Friday, June 30, 2017

Departments: Necessary v. Unnecessary


We commented yesterday that no Muscle Shoals department lost money at the same record pace as the recreation department (think specifically golf course). A reader quickly commented that these other departments are essential, the recreation/golf course isn't. 

This is an astute observation. Police services are essential. Fire services are essential. Utility services are essential. Recreation services? No, they're not anywhere close to essential. 


We're not marketing experts, but the golf course as it's structured today with club house and tennis courts may never be profitable. No, no one wants to buy it either. Perhaps the city should admit defeat before it loses any more of the taxpayers' money?

*****

A second look at the Florence tennis courts? Originally they were supposed to be indoor. What happened to that idea?  



There's nothing wrong with new ideas, but there is something wrong with spending money on these ideas before they're approved. It's rather like a woman purchasing a wedding dress before she's engaged or a man buying a ring before his girlfriend says yes. 

*****

Nigel Knorr has promised us some interesting information on the Spirit of Freedom celebration. It should be extremely revealing.




Thursday, June 29, 2017

The Money Pit Deepens at Cypress Lakes


Yesterday we looked at a proposed Florence tennis court complex; today we'll look at something worse, something that is already a reality.

From Leslie M. Shoals:

http://www.timesdaily.com/news/local/city-committed-to-cypress-lakes-despite-expense/article_669a9b11-a9f7-5e25-b8fa-9b9dd9424a8d.html

Let's see if we understand this right, 2013 through APRIL 2017, the Cypress Lakes Golf Course (AKA Muscle Shoals City Council) has LOST close to ONE MILLION DOLLARS of the tax payers' money.

104 MEMBERS and only 45 are CITY RESIDENTS.

MORE THAN HALF of the members of the Golf Course are NOT M.S. residents but are COSTING MUSCLE SHOALS TAX PAYERS CLOSE TO ONE MILLION DOLLARS?

Mr. Chris Hall, when is the light bulb going to go off in your head? I know your background and understand how you think everyone else should pay for your expertise, but at this rate, you're only one year in but it appears you have consumed gallons of the Kool-Aid if you think this is a smart proposition. Mr. Whitesell knew exactly what he was doing when he suckered all of you. Too bad we can't make y'all pay for your bad decisions out of your own pockets.

Lucy, you have some "splaining to do".

Mr. Arndt, you think those 59 non resident golf club members and others occasionally visiting the course are "probably" spending money on food and gas that justifies these massive losses? When will your light bulb start lighting up?

Sounds like you boys need to take a few accounting and budgeting classes along with those lame brains on the city council.

Leslie M. Shoals

***** 


The only way to remedy this situation is to show up at council meetings and demand change. Make sure the press knows what is going to happen. Write letters to the TimesDaily. Write letters to and call your council members.

No, no city department may be making money, but how many are losing it in these amounts? 




Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Is Tourism Board Wagging the Dog?


31 new tennis courts for Florence? Unneeded? Asymetrical? A boondoggle?

No matter what you may think of the proposed 31 tennis court complex, here are some facts:

* If the tennis court complex were a house, it would be called a "spec." These courts are not primarily for citizens of Florence or the Shoals area, but for desired tournaments, etc., that would increase tourism in the area.

* Our sources tell us that three, if not four, of the Florence city council are set to vote no on the project.

* In October 2016, the tourism board told the city council that plans for the proposed complex had already been drawn up by an unnamed architect. Presumably the board paid the architect with money from lodging tax.

* Local hoteliers are opposed to increasing the lodging tax. Initial increase was projected at 5%, but is now stated to be 3%.

* Many think, perhaps mistakenly so, that the job of tourism workers is to promote what's already here, not to build more to bring in the real or imagined numbers who are dying to flock to the Shoals whether they know it or not. 


Our conclusions? When we first heard of the proposed complex, we favored it. We did not know at that time it would be so large (we had assumed 10 to 12 courts), nor did we know it would displace ball fields in the eastern part of the city.

