Education

Residents say Lee school superintendent cursed them at forum

Posted October 25, 2012
Updated October 26, 2012

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— Two people attending a political forum in Sanford last week said Lee County Schools Superintendent Jeff Moss cursed them during a heated discussion of school performance.

Moss acknowledges that his conduct during the Oct. 18 forum was "not professional," but he denies using any profanity in the encounter.

Amid questioning of candidates for various posts, Moss got up to criticize one candidate who suggested school district budgets were mismanaged, saying he wanted to know where the candidate got such information.

"You hear a lot of things that are not true from the commissioners about public education," he said.

As Moss returned to his seat, he exchanged words with Lee County Commissioner Jim Womack, who was waiting in line to ask a question.

Brian McRae, who was attending the forum, said Thursday that Moss stuck his finger in Womack's face.

"I'm sitting on the end of the row, and I said, 'You need to sit down,'" McRae said.

Lee County Schools Superintendent Jeff Moss in YouTube video Lee schools chief denies using profanity in public

He said Moss then used an expletive to tell him to mind his own business.

"This is where he throws his first expletive," forum attendee Jonathon Fallin said. "He leans over, points his finger in this citizen's face and says, '(Expletive) you.'"

Fallin said he turned to his girlfriend and said, 'Well, that was professional,' which he said prompted Moss to swear at him as well.

"He leans over, drops a second expletive and says, '(Expletive) you. I'll show you professional,'" Fallin said.

Moss declined to discuss the incident Thursday, but he took time from his annual State of the Schools speech on Tuesday to address it, noting that a video showing the exchange had popped up on YouTube.

"Brian McRae, who was in the audience, made an emotional statement toward me, and I in turn made an emotional statement back toward Brian," he said. "At no time did I use any profanity."

He said he would welcome a meeting with McRae.

Fallin said Moss should resign, noting a 14-year-old was sitting nearby and heard what Moss said to him and McRae.

"We went to the school board and asked that action be taken, and nobody is going to do anything about it," he said.

The Lee County Board of Education has no plans to address the allegations against Moss, Chairman Lynn Smith said. He noted, however, that the superintendent is up for his annual evaluation next month.

Linda Shook, chairwoman of the Board of Commissioners, said in an Oct. 22 letter to Smith that Moss owes McRae a public apology.

"Public officials, whether elected or administrative, are expected to conduct themselves with the highest degree of integrity, professionalism and respect for the citizens they serve. Anger, profanity and blatant disrespect cannot be tolerated," Shook wrote.

McRae, who has two children in Lee County schools, said he was "floored" by Moss' actions.

"It's not that I feel threatened by him, but it's just the fact that he communicated the threat as a superintendent," he said. "What a disservice that was to the citizens of Lee County who pay his salary."

18 Comments

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  • PrayforAmerica Oct 29, 2012

    So what is the school board doing?

  • westernwake1 Oct 26, 2012

    "Salary is based on more than just the numbers of students served and the number of schools." - lalaloo

    So let's see... Superintendent Jeffrey Moss earns more than 93% of the school superintendents in the U.S. He is superintendent of one of the smallest county school districts in North Carolina. The student improvement in test scores is among the lowest in the state.... and you fail to see a problem with this. If the Superintendent was a superb leader who greatly enhanced the school system then maybe you could make a case for paying big money...

    but Jeffrey Moss is not an effective leader. Let's remind people of just some of the recent scandals.

    'School superintendent threatens food vendor for sending critical email' - http://www.wwaytv3.com/2011/06/08/only-3-school-superintendent-threatens-food-vendor-for-sending-critical-email

    Jeff Moss forces students to send nasty letters to lawmakers -
    http://www.wral.com/news/state/nccapitol/story/9691710/

    The list goes on.

  • lalaloo Oct 26, 2012

    Salary is based on more than just the numbers of students served and the number of schools. Like I said, I am no Moss fan, but the other 3 definitely have an agenda.

  • westernwake1 Oct 26, 2012

    Jeff Moss is one of the highest paid school superintendents in the state of North Carolina. His

    'Superintendent Jeffrey Moss earns a salary of $162,412, plus a $1,000-per month car allowance, a $1,200-per month housing allowances, and $18,000 in deferred compensation deposited into an interest-bearing account." $40,000 county supplement, etc.

    'By comparison, the Wake County Public School System’s superintendent, Anthony Tata, makes $255,164 per year in salary and Charlotte-Mecklenburg School’s superintendent, Peter Gorman, makes $267,150 per year in salary'

    'WCPSS serves 143,289 students in 163 schools; CMS has 133,600 students in 176 schools. Lee County Schools has 9,654 students enrolled in 16 schools.'

    I don't think Lee County is getting value for their educational administrative money.

    http://bit.ly/R7nWL0

  • lalaloo Oct 26, 2012

    Oh and BTW Lee County is not the smallest county in NC. Google is your friend. "Clay County is the smallest at 221 sq. mi. Mitchell is the next smallest at 222 sq. mi." Lee has 259.

  • lalaloo Oct 26, 2012

    I think it's the other 3 with the overblown ego. I'm not a Jeff Moss fan, but considering the 3 this came from, he is the lesser of 4 evils. Not everyone in Lee County is a Republican sheep.

  • westernwake1 Oct 26, 2012

    If this was a one time incident then I could understand having the Superintendent apologizing and just moving on. However this incident is representative of a long term pattern of behavior by Superintendent Moss which is unacceptable.

    This does not even touch on Superintendent Moss using the school system and his cronies to persecute the children of his political enemies. I am sure some directly impacted people will drop in on this thread to outline some details...

  • NotJustSaying Oct 26, 2012

    Moss does not deny using profanity. He states repeatedly that THE VIDEO did not capture him using profanity. I am sick and tired of figures with power abusing the people they are supposed to be serving. Get his overblown ego out of there!!!

  • PrayforAmerica Oct 26, 2012

    Oh he used it~!!!!! Too many valid statements and testimony
    Follow their local paper.
    -October 23, 2012 Beats the heck out of me how a video where you hear him say it..must not exist. Yes you can hear it.
    -Well sawmill01..of course we're lying. Why we want to hold the old guy accountable!
    -ecupirates#1 |October 24, 2012 The bottom line is that Moss owes the public an apology. If he has done this before, he probably should be fired. If he is told to apologize and refuses to do so, he probably should be fired. I say probably because I don't know the Lee County Schools employment policy or what's in his contract.
    I don't blindly follow our leaders just because they agree with me most of the time.
    - bigdale |October 25, 2012 Well said ecu, well said. -jacque1 |October 23, 2012 As THE smallest County in the State of NC, why on Earth do we have one of the HIGHEST compensated Superers in the entire State? I do not think we are getting we are truly paying for. Still hard to believe that th

  • tejonesey Oct 26, 2012

    While I certainly don't condone this language and would not justify his actions, the video doesn't conclusively indicate he used this language. The fact is, many of these witnesses that heard and reported this, don't like Moss and want him out. Once again, this language, if used is unprofessional. However, as you watch the video you can see that many of the spectators were childish in their behavior as well. Check out the gentleman just in front of the recording who appears to flash the finger at Moss.

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