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@NCCapitol

Wake schools plan to hire lobbyist irks lawmakers

Posted February 6, 2013

— At least two lawmakers have criticized the Wake County Board of Education for the board's decision Tuesday to hire a lobbyist to fend off efforts to relieve the board of some of its power.

The Wake County Board of Commissioners wants the General Assembly to turn over ownership of area schools to the county board, saying they would provide better management of taxpayer assets than the school board. The commissioners also want to change the way school board members are elected.

School board Chairman Keith Sutton called the commissioners’ plan an “obvious power grab” and said the school board needs to be “in the best position to not only respond, but to defend ourselves.” So, the board asked Interim Superintendent Stephen Gainey to hire a lobbyist.

Republican Rep. Chris Malone, a former school board member, said the move is a waste of money and that board members should just speak to area lawmakers themselves.

"Legislators are more than willing to listen to various points of view. However, I believe it is unwise and counterproductive for the current Wake School Board to argue that they are best positioned to protect taxpayer provided school construction dollars by wasting tax dollars to hire an unneeded lobbyist," Malone said in a statement. "The board should either make the case themselves or rely on the already taxpayer-funded lobbyist at the North Carolina School Boards Association.”

For some unexplained reason, Lee County Republican Mike Stone, whose district doesn't include any portion of the Wake County Public School System, also jumped on the school board.

"I am very concerned about the abuse of taxpayer dollars when it comes to hiring unneeded taxpayer-funded lobbyists," Stone said in a statement. "A school board located only miles from the General Assembly, with working telephones and computers, should use these taxpayer resources to educate children and should advocate their legislative concerns themselves."

8 Comments

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  • Grandpeople Feb 7, 12:42 p.m.

    The Waje County School Board is a joke. What good are they? Get rid of them all and decrease one more layer of wasteful government.

  • miseem Feb 6, 7:31 p.m.

    Per Chris Malone - "Legislators are more than willing to listen to various points of view"

    Right. They don't even want to listen, but sometimes have to. Then, they go on what they wanted to do in the first place. NC has lost a lot of money defending indefensible lawsuits in the past. Seems like the new government wants to double down on those. Even some of the GOP members are questioning the consitutionality of some legislation. Response from the leaders? Let the courts decide. (and let the citizens pay)

  • lec02572 Feb 6, 4:36 p.m.

    School board, hiring a lobbyist is a waste of tax payers money. You have no influence on Jones Stree any more, get ready for all the changes to come unto you and the Wake County School Board.

  • shaun2xlife Feb 6, 4:17 p.m.

    Just get rid of them. Morrigan

    How about we just get rid of the lawmakers who have no business trying to use political power to bully the school board. Conservatives are walking on thin ice when you start attacking everything the local people care about. Power grabs have a strange way of coming back to bite you in the end.

  • krimson Feb 6, 2:50 p.m.

    Why no comments about the fact that the County Commissioners hired their own lobbyist (ex Mayor Fetzer) to push for the legislative changes???

  • bassplayer4dalord Feb 6, 2:45 p.m.

    somebody's cousin needed a paycheck...disgusting waste of money. Just like paying off Tata to leave - no money to fund equipment purchases for school sports, but plenty for payoffs and lobbyists.

  • krimson Feb 6, 2:42 p.m.

    "At least two lawmakers have criticized the Wake County Board of Education for the board's decision Tuesday to hire a lobbyist to fend off efforts to relieve the board of some of its power."

    Cry me a river, County Commissioners...

  • Terkel Feb 6, 2:33 p.m.

    Just disband the school board. They seriously wanted to spend tax money hiring a lobbyist...to fight a county board? What incompetents. Second, did they know there's already a PAID lobbyist with a sweet job that pits govt hack against govt hack? I didn't, and I'm outraged. If they didn't, why not? If they did, why are they trying to spend more?

    Just get rid of them.