If it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck ...
by Pete Borden
April 30, 2014 01:22 AM | 1196 views | 4 4 comments | 34 34 recommendations | email to a friend | print
With the announcement, in this paper of the association of Cobb school board member Scott Sweeney with a vendor, Promethean Ltd., that is hoping to increase its business with the school board, a lot of different opinions and thoughts have been advanced about the obvious possibility of conflict of interest.

No matter how you sugarcoat it, calling his association a “consultant, not really on the payroll,” the specter of improper influence is there, and for good reason. To many of us, Sweeney has been a huge disappointment on the school board.

He rode into the job on the coattails of widespread voter dissatisfaction with the Rev. Dr. John Crooks, his predecessor, who was the subject of an attempted recall. Crooks shape-shifted throughout his term on the board, becoming whoever looked good to the voters and could still be good for John Crooks. Rather than face the embarrassment of losing his bid for re-election, he chose not to run.

Sweeney rode up on a white charger and said all the things the voters wanted to hear. However, of all the campaign promises he made, the only one he kept — before embracing the establishment and the Chamber of Commerce — was the vote on the calendar issue, which resulted in the district going to a compromise calendar. His failure can be summed up by the fact that the most ineffective and unengaged (The term “disengaged” would imply that he was engaged at one time. Such is not the case.) superintendent in Cobb County’s history, Dr. Michael Hinojosa, pronounced him “the best school board chairman I ever worked with.”

When his association with Promethean was revealed, Sweeney said he notified the board of the association at the time. When the validity of that statement was questioned, an alleged photocopy of his letter was produced by Michelle Sollicito, Sweeney’s self-appointed drumbeater. Her motives have been called into serious question, as she has, in a roundabout away, admitted, in writing, to having a crush on Sweeney.

The photocopy seems to raise more questions than it answers. Why was it in Mrs. Sollicito’s hands, and why one with the original “received” stamp? On the technical side, how is it that the photocopy of the letter shows no indication that it was ever folded, as if to insert in an envelope?

Every New Year, people continue to put the old year on checks and letters for a short time, but have you ever heard of anyone jumping the gun and using the New Year a month and a half before the current one is over? Yet Mr. Sweeney’s alleged letter of notification bears a date of November 18, 2014.

The alleged photocopy shows a generic “RECEIVED” stamp with a date of Dec. 5, 2013, with no indication as to who received it. There is the possibility that the date error was a typo. If so, why it was received 17 days after it was written?

The more plausible conclusion is that the letter was written in 2014 after the revelation, to the public, of the association.

Since the alleged letter was only addressed to the chairman, when did the rest of the board learn of Mr. Sweeney’s association?

To the best of my knowledge, nobody has produced a copy of this letter which can be authenticated, or the actual date of receipt of which can be verified.

One does not have to be a country boy to “smell the skunk in the henhouse,” when it comes to conflict of interest in this case. The smell is enough to knock you down.

Pete Borden is a retired masonry contractor in east Cobb.
Comments
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Papermill Gal
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April 30, 2014
The difference between David Morgan's indiscretions and Sweeney's is that Sweeney's constituency is far more educated and far less forgiving than Morgan's.

Sweeney should be quaking in his boots right now. He's toast.
anonymous
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April 30, 2014
And yet, It's ok for David Morgan to be a lobbyist for charter schools? Not to mention have postings on a facebook page that would get any teacher in Cobb fired.
Ben Twomey
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April 30, 2014
No, not okay. but it has covered many times before. This is current.
@anon above
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April 30, 2014
No, it is not ok.
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