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Newspaper Archive of
The Hinton News
Hinton, West Virginia
September 18, 1990     The Hinton News
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September 18, 1990
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J l- 7 (Continuing the Hinton Daily News & The Weekend Leader) of the W. Va. Water Festival Volume 89 No. 21 Hinton, West Virginia Tuesday Sept. 18, 1990 25 Cents By Fred Long A year long controversy alleging ~ that School Superintendent Jim Tassos used his position to hire an unqualified principal at the Sum- mers County Career Center appar- ently has come to rest with the State's Grievance Board clearing Tassos of any wrong doing "Considering Mr. Tassos' knowl- edge that none of the candidates for the position met both certification requirements at the time he signed the application," Jerry A. Wright, Chief Hearing Examiner writes in the Grievance Board's ruling, "his acknowledgerheht thereon that Mr. Bandy was the most qualified appli- cant might be considered technically, if not substantially, correct." Harold Bandy, a former driver's ed teacher at the Hinton High School, was one of three that applied for the position following the resignation of former vocational director Gene Davis. In August 1989 Tassos rec- ommended Bandy for the job and a split vote of the school Board placed him at the Car~fer (:-~f~r?~ l~ad to a number ofcc~mptaints that were filed on the local and state level charging Tassos with illegal hiring and an investigation by a "fact-finding" team of the State Department of Education last No- vember. "This Board needs to sit down and work together and decide what the goals are instead of taking pot shots at one another," Tassos told Board members Thursday night prior to announcing the Grievance Board's ruling. "I'm not taking pot shots at anyone now. I've been criticized and $ ' "I ve taken a lot of hits," Tassos said, quoting from an ar- ticle that appeared in the May 26, 1990 issue of The Charleston Ga- zette, "Gene Davis, a retired director of a vocational school in Summers County, detailed in a letter to board members what he considers Tassos' unprecedented, illegal hiring prac- tices in selecting a new vocational director. "In the three-page letter, dated May 17 and sent to Marockie (State Superintendent of Schools) and the state board members, Davis said Tassos hired a man who did not meet state requirements, turning down two qualified applicants in doing so. =2VIy question and the question on the minds of many people in Sum- mers County is: Are you going to take action as permitted by the West Virginia Code, or will it continue to be business as usual in Summers County and West Virginia?" Taseos said he believed =what he was refering to was that my license should be taken away from me.~ Tassos, quoting from the same paper, said when Board member Dr. Bill Mathews was a~ked "how Tas- sos explained his recommendation of a Hinton High School drivers' education instructor with no voca- tional experience for a job that two others were more qualified tbr. 'The superintendent told us he was a nice fellow and a friend of his and a fine driver's ed teacher,' Mathews said. 'That's not qualifications. We had qualified people apply for the job, and he was not qualified. It's not right.' MathewscriticizedMarockie for not acting," said 'lassos while con- tinuing to read from the paper. "~he thing that bothers me is Marockie. He knows there are things that are goingon. I do not know what's going on, but I do know that when you subpoena people in the education department, teachers, administra- tors to go to Charleston, then where there's smoke, there's fire. "Something is going on. And if Marockie knows anything about it, he should do something," Tassos continued. "I've taken a big hit," Tassos told the Board, "and all I'm doing tonight is trying to put this thing to rest." Tassos had been accused of sign- ing a fraudulent permit enabling Bandy to be eligible for the position. According to the Grievance Board's ruling, Tassos said, Ms. Barbara Brazeau, Dept. of Education's (DOE) Unit Coordinator for Certification and a member of the Nov. "fact- finding" team who, at that time, examined the permit, "made no mention of any action on DOE's part to revoke the permit on the grounds it was improperly obtained. This is supportive of the conclusion that DOE considered any infractions of policy to be only minor." =I hope gentlemen," Tassos told the Board, "that we can put bicker- ing to rest. We need to put these things behind us. We need to quit trying, if we are belittling one an- other, we need to sit down together, we have problems in our school sys- tem and we need to sit down and correct those problems." Brud I-Lonaker addressed the Board concerning the need for a special meeting that cost the tax payers $400 last month. At that meeting the Board approved the resignation of Larry Deeds, the for- mer director of curriculum, 'who accepted a job as principal of a Chris- tian school in another county. The Board also appointed Mathews to a Committee of 55. "I was up here" for that special meeting, Honaker said, "and I don't think you accomplished one thing. I don't know how many special meet- ing you all have but I think it aught to be an import~t~t topic to cal~a'~ special meeting. If any more of your special meetings are like the last one I think you are irresponsible." Honaker said he believed the meeting could have been held as an "oversight or some mistake" but speaking as a tax payer "I think it was, like the paper said, ridiculous. I don't think that meeting was nec- essary at all. I think it was money wasted." Mathews, in a 12 minute address, explained the urgency for holding the Aug 30 special meeting. (Ed Note: See Mathews State- ment and Focus on Education elsewhere on this page.) Mathews said by "accepting Mr. Deeds' resignation," which at that meeting the Board voted on with an effective date of Sept. 28, "we saved $35,000" adding that no transfer of personnel took place. "Now," Mathews said, "you say why didn't you wait till the next regular Board meeting? This past spring our own Superintendent re- signed, there was a delay in the action on his resignation. Now there is nothing personal about this. Ac- By