Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Business Journal publisher: How can you force out a hero like C. J. Huff?

Over the last few years, I have spent so much time writing about the shortcomings of the Joplin Globe that I have shamefully neglected the other newspaper in Joplin, the weekly Joplin Regional Business Journal.

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."

And this:

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.


Anonymous said...

Warren can hardly be unbiased in this issue because his daughter has one of those cushy jobs that CJ Huff created. She is the "event coordinator" for the district, which makes one wonder just how many events the district hosts, and how did the district get by before the tornado that brought CJ so much notoriety? How on earth did they survive? Oh yes. I remember. They focused on academics instead of publicity.

It also seems like Darieus Adams has a connection to these people, but I can't quite remember what it is. Perhaps another reader can solve that mystery. It might be a lot of advertising for him? And for Lynda, I am sure. A true journalist can't support one faction so clearly and still claim to be unbiased. This is as bad as the Globe. Or worse. Probably has about the same readership. Or, maybe it just makes some really good business from a small number of people. That seems to be the way Joplin works. One dirty hand washes another, but the water has gotten so murky that it is leaving stains.

Anonymous said...

His daughter Whitney is the events coordinator for Joplin Schools.. He along with his buddies at the Joplin Chamber of Commerce got her the job. Oh, and let's not forget the Progress PAC's help!

Anonymous said...

Warren should be commended for trying to inject some life into the business journal in recent years, but he doesn't "get" journalism. Or objectivity, apparently. Not that a business journal is anything really close to journalism. Here's a question: why is his publication still allowed to use space in the Newman Innovation Center, an incubator for new businesses? Because they don't dare print anything the chamber wouldn't like, and he writes an editorial praising CJ Huff.
From the Innovation Center website: "Our goal is to get your business started and provide some support for growth, with an expectation that you will leave the facility needing much larger office space in one to three years."
That publication has been "incubating" for like six years. I'm just glad Roger Asay's business journal was a bust.

Anonymous said...

Larry Warren is too busy running those phony contests, such as "Twenty Women of Distinction," to pay much attention to what is actually going on in Joplin. Those contests are designed to get the recipients' employers to take out congratulatory ads in the Joplin Regional Business Journal. Additional money is made off the banquet tickets. It's not business journalism by any stretch of the imagination. And why is the JRBJ allowed to continue residing in the Joseph Newman Innovation Center all these years? The intention of the Center was to allow start-up businesses to reside there for a year or so during their "incubation" period.

And yes, Whitney Warren is the events coordinator for Joplin R-8.

Anonymous said...

If you want to talk about the innovation center, why are any of the long term tenants still there? The software company has also been there for at least 8 years because it makes the building payroll look good. Perhaps a call to the state (who helps fund them)?

Anonymous said...

Whitney Warren's past experience includes

Account Executive
Joplin Tri-State Business Journal
September 2009 – June 2010 (10 months)

Responsible for continued customer service through increased revenue, seeking prospects and expanding subscriptions among three states. Maintain relationships with new and prospective clients through direct sales meetings and cold calling. Execute marketing and B2B development initiatives on a local level. Conduct research and collect key target account data in order to sell product. Assist other departments within company to coordinate local events to honor area business growth and recognition.

Anonymous said...

Turner Report August 2 2014

Huff Administration spends $50,000 for special project coordinator

Huff Administration spends $50,000 for special project coordinator
With the possibility of President Obama coming to Joplin to see the six-and-a-half-mile ribbon, it became more important than ever for the Joplin R-8 School District and the C. J. Huff Administration to fill the special projects coordinator position.

So important that reportedly newly-hired Whitney Warren will earn in the neighborhood of $50,000 for a job that was advertised for $32,000.

The $50,000 expense comes at a time when the district has eliminated all of its part-time reading instructors, but then again, there are times when it seems like the Joplin R-8 School District has more special projects than reading taking place.

