Board votes without disclosure again
by Kathryn Malone
kmalone@mdjonline.com
May 26, 2011 04:33 PM | 12065 views | 46 46 comments | 203 203 recommendations | email to a friend | print
MARIETTA — One vote taken during the Cobb school board’s May 19 meeting left even Cobb school board members scratching their heads when the board voted to hire two principals — without saying in public who they were or where they would be working. A lawyer for the Georgia Press Association told the Journal that such a blind vote is likely “not binding.”

Here’s what happened during the meeting last Thursday night. After Human Resources Director Donald Dunnigan’s presentation of the personnel report, board member Kathleen Angelucci asked that two names be “extracted” from the report so the board could vote on them separately. This request clearly confused the board members and even board attorney Clem Doyle.

The board’s usual procedure is to vote on the personnel report — which lists the hiring, firing, reassignment, resignation and retirement of all district employees — as a whole.

When board Chairwoman Alison Bartlett called for a vote on the personnel report, Angelucci asked: “Is this the personnel report in its entirety?”

Superintendent Fred Sanderson answered that it was.

Then, without providing any detail, Angelucci made a motion to “separate these items from the other personnel report.”

To which Bartlett replied: “Which items?”

That’s when Doyle interrupted the meeting to whisper with Angelucci for about 30 seconds.

“Madam Chair, let’s do it this way,” Doyle said after his conversation with Angelucci. “I believe there were two items that Ms. Angelucci discussed in executive session, and so I think her motion could properly be the two items that she wanted to have handled separately. She’s making a motion to have those dealt with in a different vote.”

Angelucci made the motion to separate the two mystery hires and the board unanimously agreed.

Then, after voting 7-0 again to accept the overall personnel report, the board moved on to the mystery hires. Doyle instructed Angelucci to make the motion again, and at that point even Bartlett, the chair, admitted she was “confused.”

When David Banks and Lynnda Eagle asked if the board planned to identify the two mystery hires, both Bartlett and Sanderson said no.

“As noted,” Sanderson said.

“Oh, as noted? Without names?” Eagle asked.

“As she just discussed, without names,” Bartlett said. “OK, those that are in favor of splitting it as noted in our executive session, please raise their hands.”

Thus, in a blind vote the board approved the mystery hires, 6-1, with Angelucci opposed.

After the meeting, Bartlett refused to say which names had been extracted from the personnel report. Angelucci did not return phone calls or emails seeking comment for this story, nor did Doyle, the board’s lawyer.

The next day, district spokesman Jay Dillon disclosed to the Journal that the two names voted on separately were Joshua Morreale, an assistant principal at South Cobb High School, who was elevated to principal at Osborne High School, and Dr. Susan Galante, who was hired as principal at Durham Middle School.

Galante retired last June after 28 years with the district. At the time, she was the assistant superintendent over Area 6 schools in west Cobb, which includes Hillgrove, Harrison and McEachern high schools. She had previously been principal at Sprayberry High School. According to the personnel report, Galante spent the last year at St. Tammany Parish Schools in Covington, La.

Morreale, a former principal at Brumby Elementary School, resigned from the district in November 2008 after disclosing to his area assistant superintendent that he had an extramarital affair with the literacy coach at that school, according to records released from the Georgia Professional Standards Commission. Morreale’s certification was suspended by the PSC from November 2008 to April 2009. He was rehired by the district in July 2009.

David Hudson, general counsel to the Georgia Press Association, questioned the legality of board’s blind vote.

“The minutes of the board meeting will not now reflect who was promoted and who was not,” Hudson said. “For a valid action to be taken, there must be sufficient disclosure that the minutes reflect the action taken. Accordingly, I think the vote without the names being specified was not binding.”

In a May 2011 Georgia Press Bulletin article on the same point, Hudson is quoted as saying: “City and county governments can only take binding official action by disclosing a matter, voting on it, and entering the matter and outcome of the vote in the minutes of the meeting … the law does not permit ‘blind voting’ and doing so should be considered by a court, if the vote is challenged, as a nullity.”

Doyle did not return repeated phone calls or emails inquiring about the blind vote.

This isn’t the first time the board has blindly voted on a personnel matter.

In May 2009, the board voted 6-1, with then board Chairman Dr. John Abraham dissenting, to extend then District Associate Superintendent Dr. Gordon Pritz’s contract without ever referring to Pritz by name or disclosing what the vote was about. That vote was also preceded by an executive session discussion.
Comments
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blind vote
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June 07, 2011
more shady hires by the corrupt school board--blind votes? are you serious?? these two hires must be connected to the board to get special treatment. nothing ever changes with this group.
Payback=Hard
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June 02, 2011
This is not incompetence - this is DELIBERATE.

Want to hurt them? VOTE NO to T-SPLOST!

Look up the requirements to get a RECALL the BOARD movement along, and meet the requirements.
Bullcrap
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May 31, 2011
It is true it is who you know and who you ---w in Cobb to move up the ranks. Racist county. A educated black man was fired because he alleged said something about stilleos to a white employee but a white man can have an affair, license suspended, rehired, and later elevated to principal. This is not hidden racism but open racism.
ivotedtim
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May 31, 2011
Tim, you should've been the dissenting vote, if for no other reason than transparency. Even if you were in favor of hiring the individuals, which may or may not be a good thing for the stakeholders, you as an individual should've made a stand against the nondisclosure of the candidates names in a blind vote.

