Tuesday, June 30, 2015
Business Journal publisher: How can you force out a hero like C. J. Huff?
For those of you who are not familiar with the Business Journal, oh, what am I saying, to nearly all of you out there, it is published every two weeks and is designed to appeal to the business community.
In the most recent issue, Publisher Larry Warren devoted a rare column to praising departing Superintendent C. J. Huff and ripping into R-8 Board of Education members Jeff Koch, Debbie Fort, and Jennifer Martucci.
It is also obvious that Warren has not paid much attention to what is going on in the community his publication is supposed to be covering. But then again,some of those in the audience for which his publication is intended have never been too interested in hearing the truth about things that have occurred in the Joplin city government or in the Joplin R-8 School District:
How in four short years can you take a man who was recognized on the world stage for extraordinary accomplishments of leadership, who was People Magazine's Hero of the Year and still do what you can to force him out?
Could it be, Mr. Warren, because he has spent the district into a horrendous financial state and has run off more than 300 teachers in a three-year span, leaving the district overloaded with inexperienced teachers? Or perhaps it is because he has consistently misled the public on one issue after another during his entire time in Joplin. Or what about declining test scores year after year after year dating back to his time as superintendent of Eldon?
As for his awards, it should be noted that most of his recognition came as a result of people who worked for him submitting his name for the honors at his direction.
Warren continues with this gem:
The current Joplin School Board has demonstrated what power in the wrong hands can do.
It appears that when the people choose board members that do not fall into line with what the power elite in Joplin want then the board is in "the wrong hands."
Whenever people who do not get paid to sit on a board receive death threats just because of how they vote, our society is in a very bad place and one I hoped we would never see here.
I am not convinced that Randy Steele ever received death threats. If they were written, then it is time he produced them. In fact, I cannot remember him saying he received death threats. His story was changing each time he spoke. One time people were threatening to come to the board meeting; another time he was concerned for his safety. It did not make much sense then and it does not make much sense now.
What does make sense and what Warren has conveniently neglected to mention is that Mike Landis and Lynda Banwart conspired to put the appointment of three board members, all approved by Warren, of course, in the hands of the Jasper County Commission, and out of the control of the voters of the Joplin R-8 School District, who made it clear they wanted change. Landis contacted Commissioner Darieus Adams the night before Landis resigned saying what he intended to do. Banwart made it clear during the May 26 board meeting that she wanted the Commission to make the decision. And the fact that she had a conflict of interest with Adams was never mentioned. I suppose Warren feels all is fair when the board has fallen into "the wrong hands."
The C. J. Huff era has been a nightmare for every segment of the Joplin R-8 School District except for the Joplin Regional Business Journal's target audience- the same people who want to make sure that Huff's legacy continues unchecked.