Now we have our own serious doubts about the project, not the least of which are based on the tourism board's seeming desperation to ram the complex down the throat of the City of Florence.




Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Lauderdale Courthouse Security?


From a reader:


I read with interest the article about the security screening in Colbert county courthouse. The screening in Lauderdale county is a joke. Jurors serving get a stick on name tag and once they have it they are not screened again. The back door is easily opened and I have seen employees open that door for coworkers to come in. Anyone can open the door and let someone in the building. Also you can check your tax record, go to Probate judge without going through security. You can register to vote without going through security. 

I am not sure who devised the Security system, as it was done during the tenure of Dewey Mitchell and the previous Sheriff, but to secure the building it must be secure on the outside of the building and everyone has to be checked. Workplace violence, by definition is caused by an employee in most situations. Attorneys also have been known to be a security risk, so no one should be exempt. Government buildings are no more at risk than any other high traffic building. I have not been to Colbert county since the installation of security measures, but I assure you if some are exempt then there are flaws in their plan.

*****

After reading the above, the security at the Florence-Lauderdale Government Building also comes to mind. We've always assumed the main purpose of the security at the Lauderdale Courthouse, as well as the older system in Colbert, was primarily to protect judges. Do other county employees deserve similar protection? Or are they the ones we should expect to go postal? 

*****

Considering the security in both Lauderdale and Colbert has brought to mind a minor question...or point...that we have always found baffling. We often speak of the lack of autonomy in county government in this state, yet each county is often so different.

Lauderdale County, population approximately 93K, four commissioners.

Colbert County, population approximately 54.5K, six commissioners

At a glance, Colbert would look better served, yet there seems to be more squabbles. Or does Lauderdale better manage to hide its internal disputes?




Monday, June 26, 2017

Colbert County Courthouse Access


From Leslie M. Shoals:

Yoder Underwood Would Never Make It Past Security


Colbert County Commissioners have secured the Courthouse against any danger.


There are security stations and scanners that each person with business inside the Courthouse must pass through, akin to airport security. We can assume there is a well thought out plan and stringent vetting for those who are exempt.
TSA officials have few exceptions when protecting citizens on air carriers.
“Government officials traveling with approved federal law enforcement security details are not required to undergo security screening,” TSA spokesman Nicholas Kimball said, speaking about checkpoint security at airports. “TSA follows a specialized screening protocol for federal law enforcement officers and those under their control, which includes identity verification.”
The TSA would not explain why it makes these exceptions. But many of the exempted government officials have gone through several levels of security clearances, including FBI background checks, and travel with armed law enforcement, eliminating the need for an additional layer of security at airports.
Armed law enforcement officials who travel commercially are also allowed to skip airport security after they fill out the proper paperwork at the airport.
Exceptions are to be expected and outlined in an approved security operating procedures in the Courthouse rules and regulations.


The Colbert County Commission has explained the stringent vetting of those gaining access inside the courthouse without a security scan or check as:


  1. You must be a county employee OR a county commissioner.
  2. Refer to the above.


Sounds harmless? I would be suspect of the security clearance and background checks the county performs on an applicant prior to hiring or IF there is such a check. There is certainly no ABI, FBI, and other state, national or professional background checks on all or maybe any of these.


However, there are over 140 badges issued to county employees and commissioners exempting them from a security line in spite of little or no security/background checks. Many of these employees do not work in the courthouse, nor require/need access for their job duties.

David Black, newcomer Darol Bendall and Tuscumbia Commissioner Jimmy Gardiner oppose granting pre-clearance to professionals, or others in a legal field working in the courthouse on a regular basis - sometimes multiple visits a day. Black, Gardiner and Bendall continue to argue that only county employees will have badges. Gardiner’s suggestion to install another security check point (employee cost, expense) at another entrance was introduced and passed in one evening without input from others.


