I think Charles missed his calling. Instead of working as an editor, he would have made a great stenographer or someone that keeps minutes at meetings. An opinion editorialist and indeed any journalist has a number of duties and responsibilities to maintain their credibility and standing with their readers. Editors are supposed to look at the big picture and editorials are meant to influence public opinion, promote critical thinking, and sometimes cause people to take action on an issue. In essence, an editorial is an opinionated news story. They usually fall into four types 1) Explain or interpret 2) Criticize 3) Persuade and 4) Praise. I think we all know where Charles Richardson would fall when it comes to talking about Dallemand or Promise.
Charles essentially is trying to throw the only three former board members that ever dared vote against Dallemand under the bus simply because they were forced to vote after the fact and based on legal advice to approve certain aspects of the Promise Boondoggle or put Bibb at risk for lawsuits. I would love to hear from Bechtel, Farmer, or Sipe with their side of the story since it is unlikely you will be given a a fair voice in the Macon Telegraph given the agenda of Mr. Richardson to rewrite history and make sure you three share the blame.
Last week I wrote two replies to his “editorial” called An Accounting and today he released Part 2 of his Accounting. Hence the title of my story.
My Response to Charles Richardson on “An Accounting” Editorial
Update: Part 2 of my Reply to the Charles Richardson Editorial
Instead of giving us any new information or any sort of critical analysis as to what all those dates and figures mean, he simply wrote another column that resembles the reading of the minutes at a BOE board meeting. Can’t wait for part 3.. 🙄
His article today basically listed off votes that were taken at various times during 2012, but here is the key question he forgot to ask….Why? The audit that was conducted showed that Dallemand directed nearly $20 million in tax dollars to the Promise Center only to have the School Board approve the transfer AFTER the fact. Here is another fact Charles oh so conveniently left out. The BOE took those votes on the advice of Chief External Council Patrick Millsaps. Collier was far from the first to understand Dallemand was selling some very expensive snake oil, but he was the first that worked directly under Dallemand to dare speak up and for that he was punished.
Nearly every single vote the board took over anything beyond routine and non-controversial votes were always 5-3. Always. So when there is a unanimous 8-0 vote when it comes to Promise or Dallemand’s double dealings there is likely to be a very important reason why the three sensible board members chose to vote with the five puppets and yet Charles completely ignores that point.
A whistleblower begins taking down the house of cards
Collier said after the school board awarded Dallemand a new employment contract he was demoted, and ordered to sit in a school district warehouse every day. That’s when Collier says the bulk of unauthorized spending incidents took place between October and December of 2012. certainly any further investigation would have to address the culpability of school board members and their legal counsel. The audit shows the school board voted to rubber stamp many purchases after a contract was written or after a no-bid purchase was made.
Does it surprise anyone that Charles has not bothered to ask the three board members why they chose to vote for Promise a few times in 2012 after a long history of voting against all his other policies. Why hasn’t Charles spoken with Ron Collier for his side of the story. Charles isn’t interested in talking to those people because they might disrupt his trumped up mirage he is attempting to paint. The truth it seems does not fit within his purview.
Real journalists at the Macon Telegraph completely refute Charles Richardson’s assessment of Dallemand and Promise
Luckily for the people in Middle Georgia, the Macon Telegraph has some determined and competent reporters still working there. I would like to take this opportunity to officially thank people like Andrea Castillo, Mike Stucka, Phillip Ramati, Jenna Mink, Oby Brown for all their wonderful articles these last few years to help uncover the muck and untangle the web of lies and deceit. Keep up the good work! We need more details about the missing $52 million and the millions more on their way to Whitby et al.
Map of Macon Promise neighborhood
Below is an article Andrea and Mike wrote back in January that is worth reading again especially since Richardson is trying his best to spin a new version. Quite a different conclusion from Mr. Richardson with the same facts.
Bibb schools bet big on Promise Neighborhood — with little oversight
“After an initial commitment from the school system of up to $1 million annually for the project for 10 years, Dallemand signed off on a much higher obligation a month later, committing $19.3 million in cash and in-kind services from the system, records show.”
“A Telegraph investigation shows that school officials sometimes bypassed school board oversight to obligate the system with problematic contracts, taking the money from funding sources that the school board never budgeted — or approved.”
Andrea and Mike clearly spell out in no uncertain terms why the board was forced to vote the way they did since Dallemand had apparently bypassed board oversight and put us all in a bind. It appears now Charles is not only trying to rewrite history but also fails to intelligently examine the facts and draw the honest, accurate, and obvious assessment that others at the Telgraph clearly saw. I will be the first to say the BOE also share some blame even if they did follow the advice of Milsaps. Common sense alone should have told them to seek a second opinion before burdening taxpayers with tens of millions of tax funds to projects that have nothing to do with the stated purpose of the board of education.
Good writers never lie about the facts and never cherry pick the facts that support their opinion while ignoring the ones that don’t. Instead, they respect the facts, and if necessary they change their opinions accordingly. You didn’t do that Charles and continue to promote a false narrative to support your bias and protect your wife’s employment which you continually fail to disclose.
Another Must read was Written by Jenna Mink and Oby Brown.