Even if you might not be completely versed on rules of order or parlimenatary procedure, you don't have to be a rocket scientist to see this was wrong.
bob r
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May 30, 2011
omg!
Watching&Paying
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May 29, 2011
Amazing that the Board of Education has no more concern for those it serves than the Board of Commissioners of the same county. The county BoE superintendent and the county manager are both overpaid hacks.

ALL OF THEM forget WHO they work for and WHO they represent.

ALL OF THEM live BEYOND their means while living OFF OF THE BACKS of other hard working employees.

I love that David Hudson had a statement on this. There's a voice of reason and an astute mind to be reckoned with...let the inspections begin.

And, let ALL OF THESE ELECTED OFFICIALS give back the $ they have TAKEN so freely, for their own personal agendas, behind bars and behind lawn mowers on county roadways.
Cobb voter
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May 29, 2011
Lets not get carried away. Remember you are not allowed to criticize the Cobb School Board at a public meeting (they voted that in years ago). They don'y care what you think. Remember they have to look out for themselves. As far as taking care of their girlfriends look at the over all Cobb County Picture. This has been going on for years and years.

More Money we don't need to spend
A S.C. Teacher
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May 28, 2011
As someone who has worked with Josh Morreale, I can only say that he is a competent and hard working person. My understanding is that he self reported a violation of the ethics code of professional standards. He was punished with a 6 month suspension. The punishment ended and he was rehired at a lower position at a different school (South Cobb). He has worked hard for 2 years at South Cobb. He already paid for his indiscretion. I believe he is a good man, trying to make up for what he did. He could be very good for Osborne (a troubled school with similar demographics to South Cobb) but now because of the School Board's shenanigans his past is dragged up once again and his move is called into question. I feel for him and his family.
Duty
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May 28, 2011
I thought the problem was the old board and the old legal counsel.

Now we see that Bartlett and Angelucci can do exactly what the old board was raked across the coals for and the lawyer counsels their way through it. Even if Angelucci maneuvered the set-up so she could record her "no" vote, she colluded in the cover-up.

Could we get new lawyers? Can Bartlett be recalled?
The Knower
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May 28, 2011
The lack of morals among CCSD faculty and staff is appalling. I always thought of Smyrna/South Cobb as the hotbed of affairs between principals and staff (and even between principals at different schools . . . oh, yes, it's a fact). But it seems like it's pervasive throughout the whole county.

Maybe Hinojosa will institute, and enforce, a "pants zipped" policy during his tenure.
Im 4 open govt
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May 28, 2011
this story is confusing and I did not watch the meeting, but it seems like Angelucci is the ONLY one who opposed this blind vote and this was the only procedural way to reflect that opposition to a blind vote officially. Thank you Kathy for standing up for transparency.
Moral Authority Cop
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May 27, 2011
While I surely don't condone the sins of a particular principal that is being discussed on this board, the rest of you need to place all of your stones at the foot of your glass house. The ones raising holy heck are probably the ones that are just as guilty if not more about how they raise their children. Knock off the moral authority bit! It is hypocritical! Don't you so called Christians believe in second chances? I gurantee there are many of you including myself, who needed one in our life. We are all sinners and fall short.
John Boys's Watcher
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May 27, 2011
Help me understand something. You can have an affair with a subordinate,resign, have your certificate suspended, get rehiredas an assistant principal, lay low for twoyears, and then getpromoted to principal. However, you can tel someone who dresses poorly to wear askirt and stilletos (shoes!!), get suspended, and then get fired! So having an affair with a subordinate is less egregious than using theword "stilleto!" Justice is Blind and Deaf in the Cobb County School District under bumbling Fred Flintsone Sanders!!!
This is bull
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May 27, 2011
You should NOT be able to retire and come back! We have plenty of qualified candidates who could be a principal. There people are now making 160% of their salary. Retire with 60% of your salary and come back making 100% is bull. It is also unethical to rehire a person who has had an extramarital affair. We had a teacher this year who was dating another teacher, and he was married. The principal stated it was none of her business, yet these two were making out in front of the kids. All the kids knew he was married. I am disgusted my the lack of morales CCSD upholds their staff too!
anonymous
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May 27, 2011
It looks like Clem Doyle needs to take a class in parliamentary procedure. As least keep a copy of Roberts rules nearby. It problems like this that will bring SACS back.
anonymous
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May 27, 2011
Why did they split the personnel report if they were going to vote to approve them anyway. This board is very incompetent.
Warren Kuhn
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May 27, 2011
This board needs to be removed. Nowhere would you be allowed to have an affair with a subordinate resign, lose your professional license, then come back and get a promotion. Nowhere but the CCSD.

Susan Galante? Why did they keep that hidden? Sounds like a sweetheart deal. She probably got it without going through the normal procedures that every other candidate has to. I equate this to an exiting president commuting the sentences of his convicted friends.
No Pride
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May 27, 2011
These board members must not have any pride in their work. They are elected officials and should care enough to do the job right.
Baffled
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May 27, 2011
Why didn't they figure out how they were going to present their motions in the executive session? Most boards use those sessions to strategize and handle any procedural concerns before the public meeting. They must not have paid attention during their executive session.
anonymous
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May 27, 2011
The firm of Brock,Clay just CANNOT keep this school board off the front page of the paper. And we get to fund their lucrative, no-bid, sweetheart $1.8m contract with our tax dollars so they can stick it to all of us.

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