Those who have multiple appointments daily and weekly in the courthouse, such as attorneys who are required by the Bar Association and the law to maintain ABI, FBI, and highest level of security clearance in the country, will produce longer lines for the average citizen. We will be subjected to all weather conditions to simply get a license, automobile tag, pay taxes or conduct other business at the courthouse.


Nice plan Mr. Black, Mr. Bendall, Mr. Gardiner. You’ve now created another snafu costing the taxpayer money, time and stress. All these older people once again inconvenienced from your lack of common sense.


Ladies and Gentlemen, I ask you to consider the facts. Over 140 individuals employed by the county and elected commissioners have unfettered access to your courthouse and courts by use of a simple badge issued by their own. It also is fact that most, or all of these 140+ individuals, have absolutely no ABI, FBI, or high level security clearance. While these individuals are allowed to freely enter daily without a reasonable and mandated background check and security clearance, the group of professional officers of the courts (attorneys included) who are licensed through a stringent process, maintain an ABI, FBI, and high security clearance, continue to daily create longer lines for the public to gain access.


Ask yourself where the risk lies in the courthouse. On one hand, the 140+ individuals who enter freely without background or high level security, or those who have been extremely vetted and maintain federal security clearance.


Ladies and Gentlemen, Mr David Black created this inconvenience for the taxpayers and should be held accountable. Mr. Bendall and Mr. Gardiner, shame on you for falling for his irrational behavior. You need to think independently.


Leslie M. Shoals

*****

We usually agree with Leslie on the majority of points in any submission - some more than others. This time? We agree 100% with Leslie's pithy and spot on remarks. 

Our readers? Surprisingly, our mail is running more anti Darol Bendall than anti David Black. We welcome any and all comments.



Sunday, June 25, 2017

The Rider's Random Thoughts


Random Thoughts
By:  The Midnight Rider

I got this from Shoalanda Speaks:
We've had some questions about the Midnight Rider. We've been in touch, and he's been under the weather, but is slowly recovering.  

All the best from his many readers who miss him!
  
First I want to thank the readers for asking about me.  I have had an extended illness but am getting better.  This time of the year, we are gathering the cattle from the back 40, which is keeping me busy. 
But, I have had some random thoughts:

-Spring Park.  Recently there was an incident with the roller coaster in the park where some young buckaroos were caught at the top of the ride.  Rumor has it that maybe the situation wasn’t handled correctly by the operator of the roller coaster.  I have to give kudos to Mayor Bubba Underwood for conducting an investigation as well as getting information about the roller coaster to make it a safer ride for the youngins’.
-Inspiration Landing.  Well this is supposed to save the City of Sheffield.  But there is no construction yet.  The developer has closed his office on Montgomery Ave but the first phase was supposed to be going in 2018.  Now I am not a contractor but I have built a barn or two before.  I am not seeing this happening by 2018.  
https://3.bp.blogspot.com/-wtOgNsRfaQ4/WTkSTmgWeDI/AAAAAAAARsk/QaIZK2Wb4z0PlBgy-l7x92hLkJzRXi6mwCLcB/s320/566b46fa48816.image.jpg
-Sheffield Police Dept.  Again, it is a revolving door.  The police Department have lost two good officers within a month to Lauderdale County Sheriff’s Department.  When is the City Council going to realize what is going on?
https://4.bp.blogspot.com/-dz5KXlBO8x8/WS4_f29v6uI/AAAAAAAARpI/W07woSQgUykXJqiE8Gf5k9fwasy_MiVJACLcB/s1600/shef.PNG
Domestic Violence at UNA.  Can you believe that there is Domestic Violence at UNA?  I have news for you, there has been for a long time.  I know for a fact that when I was attending school there that a football player was arrested twice for Domestic Violence but the University decided that they did not want to prosecute.  That says a lot about the University.  
https://3.bp.blogspot.com/-kv9PGwAspik/WUQGWQKzFVI/AAAAAAAARvE/vA-tHJCWvSYhbiJ1NX4BAPzkTs3_OSHSACLcBGAs/s320/auna.jpg
  
That is it for now.  Always remember, the Rider will turn up where you never expect him.  I’ll be around.   
Until next time…..

