contained therein? (love the Medicare tax "pick-up", by the way--that was rich).

Galloway was just a useful idiot, as well as the rest of the dolts on that board.

Davis is a decent man. And a helluva nice guy...but that does not justify a $400,000 going away gift for just 18 months on the job. Hell, that kind of largesse wouldn't be justified with 18 years on the job. Sorry, Scott.

It is tragic that there is so little independent thinking on our school board. And, if McPherson gets back on we're all but guaranteed to have another four years of mindless consensus that passes as thougtful deliberation.

And they will continue to spend, spend, spend.

Jim Fedako said...

Sorry Anonymous,

I disagree with your characterization of Davis. Anytime someone conspires behind my back to take my money, I don't consider him to be a decent man.

A decent man would have forgone this gift of coerced dollars. A decent man wouldn't have signed a contract that provides a bonus even before the school year begins; a guaranteed bonus that is listed -- in pure 1984-esqu legalese -- as "at risk" income.

I think that Anonymous is confusing "he's sure pleasant to talk to" with "he's a decent man."

Anonymous said...

Corrected. Agreed.

Anonymous said...

He is more than a decent man. He is a true man of God and is leading this school district better than it has ever been led. What is this so called "spin" that you keep referring to? Could it be that the man has been diagnosed with a fatal disease?? Your right, some people have no shame. Get on your knees and thank God that you are not in the position of needing to make sure your very young family is taken care of when you will no longer be around. This is a man that prays to God that he will make the best decisions for our students and community before making every decision. He is worth every penny he is paid and I am so thankful he is our superintendent. I can only pray that he will still be here when my last child graduates from Olentangy.
I used to be interested in your views whether I agreed or disagreed. At some point you crossed the line from sharing your opinions to sharing nothing but hate.

Jim Fedako said...

Interesting characterization ... yet, you are wrong.

It's actually not hate ... it's remorse and disgust -- with myself nonetheless.

As an elected board member, one day I realized that 99% of what the board does -- and what I did on the board for five of my almost seven years -- is finding creative ways to twist the truth and hide the facts. Of course, the superintendent is right there guiding the process.

Then, I looked at myself in the mirror and saw my true reflection (read the post Misesian on the School Board for the whole story). It wasn't pretty.

Sure, every now and again I asked tough questions and grilled administrators during public sessions, yet in executive sessions -- behind closed doors -- it was another world altogether.

So, you either speak the truth or you lie to the residents. Funny, I have come to realize that many residents would rather hear the lies than learn the truth (I am gathering that you might just be in that group). When you speak the truth you are called hateful, bitter, anti-student, etc. Regardless, nothing makes lying ethical or moral.

If you think that the board in executive session debates what's best for students, think again. If you think that the superintendent and administration do the same, you're wrong. Don't believe me, then run for a board seat and find out for yourself. If you think the public pronouncements after the executive sessions are the full truth and not spin, you are incredibly naive. Trust me, I know the art of spin, I lived it for almost seven years.

Back to Davis. I never question his faith, I simply state that a decent man wouldn't go behind close doors in order to rewrite a contract with the intent to mislead the public.

Hey, if you want a big salary instead of accountability, state it. But, don't call "at-risk" salary something that district taxpayers are obligated to pay: performance or no performance. Don't claim that there is any intent to hold you accountable for performance; that is a component of the contract that will never appear again. Don't ask for post-employment benefits -- funded through tax dollars -- that are unheard of in public education. And, don't claim that the tax dollars that bumped your pay are all about the students.

I would have to have Anonymous define leadership -- in particular, the role of the God-fearing man at the head of a public school system. The religion inside public schools is not God, it's the state. To claim that the system is moral under Davis's direction is to believe in the Chimera.

Remember, the superintendent of any district is inherently conflicted; placating the unions and administrators, yet telling -- spinning -- the public a much different story. That's reality.

Sure, the superintendent may truly believe that lying -- spinning, obfuscating, etc. -- is necessary for the supposed greater good. But, as stated above, that doesn't make lying right, ethical, or moral. And, it certainly does not make it decent.

The three public incidents from last year came under his leadership. He was the one who stated in 2006 that parents should not be part of a book review process. He was the one who stated that his staff would do the right thing. Well, the events of last year tell a different story. Keep in mind the in-your-face attitude of his administration and staff during that whole mess -- in-your-face Davis, and in-your-face community. It was obvious to me that the staff was running the show.

These are the things that are seen. Remember the board executive sessions above ... you don't ever get the clear picture as to what is really going on. Even board members only get that which is fed them, or that which they want to see.

You may not want to see the clear picture. That's OK. But, do not ever state as fact that everything is OK up there ...

One final point ... in a moment of weakness -- or maybe pride and the belief in my own omniscience -- I created, and subsequently voted on, the initial contract for Davis. That contract was loaded with goodies spun to make it look less than what it was ... that's right, we never told you that, did we? A little spin and everything comes out looking like roses.

The intent of the goodies was so that the district could have the first Ohio superintendent contract (to my knowledge) based on some level of at-risk merit pay; and, in time, at-risk merit contracts moving to administrators and then, hopefully, teachers. Well, the goodies remain -- and there are more of them now -- yet the accountability is gone. And, this district will never see at-risk merit pay as part of any employee contract. Thank you board, thank you Davis.

If Davis is so effective, why does he fear a merit-based contract? If he is so decent, then why doesn't he speak the truth? Hmm. Something to think about.

note: I don't believe that Davis is dying, I've seen God heal people too many times to think otherwise. And, from what I read, he and his wife agree. Davis is on my prayer list, and has been ever since his diagnosis was made public. Since I truly believe that God is going to heal him, don't think for a moment that I am going to feel sorry for him and simply overlook issues that I think are important. You would be wise to do the same.