Should the Calhoun County School Board be paying a lobbyist $3000 per month?
That issue was addressed at last Tuesday night’s School Board meeting by District 5 board member Danny Hassig who asked to terminate the contract of Patrick Bell who was hired over the summer.
Hassig pointed out the board is paying Bell $36,000 per year and remarked, “Sixty percent of Calhoun County [school] employees don’t make $36,000 and the ones that do have 20 years experience.” Hassig said he didn’t think it was right to not give employees a raise and then pay Bell that much when he’s produced “nothing tangible.” He added that he has had repeated complaints from citizens about the lobbyist being paid by the board. “I’ve not had one person on the street say this is an awesome deal. I’ve heard just the opposite.”
Hassig pointed out that district 1 board member Danny Ryals had already received a verbal commitment from Governor Charlie Crist back in November that the school district would receive the second half of funding for the new Blountstown High School, indicating Bell’s services were not needed.
Hassig stressed to Bell that it was nothing personal, “This is business.”
His motion to terminate Bell’s contract died for lack of a second. Hassig asked his fellow board members to please state their opinion on the matter so voters viewing a video of the meeting on The County Record’s website could see where they stood. “If board members wish to make a statement,” Chairman Kelly King responded. “However, the motion died for lack of a second so I think that speaks for itself.”
None of the board members responded to Hassig’s request to give a statement.