I am and always will be, the Midnight Rider.
https://www.freeonlinephotoeditor.com/tmp/img-5744fe72cc940/step0003.jpg?1464139539412

*****

Thanks to the Midnight Rider for stopping by. We hope he makes it around this way again soon. 

His thoughts on Inspiration Landing? We consider them spot on! So far we've not had one of our readers who have inquired about the closing of the local office manage to get an answer from anyone. Interesting? 




Saturday, June 24, 2017

Free Range Chickens, Children, & Commissioners





It seems there's a free range chicken farm in Lauderdale County. This farm recently increased the number of fowl it houses, and neighbors are upset. Here's a quote from a woman who lives in the area:

“They told me I was in my right to kill them birds, but after they ate in my chicken stuff and pooped on my property, any disease they got, I’ve got.

Gentle readers, if you live in the county you may do so for many reasons. Certainly one reason is lack of laws to govern what you may or may not do. Don't forget that when your neighbors irritate you.

Let's also not forget that a lack of home rule in this state hampers the county governments from improving your quality of life. You have the power to change that..if you want to.

***** 

Free range children? Keeping a firm hold on your children should mean telling your 15 year-old daughter not to wear a crop top to a party. When she's 23 and leaves her husband and children for the local drug dealer, it's too late to tell her she needs to do the right thing.

*****

We've recently had several complaints about the Colbert County Commission. We have two regular writers who live in Colbert County - J. Redmon and Leslie M. Shoals. The Midnight Rider also lives in Colbert, but he's primarily on hiatus working on a personal project.  

We're asking them and our readers to tell us what the problems are. We always publish anonymously, so feel free to speak your mind.




Friday, June 23, 2017

Does the Colbert County Commission Think These Things Through?


Perhaps you've seen an old television show on TV Land called Car 54, Where Are You? One episode starred Charles Nelson Reilly and the noted Yiddish comedienne Molly Picon. Reilly's character was an architect charged with building a new apartment complex to replace a tenement house, while Picon's character didn't want to leave her old apartment--she'd become accustomed to its brownstone face. 

Reilly agreed to make some changes Picon wanted in order to get her to move into the new building. When unveiled, the replacement apartment complex looked exactly like the one just torn down. In other words, just like the Colbert County Courthouse's new security system. 


For those who came in late, the new security system is part of a multi-million dollar energy upgrade. Included are a new metal detector (cost unknown to us) and an X-Ray machine, cost 14.9K. These two machines have been placed at the courthouse's rear entrance, but lines have been long.

Some attorneys have requested badges to expedite their entry, but at least two county commissioners, David Black and Darol Bendall, haven't been trusting of them. Do they know something we don't? So now the commission, in its finite wisdom, has come up with a new plan.

Attorneys will enter via the eastern entrance (we infer it still may be a choice), but so will the public. The old metal detector from upstairs will be taken out of mothballs and placed there. But, wait. What about the X-Ray machine for handbags, attache' cases, etc.? Unless another X-Ray unit is purchased, the eastern door will always be less secure and used by any would-be terrorists.

Or is the commission going to cough up another 15K for a second X-Ray machine? After all, it's only taxpayers' money. And all because two county commissioners don't like local attorneys...



 

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Who's a Professional? Not Brandon Willcutt


It was only a few days ago that we blogged on the subject of words. They can mean anything anyone wants them to, right? No, not really.

Today's TimesDaily published an article by Robert Palmer on the new local head of Alabama Young Democrats, Brandon Willcutt. Willcutt works for Scope 310, an organization assisting the mentally challenged; Palmer called Willcutt a mental health professional.