Whitney Warren Linkedin July 1 2015

Whitney Warren

Career Path Coordinator at Joplin School District

Joplin, Missouri
Education Management

Career Path Coordinator
Joplin School District
October 2012 – Present (2 years 10 months)Joplin, Missouri Area

Callie Hudson said...

Perhaps commenters should make an effort to stay on topic. Mr. Warren chose to make his opinions public, which essentially invites criticism. However, Whitney did not. She is a bright, thoughtful, passionate, kind member of the Joplin community. She is more than qualified for her position because she has worked hard and earned the respect of so many. Joplin could use about a thousand more Whitney Warrens. We are lucky to have her. Now, kindly lay off. At the very least, have the courage to use your name(s).

Anonymous said...


Business growth means more employees for Atlas.

Originally Published in The Joplin Tri-State Business Journal on December 3, 2007

By Chris Roberts

Whitney Warren knows that when her father says “No,” he means no.

That’s not necessarily a bad thing for her to hear, though, she said — at least not in her new position of marketing manager for her father’s company, Atlas Risk Management. It’s her job to bring ideas to the table, and she’d rather have her father, Larry Warren, telling her “No” in a kind way rather than from a stern boss being over-critical.

“When he says, ‘No,’ he means no,” Whitney said. “And when he says, ‘Let’s think about it,’ he means ‘Let’s think about it,’ and the idea isn’t off the table.”

Larry Warren started Atlas two years ago after careers in law enforcement and private investigating. The company provides background checks, pre-employment screenings and tenant screenings for employers and landlords nationwide. In February he moved into the Joseph Newman Business and Technology Center at 407 S. Pennsylvania. Business has grown so much over the past nine months that he’s had to move from one office inside the building to a larger office that will accommodate his newest employees — daughter Whitney and step-son Connor Bounds.

“It’s very exciting for us,” Larry Warren said. “Connor has been doing some part-time work for me already, and now (Whitney) and I will get to work together — that’s exciting for me.”


Anonymous said...

You're quick!

What's the topic?

An editorial?

Or maybe the reasons why voters elected the change agents to the board and Huff and Landis suddenly decided to retire?

Fred Tannenbaum said...

Hi, Callie, I appreciated your comment. I don't think anyone is critical of this woman on a personal level. And she probably is well-qualified in this area, but the simple fact is her position, among several others, are not necessary in the Joplin school district.

Darren Stevens said...

People are commenting on the ridiculous overpaid non-essential position created for one of Huff's benefactors. The person filiing this publicly funded position is rightfully having her credentials and manner of hiring scrutinized by those footing the bill. Her sainthood is not the issue.

Anonymous said...

I don't see that anyone has smeared Ms. Warren's character at all. The posit was that perhaps her father chooses to back Huff and his JPC friends in order to make sure her job exists. Her job is not necessary. We managed for decades and decades without such a luxury and we can do so now. All government entities owe it to the hardworking people who pay the taxes that support them to use those tax dollars carefully and to spend them where they will do the most good for the community. Joplin Schools has added many jobs in the last seven years that are just not warranted. Rarely is it about the person who has the job, as in this case. It is about the job itself. We don't need it. I'm sure all of those in Huff's camp who are concerned about losing their jobs will come to the rescue and argue for this one, but I would challenge you to justify it at a time when decent raises haven't been seen since Huff's arrival while academic success has suffered. Perhaps we just need fewer events and a stronger focus on learning.

She may be sweet as sugar. I have no idea. If she is so qualified, she will have no problem finding a job with an employer that is financially stable.

Anonymous said...

She has worked hard primarily as a tour guide. I say we don't need to be giving tours in the schools during business hours. As for laying off, I do believe we still have the right of freedom of speech. So, kindly lay off telling us whether we can speak or not about matters that concern our schools and our tax dollars.

Anonymous said...

C.J. Huff and the Confederate flag have both outlived their usefulness and should be taken down folded up and put away in the museum of useless mistakes