Republican Guilford County Commissioner Justin Conrad objected strongly when Chairman of the Guilford County Board of Commissioners Skip Alston appointed a school spending oversight committee and refused to put a Republican commissioner on that committee.
The confrontation occurred at an afternoon work session on Thursday, July, 14 when Alston made the unusual move. The chairman of the Board of Commissioners is the one who has the authority to appoint members to committees, however, in all, or almost all previous cases, those committees have included members of both parties.
At the July 14 work session, the new school committee was presented as a committee to work with the schools in spending $300 million in school bond referendum money from a 2020 school bond. As the Rhino Times reported the day after the work session, the projects planned for $300 million are now projected to cost $450 million.
Several sources in Guilford County government said that, in reality, the new committee is being formed to help figure out how to address that problem.
The county commissioners were aware of the over-budget number at the time of the work session, which was no doubt why Conrad was so adamant about the committee needing a Republican – to ask the hard questions of school officials.
Alston told Conrad at the meeting, “I was trying not to make it political.”
Conrad, who is stepping down as a commissioner in four months, said that Republican Commissioner Alan Perdue, who served as Guilford County’s longtime Emergency Services director before becoming a commissioner, was the perfect person to be on the committee.
“I know he’s busy,” Alston said.
What’s ironic is that Perdue is busy precisely because people pay him to fly all over the country consulting on the same types of matters that would be immensely beneficial in the coming school spending discussions.
Perdue was not at the work session but was attending portions of it by phone with a connection that came in and out. During the discussion, Perdue did not take part in the part about the committee formation and there was no audible response from Perdue when he was asked to comment.
Perdue told the Rhino Times later he believes Alston should have asked him to serve on the committee since he, as former Emergency Services director, did have decades of experience in building code enforcement, school safety matters and large project oversight.
Perdue said he could hear some of the conversation, but did not push back at the meeting because he saw the writing on the wall. Alston had decided it would be all Democrats, he said, and the Board of Commissioners has a 6-to-3 Democratic majority. Perdue said he’s been around long enough to know how that confrontation would have gone – on this board, Alston always gets whatever he wants.
Conrad said after the work session, “Alan is by far the most imminently qualified commissioner to be on the committee.”
Alston said that, just because Republican commissioners aren’t on the committee, doesn’t mean they can’t watch and later offer input.
“Every commissioner can attend a meeting and observe,” Alston told Conrad at the work session last week.
(The school committee meetings are public meetings and everyone has a legal right to attend.)
If the committee does end up voting on matters, however, only the commissioners on the committee will have a vote.
Perdue told the Rhino Times that he does have many ideas on how the school system could save money on construction projects.
“If you look at Walmart, Target and other chains, they have similar designs for their stores,” he said.
Perdue said that that not only saves on architectural fees but also on maintenance for the lifetime of the buildings.
Conrad said the appointment of all Democrats to the committee suggests to him that Alston doesn’t want anyone on the committee who will raise difficult questions.
This is the reporting that makes the Rhino Times the most important news source in Greensboro. Keeping the the spotlight on Skip Alston’s political gamesmanship takes a real journalist and real reporting. Well done Scott.
Looks like the county just got handed another blue turd. Defund the schools. The government has proven the current model doesn’t work. It’s not the school’s place to raise a child. Homeschool your kids. Teach them right. If you don’t their teachers will definitely teach them left. Can’t afford it? Nonsense! It can be done for nearly nothing if you look for the right resources. What about socialization? Hogwash! There are plenty of groups and resources for that as well. The only thing my kids miss out on is the constant liberal indoctrination & gender bending confusion.
Alston is detrimental to Guilford County. Does anyone have any ideas on how to stop his reign of terror?
Keep pressure on the local democrat political scene. Another dirty trick, facilitated by Alma Adams was the multi postponement of elections. They finally decided on the July date because it is summer and vacation time. The goal, no opposition to Greensboro’s Black PAC (their own words) and a concentrated vote by their constituents.
Without tricks, they cannot prevail. Hard to change voters on their payroll.
Alma Adams is still at it in DC. She was with other losers marching against something. I am certain she does not know what the protest was about. She is a reason for term limits. Does she still wear those crazy hats?
Skippy has no idea how to manage money… his only interest is skimming off the top for himself. This man needs to get caught and put behind bars!!
Skip & Earl are master at how to milk the tax payer out of money. Just refer back to the Michael King fiasco and you have it. Somewhere, Somehow Skip will benefit from the school bond and the lease of the jewish academy to ICE. Just follow the money. Skip could give the Clintons a lesson on how to play the tax payer.
Everyone needs to pay attention to who now owns the former Hebrew Academy…
Certainly. Skip is in real estate. Was on the Board in Raleigh at some point.
This is outrageous! Chairman Alston, you have gerrymandered everything you touch. This is not government, it is a power ploy that smacks of your need to control everything in the county. Discourse and discussion are at the base of our democratic system. Your actions show no willingness for balance.