We were curious as to what Willcutt actually did at Scope 310 and looked at his LinkedIn profile. The gentleman doesn't claim any degrees, but has attended UNA. 

We admire Willcutt for working with Scope 310, but unless his profile is out of date, he's not a professional in what he does. It's unfair to real professionals who have stayed the course to earn a degree to call him one. 

*****

There have been reports of a barge running over a fishing boat near Cypress Creek yesterday afternoon; readers are asking about the circumstances. We've had no information on this. If you have details, please send the info to us.




Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Who Got a 5K Bonus?/Ditto Lawrence County


Most of our readers probably know that Jennifer Gray and Keith Lankford from the Shoals are among six finalists for the position of superintendent of Decatur City Schools. That means there's a 33% chance this area will be losing an educator/school executive.

We've received some e-mail about there being a conflict of interest in this search, and we do plan to address this later. Today we want to discuss why these two want to leave the Shoals.

Certainly Jennifer Gray's current position as school principal is a step down for the former Lauderdale County superintendent, so it's hardly surprising she's seeking this job. How about Lankford?



He's been at Sheffield two years. That city's schools need strong leadership. There's certainly more of a chance for Lankford to make a real difference in Sheffield than there is in Decatur. The cost of living is also less in Sheffield, so why is he eager to leave?

There are rumors that some are seeking a raise for Lankford if he remains in Sheffield. That may just be pie in the sky, but there are five thousand realities in Lankford's recent pay. Yes, the school board gave Mr. Lankford a 5K bonus for his last year's work. Is Lankford's seeming interest in the Decatur job simply a ruse to get more pay?

*****

The CFO of Florence City Schools Connie Wallace has been gracious enough to contact us with some information. When the new middle school is complete, the portable classrooms will be returned to the company from which they're rented. No more portable classrooms in the foreseeable future.

Mrs. Wallace has also informed us that the new middle school construction is right on schedule. Kudos to everyone making this happen!

*****

We were quickly informed after we published yesterday that the puppy-dropper wasn't from Franklin County, but from Lawrence. We don't have a great many stats from Lawrence at our fingertips, but we'll be compiling them for a future blog.

What we said about Franklin is still very true. Let's hope someone gets the ball rolling on some positive measures extremely soon.



 

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Attention Franklin County - You're a Sick Joke!


Yes, you, Franklin County. Your priorities are skewed. You need an animal shelter and you've made absolutely no progress in getting one.


In case any of our readers missed it, this weekend a woman from Franklin County dumped a litter of puppies after hours at the Colbert shelter. She did do the right thing when contacted and returned to take them to a rescue. No, Colbert can't take animals from other counties. Neither can Lauderdale. This is just common sense.

Don't worry, Franklin County, we're now going to address the City of Russellville. It was Russellville's previous mayor who claimed that city didn't have an animal control problem. No, and it doesn't have an illegal immigrant problem either, does it?

Nothing about this situation will change unless one of two things happens. One - The state will come in and make Franklin County do the right thing; or Two - Citizens will place pressure on their elected officials to remedy the situation.

Certainly the second choice would be quicker, so we're asking residents to act. Yes, John Smith on Waterloo Road, that's you. Yes, Jane Jones on Cotaco Street, that's you also. Yes, you...the attorney who hangs out at the courthouse...Larson E. Pettifogger, isn't it? That means you as well. 

Don't just write a letter to elected officials; write one to the Franklin County Times and the Franklin Free Press. Make sure no one can say there's no animal problem in your city or county. 

We honestly don't know how you sleep at night...

*****

Now a special word to a few of you in Russellville. Yes, we understand Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs. That applies to most of Franklin County's rural residents and some in the county seat, but we know it doesn't apply to a great many in the city of Russellville.  

Please don't tell us you trust your elected officials. If your money market account never made any money, or even worse, would you continue to say you trusted your broker or banker? You have the intelligence and the resources to get things done. 

