Saturday, September 14, 2019

Can I pitch my FB pages? Or blogs?

At the September 10, 2019 school board meeting Teresa Holmes made a big deal out of pitching her personal and school Facebook pages, inviting all to submit pictures and stories.

Was this really appropriate for a board member? (Actually, that's not quite a fair question, because she is not really a board member, since she has never taken the oath of office legally).

But if she were a legal board member, would it be appropriate. I say, No.

One day she will no longer be a member of the Richland 2 School Board. Her term-of-office ends in November 2022. What will happen to any content then?

And why should any graduate or family member of student post anything that is Richland 2-related on Holmes' personal Facebook page?

Is she politicking on her "school" Facebook page? Is that allowed?

I urge the board to address her Facebook-page promotion and tell her to "stick to business".

Why now a bond CO-counsel? Unnecessary added expense?

At the end of the September 10, 2019 Richland 2 School Board meeting, the Superintendent made a reference to the new $85,000,000 bond issue and to the bond counsel.

Bond counsel is the lawyer who works on the bond issue. Back in the spring, Frannie Heizer (Supt. Davis seemed to pronounce her last name as "Heizner") of Burr Forman held the reins for the $25,000,000 sale of Bond Anticipation Notes. That's the one that had a couple of special additions to it (Certificate of Incumbency and Signature and No-Litigation Certification) that resulted in the resignation of Lindsay Agostini as Board Secretary.

In a rather matter-of-fact manner without any special emphasis, the Superintendent recognized two lawyers who were present at the meeting: Frannie Heizer and a second lawyer from a different firm, Tameika Isaac Devine of Jabber & Isaac, P.A.

Remember when Trustee Caution-Parker griped about the cost of having bond counsel attend a board meeting, when another trustee wanted Attorney Heizer to come and explain specific points of the earlier bond issue?

When did the Richland 2 School Board decide to add a second law firm to the bond counsel team?

Did the Board ever make that decision? Or was the decision made by staff without ever informing the board?

Were interviews held to consider whether to expand the bond counsel team and, if so, how to go through the selection process and choose the very best and highest-qualified lawyer for the project?

Devine's profile on the Jabber & Isaac website reads, "Devine practices in the areas of residential and commercial real estate transactions, probate law, personal injury, business transactions and governmental relations."

Where is the extensive experience in municipal bond underwriting that qualifies her to represent a large school district that just passed a $468,000,000 bond issue last fall? Did the District advertise or issue an RFP for the added counsel? Was Devine recommended by anyone on the board?

Was her selection a surprise to most of the board members? To some of them? To any of them?

It is surprising to me that the bond issuance decision doesn't seem to require Board notice or approval. I expected that a Resolution should be presented to the board and approved, before the deal could go forward. A Resolution would assure that the board is knowledgeable and in control of the District.

Maybe I'm a little jaded right now, since I've been reading about Supeintendent Robert Runcie of the Broward County School District (home of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, Parkland, Fla.) and its own bond problems.