Thursday, September 10, 2020

District Ombudsman - just a high-paid traffic cop?

Yesterday I emailed the Richland 2 School District Ombudsman about a copyright issue and possible ethics violation. Today I received a polite reply, re-directing me to the Senior Chief Communications Officer.

Several months ago the Ombudsman presented a report to the School Board. She read her presentation to them and then was unable to answer specific questions asked of her. The superintendent should have known exactly what she was going to say, and I don't have any doubt that she was told exactly what to say. "Just read the slides to them."

She's a nice person. After her presentation, I decided then that she is little more than a "traffic cop" on the District's payroll. I was surprised to learn yesterday that she is a 30-year employee of Richland 2. Her introduction as Ombudsman was posted on the District's website under date 8/9/2019. The lead paragraph reads, "Richland School District Two announced that Kelli Johnson is the district’s new ombudsman. The ombudsman is a newly created position and serves as an objective or neutral party who seeks to facilitate the resolution of concerns as quickly and efficiently as possible."

The first definition of ombudsman found on Google reads, "an official appointed to investigate individuals' complaints against maladministration, especially that of public authorities." That was not how she described her job.

In business (and a school district is Big Business) an ombudsman has some independence and some muscle. She reports directly to the superintendent. When she explained her position to the Board that evening, I felt she had neither independence or muscle. 

Her response to me about the Clint Pulver video validates my suspicion. She should have made the investigation about the possible illegal use of the Clint Pulver video. That was her job, not shuttling me off to Mrs. Roof.

Are you familiar with the popular saying in legal circles that a lawyer never asks a question in court to which he doesn't already know the answer?

I already know the answer as to whether the District had permission to use the Clint Pulver video.

The Voice slams Shadd's friend, Leevy Johnson

Be sure to buy a copy of the September 10th Voice of Blythewood & Fairfield County. A front-page article slams Chris Leevy Johnson for his use of what that paper calls a "perjorative". Leevy Johnson had referred to Trustee Lindsay Agostini as a "KAREN" for her vote against the nomination of James Shadd as Board Chair and against approving the superintendent's evaluation.

Leevy Johnson's message was posted in a Facebook message to James Shadd shortly after Shadd was elected as Board Chair of Richland 2 on June 30. When I say "shortly", it was only minutes after the election. The Facebook posting indicated that Leevy Johnson  was "with" Shadd.

What time did he join Shadd that afternoon?

On this blog I wrote about it and referred to Leevy Johnson's use of KAREN as a racial slur. 

Imagine the uproar if anyone called Leevy Johnson a "racial slur". 

Why did Mrs. Agostini vote against Mr.Shadd? It had something to do with Shadd's owing almost $50,000 to the State of South Carolina for unpaid income taxes for several years.

Pick up your copy of The Voice at numerous locations in the area. The paper has some great stories and ads. Contact the paper about having it delivered to your home by mail.