If you like to see dying, abused, and starving animals, just continue as you have done. If you have an ounce of real pity in you, do the right thing and contact your elected officials and tell them to get off their arse and build a shelter.




Monday, June 19, 2017

Porta-Huts for Our Kids?


If you live in Florence, you probably know that the city's middle school children are housed in modular classrooms. This was one reason that many of us found it imperative to complete the new middle school. One who didn't, of course, was Florence School Board member Britton Watson.

We were reminded of this situation when a portable classroom recently burned in the city of Decatur. This is what it looked like:

Brookhaven Middle School in Decatur

We began a little research into these units, which basically amount to trailers. In fact, some manufacturers continue to call them that. Some even call them huts. It's all semantics, but we do believe school children deserve better than this.

It seems that when used everyday, these portable classrooms have a life expectancy of ten years. When the new middle school opens, we assume the porta-huts will be mothballed for future use in emergencies. Let's hope we don't have any of those.

In fact, let's hope we don't have any fires like Brookhaven. 

*****

A second Colbert County commissioner has joined David Black in opposing expedited court house entrance for local attorneys. This in spite of several road department employees having these clearances.

Well, as we've often said, you can never trust an attorney too far...





Sunday, June 18, 2017

Father's Day 2017




Each year we ask our male readers to be a good example to their children. This year, we're going to ask something different. If you can't be a good example to your sons and daughters, at least don't be a bad one.

During this past year, due to reader request, we blogged on a man (now deceased) with a long criminal history, his son who's currently serving a decades long prison sentence, and his grandson who's awaiting a prison sentence. Then just earlier this month the news told us of a Florence man who took his 18 year-old son on a home invasion.

No, if you can't be a better example than that, leave. Your child will thank you one day, and even is he or she doesn't, isn't it still better than having them curse you from a prison cell?


Happy Father's Day from All of Us at Shoalanda Speaks 

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Muskrats for Mental Health & Park Safety


From the Tuscumbia Muskrat:


Insanity is defined as "doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results." I think this is the perfect slogan for Tuscumbia’s Park Director – Joel Kendrick. Every year the same mismanagement practices are done over and over again – so why does the Mayor expect different results?

I am sure most everyone in the Shoals area has heard about the many calamities at Tuscumbia’s Spring Park. With each new incident we are supplied with a new Times Daily article spotlighting the current park issue at hand. As I dove into the latest TD article (“City hires safety consultant” June 13, 2017) I began to draw a question that has perplexed me for quite some time – Why is the Mayor covering-up for the Park Director?

According to the article, Mayor Bubba Underwood is working toward solving the ride safety issues at Spring Park. The main solution came from the city hiring a safety consultant. Apparently in just a few days the newly hired safety consultant determined that city employees need training on ride safety protocols and found that there were insufficient safety guidelines in place for the park rides. (By the way – I also identified that a lack of knowledge and training were indeed a major issue for park employees.)

In addition the safety consultant informed the city that employees were incorrectly operating the Python Roller Coaster ride. Apparently park employees were unaware that ALL 5 cars needed to be in operation in order for the ride to function safely and correctly. Instead only 4 cars were in operation on May 31st which was the day that the 6 children became stuck on the roller coaster ride.

I truly appreciate the Mayor hiring a safety consultant and addressing our children’s safety. However, could Mayor Underwood please explain the job duties of our Park Director? Spring Park employees are under the supervision of the Park Director and it is HIS responsibility to ensure that training and safety protocols are in place. 

I find it extremely discomforting that the Park Director has been just “getting-by” on a wing and a prayer for all these years. We are very blessed that no park visitor has ever suffered a severe injury from general ignorance of ride safety. If a Production Manager at a plant didn’t give his employees proper safety training --- would the manager be fired? If we continue to keep a park director who keeps dragging the park down then that is Insanity indeed!

