Anyway, Jill was calling me from Montana or Canada (I get those places mixed up) to talk about some of the things she has been reading in the Marietta Daily Journal. She says she gets the E-Edition on her iPhone and reads during break times when she and Jack are plowing. I find that amazing.
Jill wanted to know about Cobb County Manager David Hankerson withdrawing his name from the list of candidates for a similar job in Fulton County. Jill and Jack have a long history with Hankerson.
It was his decision to bring the two of them to Cobb County from Alabama as a part of a demonstration on what Cobb County was like in the days before they built Interstate 75 and Kennesaw State got a football team.
They were to plow some fields at Hyde Farm and have school kids watch and understand there was life before texting.
It turns out that it was going to cost $3 million to fix things up, including tearing down a couple of outhouses.
That’s when the Cobb Commission sent the mules packing, led by Commissioner Bob Ott, who moonlights as a Delta pilot.
As a result of what Jack considered a personal attack by Ott on his sister and him, he has sworn he will never set a hoof on a Delta plane, not knowing that mules aren’t allowed to fly Delta anyway.
I told Jill that I wasn’t sure why Hankerson didn’t take the job. My theory is that he had second thoughts. The experience with the two mules may have soured his opinion of jackasses, of which there are more than a few in the Fulton County government from what I read.
Jack got on the phone with me and was in his usual belligerent mood. Being exiled to Montana or Canada or wherever they are now was a bitter experience for Jack and he gets into the fermented oats pretty hard.
Jack is always a little icy with me. He thinks I could have done more to support the two mules in their time of need. Jack wanted to know what was going on in the Cobb County School District.
Jill had told him what had happened to a number of teachers and principals in the system that had been accused of not reporting cases of abuse and were forced to resign, only to be found innocent later. He wanted to know if I was going to do a better job of looking into this situation than I had in defending his sister and him.
I told Jack that I was on the case. I have written several columns on the matter. Now, Mary Finlayson, the system’s director of professional standards and ethics, has resigned as has the chief investigator, Jay Morrisey. Finlayson has gotten the brunt of the criticism for the way the investigations were handled but she has written a letter to the MDJ saying she was the “fall guy” and hinting about getting some legal representation after the way she was let go.
Jack asked me what was going to happen next. I told Jack I thought this mess was going to get worse before it got better and that I was going to call Cobb School Superintendent Michael Hinojosa and ask him if there was more fallout to come, but I suspect he will tell me this is a personnel matter that he can’t talk about it. I’ll make the phone call anyway. Jack said this was one time that he was glad to be a mule.
Jack wanted to know why humans treat school teachers worse than mules. I admitted I don’t have an answer. Jack said all the politicians posturing over Common Core standards made him want to hit the fermented oats because nobody — chiefly politicians — seems to give a rip about what the classroom teacher thinks.
I told Jack I couldn’t agree more and that I have been waiting for one of the politicians to call me and tell me that Jack and I are wrong but so far they haven’t been inclined to do so. Jack said that is probably because they don’t think much of me or my opinions.
That hurt, particularly coming from a half-soused mule.
Jill got back on the line. She said their break time was over and they had to get back to plowing. She asked me to tell you all that she still misses you. Jack does, too, but he won’t admit it.
He is as stubborn as a — well, you know.
You can reach Dick Yarbrough at firstname.lastname@example.org or P.O. Box 725373, Atlanta, Georgia 31139.