Monday, November 10, 2014

Unfiltered Doug's Gloating Casts Shadow over recent Victory

(W)oe be upon you if you supported my opponent. 
You just lost your seat at the table! Just saying!

There's this thing FCPS board member Doug Barnett does. It shows up every once in a while.

I first saw it during the FCPS Board candidate's debate in 2010 when I wrote:
Barnett may be a no-nonsense guy - I don't know - but he also has an unusual interpersonal affect. In the little bit of the debate I saw, I picked up on (what appeared to be) a good degree of self-satisfaction. I wonder how people will respond to him. I do think he will question and challenge Stu on some issues. I'd like to know that his heart is in the right place.
Barnett responded positively to the criticism even volunteering that his wife saw the same thing I picked up on.
I even found your critique of my performance during the public forum to be fair after I watched it for myself. In fact, my wife said the same thing you did (now, from her, that stung a little bit!). I made some adjustments to my style (i.e., I got out of lawyer-mode) after that and I think it made me a better candidate.
I didn't mention it at the time, but I saw it again, immediately following his delivery of a zinger to Mike Scanlon during a May board meeting. It, indeed, seemed to be tied to the emotion of the moment and also seemed to have a little bit of "I'll show you" in it. As I recall, the video cuts off just before he tosses his water bottle across the floor.

Over the weekend, Barnett apologized for, what I took to be, a bit more of the same - an intemperate and unfiltered emotional response to...something. But what? After all, Barnett won!

Why choose this moment to rhetorically disenfranchise those he represents - whether they voted for him or not?

He told the Herald-Leader that, "I realized my post was inappropriate" but for some reason his Facebook statement indicated apologies to those who may have misinterpreted what he wrote. A plain reading of the statement should be worry enough, despite any misinterpretations by Cleveland's 3,915 District 2 supporters.

I do not know what criticisms Barnett was responding to. In today's political climate, there must surely have been something. But I must say that in conversations with my colleague Roger Cleveland, I never once heard him disparage Barnett, despite having had ample opportunity to do so.

Now in the aftermath of a big win, this unforced error gives solace to H-L columnist Merlene Davis as well as the Herald-Leader editorial board for their endorsement of Cleveland. Davis had apparently seen the same thing I did, inferring it was a childish display, when following Barnett's urging defeat of the school district budget,
Barnett then rocked back in his chair and received applause from the audience.
Since the gaffe followed the election, Barnett has the opportunity to right the ship - over time. He has already begun to reach out to those constituents he most likely offended, and in whom he raised suspicion. But, in the short term, this self-inflicted wound takes the shine off what I'm sure Barnett hoped would be a triumphant return to the board room.

Contrition is the order of the day.
This from the Herald-Leader:

Fayette school board member apologizes for Facebook post 
that promised 'woe' to supporters of election opponent

Re-elected Fayette County Public Schools board member Doug Barnett on Sunday apologized for a post he made on his Facebook page that said he would not consider any superintendent candidate who supported his opponent in Tuesday's general election.

Barnett's comments, posted at 11:30 p.m. Thursday, after Superintendent Tom Shelton announced his resignation to take the executive director's post at the Kentucky Association of School Superintendents, said,
"Well ... ... I hope your afternoon and evening was more interesting than mine! It appears that we are going to select a new superintendent for FCPS. Allow me to say two things that are non-negotiable: 1) I will NOT consider any candidate who will not improve morale within the district or consider employees as key collaborators; 2) woe be upon you if you supported my opponent. You just lost your seat at the table! Just saying!"

In the election, Barnett, a senior staff attorney in the Kentucky Court of Appeals who was first elected to the board in 2010, defeated Roger Cleveland, an associate professor in the College of Education at Eastern Kentucky University, in the 2nd District. The district covers northern Fayette County.

"I was just blowing off steam," Barnett told the Herald-Leader on Sunday in a telephone interview. "For whatever reason, I typed on Facebook. When I realized my post was inappropriate, I deleted it. Nothing more, nothing less. It wasn't directed at anybody. I was just upset about some of the negative things that had been said about me in the campaign. ... I posted something in anger. It was something I shouldn't have done.

"I am so sorry."

Barnett made similar apologetic comments on his Facebook page Saturday.

"Recently, I posted something on this page that may have been misinterpreted by some," the post said. " If you were offended, I apologize to you. I didn't appreciate some aspects of my opponent's campaign and I posted something in anger. Nothing more than that. I have removed the post. I am looking forward to a very open, transparent and inclusive search for a new superintendent."
Barnett said Sunday he would consider all candidates.

"Honestly, I was just trying to gloat a little and that backfired. I didn't mean anything by it," Barnett said. He said the story should not be about him "posting something stupid on Facebook. It needs to be about us finding and attracting the best candidate for Fayette County schools."

Cleveland told the Herald-Leader in an email Sunday that he did not think Barnett's post was an accident. "It was not misinterpreted," Cleveland wrote. "He said exactly what he meant. This is consistent with his Facebook postings and emails before, during and after the election. I did not state anything negative during the campaign race.

