DeKalb Schools doesn’t stand alone with its ethics issues, if that makes you feel any better. State Sen. Josh McKoon, R-Columbus, has been standing up for taxpayers and children in Muscogee county recently embattled with their Superintendent and board of education over a no bid contract with their law firm since 1950 … I kid you not. It has effectively been an ATM machine for the local law firm Hatcher-Stubbs.
McKoon publicly accused the board of education of squandering public money. In response, the Muscogee County School District Interim Superintendent and school board filed 3 ethics complaints and formally asked the Georgia Bureau of Investigation to investigate Senator McKoon. All the accusations made by the Muscogee educrats were reviewed now by three different entities, the Senate Ethics Committee, the Georgia Bureau of Investigation and the Attorney General’s Office. After thousands of dollars in taxpayer resources and hours of manpower wasted because of the political vendetta, all three entities cleared Senator McKoon; The ethics subcommittee apparently laughing hysterically at the charges which carried no legal weight (imagery by Mike Hassinger).
So, how does this affect DeKalb Schools? Senator McKoon is a man on a mission saying,
“Any observer will tell you that our School Board is dysfunctional, spending more time on insignificant trivia than prudent financial planning to meet the needs of the children they are supposed to serve. Unfortunately, this sort of dysfunction is not limited to Muscogee County. One only has to read the news to see the dysfunction across the state. I am determined to take this ugly episode and bring forth some positive action to improve the educational destiny of young students throughout our state.”
McKoon told reporters he intends to work with colleagues in Atlanta to initiate reforms in school governance, perhaps giving local districts the option of electing school superintendents whose policy decisions often are “rubber-stamped” by their boards with little oversight.
McKoon said the legislature also might look into requiring districts to seek bids on contract work that exceeds a threshold amount such as $50,000, and prohibit vendors’ giving expensive gifts to people involved in awarding such contracts.
The senator who last year gave us a $75 limit on the gifts from lobbyists to lawmakers is about to revive a decades-old GOP quest: A statewide grand jury, placed in the hands of Georgia’s attorney general, to root out public corruption, both large and small. Currently indictments must come where the crime allegedly occurred, or where the defendant lives. McKoon’s legislation, Senate Resolution 6, would permit the attorney general to summon his own grand jury without geographic limitations. Think of the recent trial of Clayton County Sheriff Victor Hill, who was acquitted of charges that he had abused his office by a jury of Clayton residents who had just voted for him. McKoon’s measure would give the attorney general the power to move such a case to another venue.
Sen. Josh McKoon said he intends to hold hearings on his proposed amendment to the state Constitution early next year. He’ll push for the required two-thirds passage by both the House and Senate, so that the measure can be placed on the November ballot for voter approval.