Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Why I Do What I Do

I've received a few comments from persons disgruntled by my posting the Superintendent's Contract on my site and I've heard second hand there are some disgruntled by me even having this site at all. This post is dedicated to clarifying Why I Do What I Do.

This blog, is run by me, Jennifer Abell, Member of the Charles County Board of Education, and involves topics and issues on education and children, two of my passions in life. ANY and ALL comments ARE MY PERSONAL comments and do not reflect the opinions of the Board of Education and ARE NOT official communications of the Charles County School Board. (We have a very capable, thorough and dedicated communication person on staff, Ms. Katie O'Malley-Simpson)

The concept of starting a blog began after attending the National School Board Conference in April of 2006. They actually encouraged board members and superintendents to have a blog-site and dialog with the community and held a seminar on the how-to's. After months of pondering the idea, and a plea from the public to be more transparent, it came to fruition with the impending election. I knew so little about blogging, I had to enlist the help of friends to set it up and get me started.

As stated, initially the blog began as part of my campaign. After the election, I received numerous requests to keep it up and running due to the Board meetings being held at an inconvenient time for the public to attend, the televising of the meetings no where in sight, and the minutes from the meetings not reaching the public for a month or more. I agreed. Since then, the blog has become a personal endeavor to try and be more open and transparent to the public, and provide as much information as possible. I encourage everyone...students, staff, teachers, parents, grandparents...to post and give me your opinions, good or bad. You can even do it anonymously if you are shy :)

As for the Superintendents contract, it was posted in response to a request from the public and is strictly for factual informational purposes. My posting of the contract in no way represents my dissatisfaction with it or the Superintendent. I voted for the contract and I support it and Mr. Richmond. In addition, the Superintendent, as well as Board members, is a public servant and therefore his contract is a public document and has been reported in various other media prior to my posting. My posting is not a complete contract and does NOT list all the numerous responsibilites, qualifications and guidelines he must adhere to (please contact Central Office to request a complete copy)

I sincerely apologize if the contract posting or this site has offended anyone or made them feel threatened, for that was not it's intention. This site is not an attempt to "grand-stand" or undermine the Board of Education or staff in anyway. As stated throughout the site, my intentions are strictly to provide the public with knowledge and transparency, answer questions, state my opinions, and hopefully with everyone's cooperation, come up with solutions and innovative ideas for our school system.

Yours in service,
Jennifer

7 comments:

Anonymous said...

Test Post

Jennifer Abell said...

This is another test post. some people are having difficulty posting. If you are having difficulty, please contact me via email abell4edu@verizon.net .

LegalBeaglette said...

You’re apologizing for possibly offending someone by posting elements of the Superintendent’s contract? As if there is no public right to know? As if they haven’t been posted before in other venues? As if the Superintendent is not a public servant? A PUBLIC servant!

I am part of “the public.” I pay taxes – hefty ones – as has my family in this county for nearly half a century. How the Board of Education spends my money matters to me. As an individual, I cannot dictate the budget…nor can I dictate the terms of Mr. Richmond’s contract. I can, however, have an opinion, and voice it…and I assure you that there are lots of voices out here in “the public” that are not pleased with the…generosity…of the Superintendent’s deal.

If that contract listed his salary at $500,000, would these people still be “offended” that it was publicized? $750,000? A million? Six months paid vacation a year? Nine? At what point do the “offended” draw THEIR line at what is reasonable? At what point do the “offended” think they will be prompted to exercise their own rights as citizens/ taxpayers/parents to voice concern on issues such as this?

You don’t belong to a secret society, Ms. Abell: There should be no secret handshake, no smoke-filled back rooms, no dealings on the sly.

You are also living in the 21st Century – The “offended” need to be filled in on BREAKING NEWS: Stone tablets and town criers are so…yesterday! You should be commended for using today’s technology and assets, not condemned. Mass media is changing – CCPS needs to change with it, not fight against it!

Heather said...

Have you been offically approached and asked to stop blogging? Or are there just certain whiney officials who have been pestering you?

Jennifer Abell said...

Heather, I have not been approached and told to stop blogging but I have been approached and told I should stop blogging.

Anonymous said...

It's a free country...Charles County Board of Ed member/servant or not. I most certainly care to know what some high officials make monetarily, after all, where does the money come from!? Us!Who is affected directly by all actions taken by these people? Us! So why is it that we should not care to know...and perhaps look the other way? We care and it's real good to know. If a person turns their back things get out of control. Money is tight enough with in the school system, so with that said, it must be spent WISELY! In truth, some officials are over paid and it's only fair the public realizes who they are...or at least keep them on their toes when thinking to ask for more! Thank you Miss Abell!

Jennifer Abell said...

Anonymous,
Your quite welcome. I just feel like its part of the job to keep the public informed.