"Mr. Barnett needs to understand that the board seat does not belong to him, it belongs to the thousands of stakeholders in District 2. Whether they voted for him or not, they still deserve voice. The election is over; his attention should be on student achievement."

Fayette Board Chairman John Price said Sunday that he expected that Barnett will make the best decision for the students in Fayette County Public Schools.

"As Board Chair, I am disappointed in the post and I am appreciative that it has been removed. I would expect that Mr. Barnett would be willing to listen to any constituent and act to do what is best for our students."

Price said the board would begin discussing the search for a new superintendent on Monday, when the school board has a planning meeting. Shelton's last work day is Dec. 12.

No potential candidates have been identified publicly.

Cleveland said he had no intention of applying for the position.

"I will say this: If the school board does not work collaboratively and if all school board members do not embrace equity, we will be looking for another superintendent in another three years," Cleveland said.
more here:


Anonymous said...

Agree that he does not learn from his childish mistakes. He.needs to step down for the good of the children and morale of all folks.

Anonymous said...

This was an ugly election. Would anyone expect Mitch McConnell to give Grimes a say in how he runs the Senate now?

Cleveland was hand-picked to run against Barnett. No doubt. Roz Akins- a continuous employee of the district for 7 years- gave an in-kind donation to Cleveland's campaign. Cleveland has his hands in amost every aspect of Carter G. He lost the election. This was and is sour grapes by a group that feels their relevance slipping away and is scared.

I support Doug Barnett. And will stand with him.

Anonymous said...

Mr. Barnett made a mistake. We all make them - we're human. I have absolutely no doubt he will continue representing FCPS with the highest regard. He is a true advocate for students and staff.

FCPS staff member and parent

Anonymous said...

That election was as civil as any out there. Cleveland ran a positive campaign. No matter what, Barnett has zero right to exclude anyone from the table. Any way you look at this it is is purely racialand the black eye is very appropriate! He is a power hungry politician who should be required to resign for the good of the system. Hi is all about Doug instead of the kids! What person in his or her right mind would apply to be superintendent with Barnett as a board member? Do what is right Doug and resign now.

Anonymous said...

Point missed. You cannot divert what you did. No excuses - step down Mr. Barnett! You will never have credibility after what you did and your presence only hurts the district as it tries to move forward. This will only get worse as long as you are there. Do what is right for the kids and this community. Don't you work for the court of appeals? Is this acceptable to them?

Anonymous said...

Civil election?! Ha! How about Roger Cleveland being hand picked by the Equity Council? How about all the closed-door meetings between Cleveland and Vince Mattox?

How about Cleveland's assertion that the audit was "personalities"....the underlying message being that Doug and Amanda were in a witch hunt.

I am so sick and tired of race being an issue every time something doesn't go the way of the Equity Council. Cleveland lost. CB Akins and the Bracktown Bunch lost. And I guess now we are all gonna have to hear about how race caused it.

Rubish. The african-american community WILL have a seat at the table.....but it may not be Mr. Cleveland- and that is what has people up in arms. Get over yourselves.

Anonymous said...

People in our community spoke with their votes, Mr. Barnett won! The comment was made on HIS facebook and he apologized. I took the comment to be bad humor, I am so tired of racism as the underlying problem for everything in this District! We need a qualified Supt. candidate, but who in their right mind would come to FCPS? It is a hot mess, where is the accountability? The community should be up in arms about the State Audit not about what Mr. Barnett wrote on HIS facebook page! Stop the smoke screens and look at the real issues. Get over yourseves and lets move forward to hire a Qualified Superintendent!! I support our Board and Mr. Barnett!!

Anonymous said...

Meanwhile, back in the realm of the real problems of FCPS...We still have a despicable audit to address, achievement and equity gaps to close and a new (and hopefully competent) Superintendent to hire. This diversion tactic will quickly subside once the few naysayers have their fun and spread their sour grapes.

Cleveland lost and those who supported him took offense at Mr. Barnett's post to his PERSONAL FB page. WOW, that never happens in today's social media world! Get over it and move on. You are all participating in the same game that Ferguson and Barnett were wrongly accused of for months...losing focus and allowing adult issues to interfere with the task at hand. Funny how quickly one can fall prey to what they criticize.

Keep up the good work Doug and Amanda. You have an important meeting tonight and I know you will be focused on our kids. You have a legion of support!

Anonymous said...

Please do not consider Liza Holland to be a true representation of voice of parents in FCPS. Her ties to Tom run deep and she should not be considered unbiased or impartial. Consider the source!

Anonymous said...

Why must everything always be considered a racial issue? The last time I checked, Darby Turner, Bill Lear and Ken and Becky Sagan were as white as Roger's flag of surrender. They all supported Cleveland and Murray. Get over it people and move on.

Anonymous said...

Say whatever you want to say but the bottom line is that Barnett did this and must be held accountable for it. I would say this about any board member who did something like this. As an elected official he has a high standard to meet and he violated the trust of many people. Defend him as you may but the right thing to do at this point is for Barnett to step down for the good o the district.