*****

The Keller Festival is at hand. Let's hope all rides will be functioning safely and that no muskrats, er, children will be injured during the event. 





Friday, June 16, 2017

Did Someone Say Polls?


We had a critic ask us about UNA placing number two in a schools.com ranking of 30 four-year colleges in Alabama. Certainly it's nice to place in the top numbers of most polls, but two of the criteria for the most recent poll were cheap tuition and number of acceptances (low ACT scores). It reminded us of some other polls in which UNA had scored/not scored in the past few years.

U.S. News & World Report 9/14: Two Alabama colleges ranked; UNA was not one of them.

Dept. of Edu. 2/17 Most Earning Potential: UNA ranked 14th in state.

Niche 9/16 Best Dorms: UNA ranked 15th out of 25 in state.

Niche 4/16 Attractive Females: UNA 12th out of 17 in state. 

Niche 4/16 Attractive Males: UNA 3rd out of 17 in state.

*****

Polls can be either worded or manipulated to mean anything anyone wants. Of the above polls, we feel only the Department of Education polls holds real merit, and even that poll is iffy. Why? Did the poll take into consideration bare figures or did it also consider which universities produced grads willing to move farther afield to increase their income?

***** 


Polls for the upcoming U.S. Senate race? There's already squabbling over which, if any, are official polls. Do we have any endorsements on tap? Of course; we'll go ahead and give you one clue that the Republican candidate this blog endorses will not be Luther Strange.







 

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Developments in the UNA Discrimination Case




From Concerned Citizen 101:

An earlier article talked about Andrew Luna who was Director of Institutional Research and was removed from his position and has not been seen on campus since. An interim director has been appointed. This occurred late January 2017 early February. There are several reasons going around about why he's not been there. One of the reasons is he was written up last year for not "doing" his job. However, if you look at the above mentioned website you will see he is still getting paid over $8,000 per month. Why would he still be on payroll if he was removed for not doing his job? Why is he still getting paid if he's not coming to work.

Well here's the update... if you check the website http://www.una.edu/university-spending
and click on the month of June 2017 you will see Andrew Luna was paid over $32,000 this month. I guess they finally finished negotiating his settlement and this was the payoff. Again if he was terminated for not doing his job back in January or February why has he been on payroll all this time and more importantly why the huge amount this month?

Also, in an earlier article it was reported about the Mitchell v University of North Alabama discrimination lawsuit. Well there's been some more questionable activities since then. It was mentioned in the article that Head of HR Catherine White told Mitchel that effective February 1, 2017 she would be moved back under David Shields' supervision.

Here's the update... if being placed back under the control of the very person you have filed years worth of complaints including audio recordings to prove your allegations wasn't enough they are now making Audrey Mitchell rearrange her office area so that Kevin Jacques (another key person named in the lawsuit) can have an office right next to hers. This is supposed to happen June 23, 2017.

You mean to tell me President Kitts, Head of HR Catherine White and Amber Fite-Morgan who is the University Attorney and Chief Diversity Officer all are okay with intentionally creating a hostile work environment. Which by the way is against the law. All of these people whose job it is to uphold the law and protect those that have been violated, thought it was a good idea to publicly retaliate against Ms. Mitchell. Which by the way also against the law.

Anyone smell a setup? They are trying to harass her until she either drops the lawsuit or leaves UNA. If that doesn't work they are also hoping to get some dirt on her or get her to lose her temper so they can use it against her to terminate her. I pray she continues to stand strong.

Something needs be done with everyone on EC and those named in this lawsuit. Where's the Board of Trustees? Do they think this is okay? Are they helping President Kitts, David Shields and others named in this lawsuit get away with it? Has anyone on the Board requested an independent investigation into the documents filed and evidence presented?

There is no way this lawsuit should have gotten this big. This should have been addressed properly and lawfully when Mitchell first filed the complaint with then President Cale and then again with Interim President John Thornell.

