Just a reminder to our loyal cadre of schmoozers. The Schmoozefest is taking a well-deserved summer vacation. So there is no Schmoozefest on Thursday, July 27 or on Thursday, August 24. The Schmoozefest has promised to be back from the beach in time for the September event.
On Thursday, the News & Record ran a feel-good story about a bill the state legislature passed that fixed a problem with teacher bonuses. Third grade teachers get a bonus, but if the principal moves them to fourth grade they have to give up their bonus. The legislature fixed it so teachers who are moved by the administration, and not because they requested it, still get their bonus.
But what the N&R didn’t report is that the entire bill came about because the principal at Peck Elementary School sent an email to state Sen. Trudy Wade asking if something could be done about the problem. Wade, President Pro Tem of the Senate Phil Berger, who also represents Guilford County in the state legislature, and Sen. Kathy Harrington from Gaston County sponsored a bill to fix the problem. The bill passed and the problem, pointed out by a Guilford County Schools principal, was fixed with the help of two state senators from Guilford County.
Doesn’t it seem like mentioning the people who were responsible for fixing the problem, since two of the three sponsors were from Guilford County would be a part of the story?
Former Greensboro Police Chief David Wray dropped his slander lawsuit against Greensboro Mayor Nancy Vaughan and City Attorney Tom Carruthers. Both had said that Wray’s legal fees weren’t being paid by the city because his activity as police chief was considered “malicious.”
Vaughan said she was simply quoting Carruthers and Carruthers said that he was trying to summarize the policy that allowed the city not to pay the legal fees for an employee who is sued for actions that are work related and didn’t do a good job of it.
What the article doesn’t mention is the reason given for not paying Wray’s legal fees was never “malicious” activity but because, according to then City Manager Mitch Johnson, what Wray was being sued for was outside the scope of his job. It appears to be a concept that is hard to understand since the city paid the legal fees for other city employees who were sued in the same lawsuit and the city ruled that it was within the scope of the job of the other city employees.
What appeared to have happened was that the city decided not to pay Wray’s legal fees about 10 years ago, and the city had forgotten why it wasn’t paying Wray’s legal fees.
The city so far has spent over $500,000 to not pay Wray a little more than $200,000 in legal fees. Whatever the reason, it doesn’t appear to be a good use of taxpayer dollars.
Sunday, the News & Record gave the people of Greensboro a look at the future. There wasn’t a single news story about Greensboro in the paper, including in the “In Brief” section. There was a feature story on the front-page about a school summer program, but it was a feature, not news. The main front-page story was once again about Rockingham County. But it does seem like in the biggest newspaper of the week, the staff at the N&R could have found one news story to run with a Greensboro dateline.
I believe this is what N&R readers can expect – less and less news about Greensboro. It’s only a matter of time before the whole operation is moved to Winston-Salem and all that will be left in Greensboro is a news bureau where a couple of reporters can hang their hats. Or maybe not. To the folks in Omaha, Greensboro and Winston-Salem are one large metropolitan area. Why should they have two offices at all?
What is baffling about all of this is the obsession with Rockingham County. I understand having more Winston-Salem and Forsyth County stories in the paper but why are the editors at the N&R so set on publishing every smidgen of news in Rockingham County? It’s bizarre to say the least.