And this surprises anyone?
You get, what you vote for.
If you look up “arrogant” in the dictionary, you will see Skip-the-hyp’s photograph.
Please do not vote if you do not understand the issues. Do not encourage blind voting.
My response to Skippy would have been, “ no that’s the problem with this committee now, you want the Republican members to be observers rather than participants”. Unfortunately that’s one reason nothing will change because no one will stand up to King Skippy and the machine. He’s not King of the local Hill, he just thinks he is.
It looks like Skippy wants his own little democrat cabal to figure out how to spend “their” money. After watching a new McDonalds being “installed” it amazed me how efficient it was. They prepared the site in a day or so, and had the unit up and running within two weeks. It was exactly like several other Mc Donalds that were in town. It seems the company has a design that meets their requirement and since they are all basicall alike, McDonalds knows right down to the last screw and bolt what it’ll cost. They don’t need an expensive consultant company advising them for each unit. It’s like they roll up, slide the unit off the truck and plug it in.
It seems that a similar approach to building new school would benefit from this approach. It could even be used throughout the state; have a modula design that can be enlarged for any school, one archetectural design and knowing reasonable well what the cost would be.
“To the victor goes the spoils “
Guilford County citizens voted for him (at least a few did) now they will reap what they have sown.
Finally someone that gets it. Walmart, Target, CVS, Walgreens and most grocery store chains build and design their stores exactly the same. This is not for storefront recognition, it’s to save money.
“Perdue said that that not only saves on architectural fees but also on maintenance for the lifetime of the buildings.”
Diversity is good, eh Skippy?
Totally agree, I have spent most of my life in commercial contracting. At the very least they should have pre-designed, expandable floor plans and exterior elevations for each type of school, Grade, Middle & High School. Let the contractors compete over the most cost-efficient structure to be used at that moment in time. Over time the floor plans can be tweaked as needed and used over and over. Consider having multi-story plans also to reduce the land required. Spend money where the kids can get the best educational use of it and not on fancy embellishment. The more often you build similar structures it will drive the cost down. Also seems to me once a school is replaced, tear down the old one and re-use the site to build another school and save the land acquisition costs instead of letting them sit unused.
What comes to mind is the sham in congress called January 6th . They do not want any opposition from Republicans so they the two Rhinos on board that are voting as Democrats,this is the sham that the Dems pull because they don’t have answers and don’t want Republicans to embarrass them by showing them up.All Dems are the same they Lie , Lie , and when they get caught they just smile and call you a “racist “.All the while they have lied through their teeth.Alston is just covering his behind became does not know what to do .
I remember when we had Republicans in charge from 2012 to 2020 everything ran smoothly with no bickering except from Skip because he was not in charge making stupid decisions.
Why can’t you Dems see through their crap and vote the turkeys out.In Virginia and other states they are throw the Dems out right and left.Come on Greensboro all you Dems let’s get rid of these guys once and for all time.
If you live in Greensboro, you have a wonderful opportunity to vote the bums out by voting for Chris Meadows, write-in candidate and at-large candidate, Katie Rossabi. Of course, some districts will continue to send the same old bums back. That is the way it has always been in those districts. With strong leaders, it will not matter.
If it smells like feces, then it is probably feces.
I have no words other than ” disgusting ” and oh so typical…
Maybe just maybe they weren’t appointed because they sat back and watched the lawsuit by Alan Branson and refused to speak up. Remember Republicans don’t want new schools so why do u want input in how they are designed
Why build new schools just look at the maintenance of the ones we have sure some are old but not maintained. Dudley is a great example of an older school that was remolded and it’s perfectly functional today
Explain how you know Republicans do not want new schools?
This should surprise no one. Skip does nothing unless he can control the outcome, or at least push it to the most favorable position for him. Skip is probably one of the most successful elected officials to accomplish this in the county, in the same vain as Carolyn Coleman, Alma Adams, Maxine Waters, Nancy Pelosi and others I suspect you can name. He is smart enough to stay in a district he knows he can get elected in, just as the others named have. He has no hesitation in spending your tax dollars to advance his agenda and he will continue to until his voters see what he is doing and how it is not good for them.
Well said BJ !! Every vote for Skippy and all his cronies puts us another step closer to the slaughter. Wake up people!!!!
Whenzat gonna happen? The voters don’t know jack.
Between Alston and Hightower, I need to take a second blood pressure pill every time I read about them and something they’ve done to up our taxes or miss use our hard earned money. Glad to see you on here BJ Barnes.
Alston is capable at what he does. Do not agree with him but he is capable. Hightower is not.
You can be sure of one thing. If and when the Republican party regains control of the Board and pull off a move like this, there will be such hollering, screaming, gnashing of teeth, rending of garments all with accusations of what a racist move this was being screamed out by Herr Von Skippy.
Sorry Skip, just calling it as I personally see it.