If I had the evidence I would file a complaint with the The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) and have them come investigate UNA's policies for investigating complaints. I would also file a complaint with the Alabama Bar Association against Amber Fite-Morgan.

I know somebody on that campus has some evidence. Well, they need to take a stand. I know that's easier said than done but I can tell you that nothing is going to change until UNA is fully investigated by outside unbiased agencies.

This also needs to be on the six o'clock news. I know one of your readers has to know somebody who will break this story. Pressure from the community knowing the dirty little secrets will force UNA and the Board of Trustees to acknowledge what's really going on and put processes in place to prevent these activities from happening again. It's time to use your resources and expose the "Real" UNA. That's the only way true change is going to happen.

Let's all rally behind these employees and help them get justice. They can only do so much without risking being retaliated against or terminated. Post comments with names and resources that will be willing to do a full story on all of this. I would love to turn on the news and see a real investigative piece UNA.

Wouldn't you???!!!!


***** 

In case you missed CC101's first article: UNA Follies



 

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

UNA Salaries v. First Responder Salaries?




https://www.una.edu/university-spending/

Do you think maybe there were bonuses paid in January this year? There are larger payments than usual to some employees (Paulette Alexander, Robert Armstrong, etc).

I am appalled at the regular salaries for most all the instructors/deans/professors, etc. The sad thing is, this the norm in education at all levels, not an exception!

What about our first responders pitiful pay for working all hours, weekends, holidays, in the heat, cold, bad weather and under extreme hostile conditions many times?

This disparity is NOT acceptable.

Wake up people - pay our police, firemen, nurses like we pay those who work less than 180 days a year!

Leslie M. Shoals
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From a reader:
You mentioned that our university no longer has Florence in its name, if you look at online material, it will just say it's located in the Shoals. I don't know how students from out of town manage to find it.
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With the announcement that Alice Martin is running for state office, we now have two local candidates running outside local parameters...and qualifying won't be over for months. 




Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Keith Lankford Wants Out of Sheffield


Sheffield City Schools Superintendent Keith Lankford wants out of that fair city. In case you missed it:


One of our regular readers had a very interesting take on it:

 
Sheffield Superintendent Keith Lankford is one of the 4 finalists for Superintendent of Decatur City Schools. This story was featured online in the Decatur Daily yesterday, yet the Times Daily hasn't reported it. The people of Sheffield deserve to know that this man who has been here exactly 2 years and has turned our system completely upside down is trying to sneak out the back door.

We have to ask why it wasn't published in the TimesDaily? Why does Keith Lankford want out so soon? Hasn't he been preaching the transformation Sheffield will undergo once Inspiration Landing is completed?


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Like the Pen-N-Sword article? Then like PNS: Like!




Monday, June 12, 2017

Does Anyone Here Speak English?


We originally intended to do an article on Butler Cain, announced local candidate to become our next congressional representative. That involved a quick look at Dr. Cain's LinkedIn profile; we found this among his recommendations:

Butler is one of the most enthusiast and best professors I have ever had.

Is the above a result of unchecked spell-check? Do Dr. Cain's students not practice proof reading? While not in the English department, there's also a lack of analytical thinking in the above statement, not to mention a familiarity that is perhaps unique to Democrats. 

While the young woman who wrote the above statement is from West Texas, we have similar problems locally. Ever read the Flor-Ala? Do these students pay attention in English class? Do they even bother to attend? 

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Back to our intended topic, does Cain have a chance to win this seat? It's very early yet, but he certainly has a good chance to win the Democratic nomination.


*****

We trust everyone knows who Otto Wambier is; he's coming home to the U.S. in a coma. We infer two things. One: North Korea either doesn't want war with the U.S. or it has no money for a body bag. Two: See the above topic; our universities are failing students miserably.

Would any who ever took a course from Dr. Charles Gaisser think North Korea was a vacation paradise? Our keyboard even froze up on those last words.