Gorman's smackdown of Harry Jones

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Schools Superintendent Peter Gorman may be running out of patience with local government. The normally shmoozy, go-along-to-get-along Gorman surprised observers of local government yesterday by delivering a good smack to County Manager Harry Jones and other city and county honchos. As part of his announcement that he and his top administrators will do without bonuses for the second straight year, Gorman noted, "Unlike other government bodies, we awarded none." Not a scathing indictment, maybe, but for Charlotte's uber-polite (aka mutual butt-smooching) political culture, that's a smackdown.

The contrast between Gorman and the “other government bodies” is striking and worth pointing out. During the current budget year, some city and county bigwigs took their performance bonuses —  most notably County Manager Harry “Show Me The Money” Jones, who received a $38K bonus on the heels of cutting county jobs and denying the rest of his serfs raises; the DSS embezzling scandal; and bad publicity surrounding Jones’ attempt to silence a critic by forwarding the critic’s e-mail to the man's corporate boss. Then, City Council got in on the act, giving City Manager Curt Walton a $16K bonus, plus a $15K bonus to City Attorney Mac McCarley, during a tough year when city employees aren’t getting raises or merit-based bonuses.

If Gorman is pissed at Jones and his county administration, he has excellent reasons to be, and not just because of bonuses. The way in which Jones & Co. waited until nearly the last minute to tell CMS and the Public Library to gut their budgets — they didn’t realize until then that revenue was going to be lower than expected for the coming year (!?) — was a textbook case of poor management, if not outright incompetence. The resulting nerve-wracking trauma for Gorman, his staff, and the school board (not to mention citizens concerned about the schools) has been needlessly painful, and no doubt played a part in the superintendent’s sideswipe of Jones yesterday. Frankly, we’d love to see more casualties of Jones’ mismanagement come forward with their views.

Schools Supt. Gorman: "Whyyy, I oughta . . . ."
  • Schools Supt. Gorman: "Whyyy, I oughta . . . ."

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