School audit blasts Dallemand for policy violations, spending
“Former Bibb County School Superintendent Romain Dallemand repeatedly violated school board policy by ordering more than $26 million in technology equipment and services without required, prior approval from the board, according to a 2013 audit of the school system. One of those purchases — for nearly $3.8 million — was for 15,000 virtual desktop devices. Now, more than a year after they were ordered, about 14,800 of the devices still sit unused in a Bibb County warehouse. The order was placed without competitive bids and without prior board approval, the audit said. “
I especially want you to read this part written in the Macon Telegraph. “From July to December 2012, Dallemand authorized nine contracts or purchase orders, at least three of which did not involve competitive bidding and most of which did not receive prior board approval, according to the audit. Two of the orders were for more than $6 million, and two others were for more than $3 million.” Seems your coworkers see things quite a bit differently Mr. Richardson. Perhaps coworkers is actually a poor choice of words on my part since they are actual journalists and you are a second-rate hack that couldn’t write the instructions to escape from a paper bag on your best day.
Read Full Dallemand Audit Here
A New Atlanta Legal Firm Hired by Dallemand and BOE 5
On Thursday, January 17, 2013 at the regular meeting of the Board of Education school board attorney, Patrick Millsaps addressed the Board and requested that the Board re-hire his firm, Hall Booth Smith, for the coming year and the Board so approved. Then Millsaps proceeded to advise the Board that due to pending lawsuits, the funds budgeted for his law firm would not be sufficient and that the taxpayers of Bibb County should expect an increase in the current millage rate. I would love to know why an Atlanta law firm was ever hired in the first place. Everyone I have spoken with in Macon with any degree of knowledge has said the Macon firm did a much better job at a lower cost. Prior to that firm being hired, the Bibb BOE had a relationship with Jones, Cork & Miller for around 70 years. Read Full story: Bibb school board votes to sever ties with law firm)
Dallemand pushed for the change in law firms. Dallemand portrayed the long-term partnership as a liability and said the district needed to work with other firms. Strange coincidence that. Even if you want to change things up, why send Bibb taxpayer money to an Atlanta firm? Don’t we send enough to Atlanta already? There certainly are other local firms here in Macon that were very capable. It also seems that things went downhill fast once a local law firm was no longer able to provide sage advice and oversight as they had done for 70 years prior. Of Course Tommy “the puppet” Barnes was in lock step with his BFF. Of all the idiotic moves made by the BOE5, Tommy Barnes certainly deserves the most blame as board president for allowing this madness to happen under his watch. Indeed, more than simply watching he seems to have been instrumental as a trusted Dallemand partner, or rather puppet. I wonder if those strings still reach all the way from Port-Au-Prince.
Voting in favor of the new Atlanta law firm were Barnes, Susan Middleton, Ella Carter, Tom Hudson and Wanda West. Voting against the change were Bechtel, Susan Sipe and Lynn Farmer. The BOE5 strikes again! It is no small coincidence that once Dallemad had his hand-picked law firm from out of town things took a severe turn for the worst.
Why Macon Needs a New Editor
All journalists must abide by a certain set of rules. If they cross the line then they lose all credibility. Not once have I ever seen Charles print disclaimers that his wife was hired by Dallemand, only in passing in comments. No credible editor would ever dare write about a public agency while his wife is employed there. Here are a few excerpts from the guidelines to avoid a conflict of interest from the Radio Television Digital News Association.
Will the actions of a journalist’s or newsroom manager’s family members with a news source or newsmaker give the appearance of an unprofessional connection? In the same way the personal actions of journalists on their private time may come into question, the actions of their spouses and family members may do the same. How will actions of those close to a journalist be perceived by audience members?
People in Macon should never believe a single word Charles ever utters again on any topic remotely related with Dallemand, Promise, the BOE, or indeed really subject at all. Once he crossed that line where his integrity could be questioned by a conflict of interest there was no turning back. To many in Macon Charles Richardson has become a paid shill plain and simple if the comments on most of his stories are any indication of public sentiment. Commenters directed towards mr. Richardson have not been kind to put in mildly.
Does anyone doubt at all that a manipulator like Dallemand did not have the idea that he could buy the support of the Telegraph if he hired the wife of the editor? Whether that was actually true or not is a question for debate, but why Does Richardson continue to try and muddy the waters on all subjects related to Dallemand? Even now with a mountain of evidence from audits and just common sense Richardson still treats Dallemand as the Dalai Lama.
My friend Bill Knowles wrote a great editorial and published it on the 11th hour which is a fantastic local publication by the way and Free! You can get issues all over town or just download the latest issue here. I will close this article with a quote from that Bill wrote but make sure and read his entire piece. It is worth reading and has a lot more great info to add that further shatters the pathetic attempt by Richardson to whitewash the Dallemand reign of terror. We also need to remember Bill broke the story about the expensive and completely unnecessary switch to Induction Lighting. I haven’t heard much about that recently so perhaps Bill will update us with a part 4.
“Let me make something very clear at this point: The Ballard-Hudson building and the debacle that has ensued with it have absolutely nothing to do with the Macon Promise Neighborhood initiative. The building was going to be a place where it would be centered out of but beyond that, it has zero to do with it. The Macon Promise is a good initiative that has been tainted by the skullduggery of Whitby and the former Bibb County School Superintendent that allow him to do it, our dear old friend Romain Dallemand. Promise Neighborhoods have been successful in cities across the nation such as Los Angeles, Harlem as well as impoverished counties in Southeastern Kentucky and the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma. In a statement released on June 5th, Whitby wrote “I am disappointed with this decision of the Board of Education to rescind its prior commitment to partner with (the partnership) as it relates to the Macon Promise Neighborhood initiative and the impact it will have on this community.” Unfortunately this decision will have significant ramifications for this project.” This is pure and utter nonsense. The only “significant ramifications” that will be seen will be seen in Whitby’s bank account as the initiative and programs for the Macon Promise are being run by The United Way and by Mercer University and have nothing to do with the CGPICD. ”
Please let me here your thoughts in the comments.