Anonymous said...

I applaud Mr. Barnett for working so hard to retain his well-deserved seat on the board. As a minority parent of a child with special needs, I am relieved to know that Mr. Barnett will continue to fight for all children, as well as district staff.

It saddens me greatly that those who supported the other candidate are making a mountain out of a mole hill. Where was the outrage when the state auditor's report was released? A Facebook post was a top story in the Herald-Leader, really?

Fayette County families are lucky to have Mr. Barnett as a member of the Board of Education. His reputation and dedication helped secure his re-election.

Mr. Barnett, keep fighting the good fight. You have my support along with thousands of others who voted for you in our district.

Anonymous said...

Doug. I support you. You made a mistake. You apologized.

I will never forget your address to Fcea. You and Amanda are the only trustworthy board members.

I am pleased the bracktown crowd lost too. They have too much political clout in our district.

Anonymous said...

For clarification, Doug has a right to post anything to his FB page that he chooses however, as an elected official of the Board of Education he is held at a higher standard. He has a responsibility to act professionally and maturely. His campaign was run on the premise that it should be about kids and his behavior on FB, at Board Meetings, and when he visits central office demonstrates that his ego has nothing to do with kids. He exercised poor judgment and should be held accountable.

Furthermore, he is not the first and will not be the last to be feel attacked when running a campaign. It is par the course when you have an opponent that is equally passionate as you are about their platform. Taking digs after you have won is a sign of immaturity and lack of self control which is a recurring theme for Doug Barnett and Amanda Ferguson.

Whether you are a teacher, principal, administrator, or any other position at FCPS you are required to exercise good judgment, self-control, and maturity. All of the fighting amongst those who are charged with supporting the kids of our district is a distraction to what we truly supposed to be doing.

Unfortunately, Board Members has set the tone for taking sides, public fighting, humiliating each other, personal agendas, and political grand standing. Which others has decided to follow suit as well.

It is sad and an embarrassment to our district. As a central office employee, I live for the day that we get back to the important stuff such as focusing on our babies and supporting one another in doing it. The rest of the mess is just that.

Anonymous said...

He made a mistake and he apologized. I have not heard the superintendent or Mr. Jackson apologize for the mess and mistakes they have created in the district. Superintendent is leaving now it's time for Mr. Jackson and several others to go.
I've never seen a work place so messed up! Apparently you can do anything and get away with it or just a slap on the hand.
Sexual harassment, stealing, dui and much much more.

Anonymous said...

I'm confused...can someone explain to me why Mr. Jackson should be fired? Can someone explain what he stole? Last I checked, the audit stated there was no theft. Last I checked the journal entry had nothing to do with the budget shortfall. It seems again, people refuse to read the truth. Instead, they would much rather be spoon-fed lies and propaganda.

In addition, Mr. Jackson and Ms. Mullins BOTH were accused of being in conflict. The e-mails between Mr. Jackson and Ms. Mullins were sent to the Herald Leader and the news media outlets and it showed they were both equally to blame. However, the focus continue to be on Mr. Jackson. Why?

The audit should have been a FINANCIAL audit yet, the focus was on the people not the numbers. As a matter of fact, I know personally that the auditors were given a small training to understand how to read the financials so they could audit the financials of FCPS. Crazy huh? Yet, FCPS gets a bill totaling almost $100,000 from Adam and his lynch mob.

Since when should a person be fired because you dislike them while you use the blogs to "anonymously" push your agenda. We have to move away from the coward mentality and have honest conversations. We are not being paid to like each other. The focus should be on the children of the district.

Anonymous said...

Am I the only person on here who sees a racial subtext here. doug is now called bad, he is accused of not representing the black community. Not a word is said about roz Akins, the wife of a prominent black minister, or the illegal support she gave Dr. Cleveland. It is all about vilifying the white guy who made a stupid post on Facebook. Racial politics are the damndest in fayette county.

Anonymous said...

Oh how I long for the day when real issues matter.

If half the people were as outraged by the audit as have been about a random facebook post, the issues that plague the district would be well on the way of being fixed.

Rodney Jackson used district money to further his education. Hired his poker buddies. Took many a trip on the district dime. And he is seen in some circles as being "picked on." And did I mention that the same people who are calling for Mr. Barnett's head are the same people that see nothing wrong with Mr. Jackson's wonky accounting skills?

Anonymous said...

Doug Barnett is an embarrassment to FCPS! As well as his puppet master Amanda F! All a person has to do is watch board meetings on the FCPS website during the audit discussions and see how immature Doug is and how emotionally unstable Amanda is! And to think this is the behavior our community finds acceptable. The problem does not rest with Tom Shelton, Stu Siberman, or any of the string of superintendentsK that have quickly come and gone through the doors of our school system! The problem lies within the dysfunctional school board and our community for rewarding immaturity, self-service, and ignorance! Good luck finding a superintendent that can work with this board and system. Maybe Jesus Christ will apply!