Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Post 5 Oconee BOE Candidates React to Superintendent Dismissal

The Signs of the Campaign

The two candidates running for the Post 5 seat on the Oconee County Board of Education said they learned similar lessons from the recent revelation that the outgoing Board asked former Superintendent Tom Dohrmann to retire, contrary to the earlier announcement that Dohrmann initiated the resignation.

"I’ve learned that the public’s perception of an occurrence such as this can play a large part in the trust given to and confidence placed in an elected body," Tom Breedlove said.

"The revelation of new information about the termination of the contract with the last superintendent reinforces in my mind the fragile nature of public trust," said Rich Clark. "Once public trust (has) been violated, it is difficult to regain."

Breedlove, 39, the Republican candidate, and Clark, 43, the Democratic candidate, give these responses to two written questions I posed to them via email on Oct. 19 regarding the story that broke in the Athens Banner-Herald on Oct. 15 and was followed with a second story in the paper four days later.

Both candidates had appeared at a Candidate Forum organized by Citizens for Oconee’s Future, Citizens for South Oconee County, Friends of Barber Creek, Friends of the Apalachee and Oconee Citizens for Responsible Growth on Oct. 13. A video of that forum is now available, but, no questions about the termination of the former superintendent were raised at that session.

"I promise never to misrepresent the facts of any Board decision to the public or press," Clark said in response to a question I posted about future Board activity.

"I can only say that as one of the Board members I would be as open as possible about the matter," Breedlove said.

The two candidates have children in the Oconee school system. Breedlove’s three children are currently enrolled, as are both of Clark’s children.

Clark would bring to the Board his experience as a political scientist responsible for survey research and program evaluation in the Carl Vinson Institute of Government at the University of Georgia.

Breedlove would bring his experiences as a partner and director of Landscape Architecture at Williams & Associates, a local land planning and development consulting firm.

Breedlove has raised $1,500 in contributions for his campaign, the largest amount, $1,000, coming from JMW Ventures, LLC, according to his campaign contribution disclosure reports of June and September. JMW Ventures LLC is headquarted at 2470 Daniells Bridge Road in Oconee County. Jon Williams is listed in the Georgia Secretary of State database as the registered agent. Jon Williams is president of Williams & Associates, headquartered at 2470 Daniells Bridge Road.

The Athens Area Home Builders contributed $150 to Breedlove’s campaign, with the remainder in contributions all individually under $100, for which disclosure of the identity of the donor is not required by law.

Clark has raised $1,612 in contributions, with the largest contributions of $200 each coming from the Oconee County Democrats and Heather Kleiner of 1061 Greystone Lane in Watkinsville, listed as retired. Clark reported that he raised the remainder of his money in contributions of under $100.

Breedlove had to win the Republican endorsement and spent before the June reporting period more than a third of the $1,436 he has spent in the campaign. He defeated Kyle Martin in the July 15 primary.

Clark had no opposition in the primary and has spent most of the $720 he has spent after the June and before the September filing period.

Campaign signs were a big item for both candidates.

I’ve filed the questions I posed to the two candidates are their full answers are on my web site.

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