Larry Deeds Lonnie Mullins and the staff of As I look back upon the last six- WMTD radio for giving space and teen plus years of working in the time for many articles and stories Summers County school system, and I've submitted, trying to let folks upon all of the articles know what's going on in our schools. and stories I submitted to the vari- Keep reporting the news as it hap- ous media, I know that I have never pens, but please accentuate and Used the "Focus~n Education~ for emphasize the student-related personal comments. However, as I events and positive things that go on leave the system to go on to a new in our schools every day. job, I would like to take this time to I must also thank the principals idojustthat, toma]~epersona]reflec- and teachers who work in the education in Sum- trenches and who have also been liners County. supportive of the programs and First, forthemanywhohaveasked thingswe'vetriedtodointheschools. why I am leaving, there are probably Often I was responsible for increas- a hundred or more reasons I could ing their workload, but they always for it and thank them from the bot- tom of my heart. I would ask that you, the public, get behind them and the increasingly difficult job they do and give them your fullest support. I also must thank many of the board members that I was privi- leged to work under. These men and women also have had, at times, thankless jobs, but many of them have been most supportive and I appreciate it. And to you the parents, students, and other interested citizens, thank you too. Sometimes we did not agree, but we were able to disagree agreea- bly and I appreciate your coopera- list. However, let it be sufficient for were responsive to the needs of the tion. ~ me to say that I feel education is a kids. And of course the service per- calling and profession and my new ~deavor is this plus a ministry. I :~eel that the God I serve has called sonnel of the county are tops too, and I appreciate all your work. Special thanks goes to the county administration who have worked with me for many years and who do more than most folks realize they do. One of the major regrets that I have upon leaving is that some of you will be called on to increase your already strenuous workloads. But I'll help you in any way I can. I leave some dear friends in the Board Office, having worked with them for over ten years. They are often embattled and usually little appreciated, but you'll find no more dedicated or knowledgable folks in any school system in West Virginia. They have stuck with me through good times and bad, and I love them What is the current status of education in Summers County? We usually think the "grass is greener on the other side," but it isn't. Edu- cation in Summers County is com- mendable. Certainly it isn't perfect, but all educators know.there is a continual striving to do better. And most of our school personnel are dedicated fully to the task at hand. Funding will continue to be a prob- lem, and everyone needs to realize that no school system can continue to spend indiscriminately; the well is running dry. We must all find ways to improve our instruction without asking for more money. Creative instruction will be a must in the future, and the future of edu- cation is now. Continued on page 10 !me into this new area of responsibil- ity and therefore I can do nothing se. I would be terribly remiss ifI did not stop to sincerely thank all of the :good folks who have given me tre- :mendous support through these ;years, support persona]}y and sup- : port for the things I've tried to do for ;education in our county. My hope is "that one day we will be able to look 'back and see that maybe I did leave :a positive mark on education to make -it a little better for our boys and gdrls. That has always been my goal. I would like to thank Fred Long " ~and the staff of Hinton News and @ cepting his resignation would per- mit us to negotiate salaries which we did not do when Mr. Tassos was given a four year contract." Mathews said Tassos has an annual salary of $53,400 while the superintendent of schools in Monroe County is paid $46,000. "This is not what I consider good business proce- dure. I don't know whether $7,000 is a lot of money but it's a darn sight more than $400." Dillon said the Board could meet 52 times a year and he called the special meeting "without asking any of the other board members." He said the savings by approving the resignation justified the $400 ex- pense. =I don't think it was out of line, so to speak, because it was going to be another two weeks before we meet again in a regular session." He said he didn't know if the resig- nation could have come before the Board at the last regular meeting but if it had he would have acted on it at that meeting. "As President of the Board I tblt like it was impera- tive that we act on that resigruation." Tassos had said at the special meeting that he was going to place the matter on the agenda tbr this meeting "I think," Tassos said, "people thought maybe Larry Deeds would withdraw his resignation. Maybe that was the reason we acted so quickly on it. I knew at the time that Mr. Deeds would not withdraw his resignation; however, I think if Mr. Deeds wanted to come back tomorrow he could legally come back to his position because, as with my resignation, the Board had no letter to act on." Tassos said his salary is Board poll cy. "My salary has been attacked, I don't know, every since I became Su peri n tenden t my salary has been attacked, but no one was supportive when my salary was the lowest in the state. Now if we are concerned with the salary scale and we want to change it and we are paying too Continued on page 10 BRICK WORK AT THE INTERSECTION OF 2rid and Temple St. should be completed before the end of the week, Paul Evanosky of Mountain Masonry said today. Evanosky, second from the left, with three helpers and the City work crew have been removing the bricks, cleaning and replacing them in order to smooth out the section of the street and bringing the brick area up to the higher asphalt road way. Evanosky said the in- tersection has over 12,000 street brick that were made by the Peebles Block Co. of Portsmouth, Ohio, in 1908, according to a label on the bricks. "Hinton must have used over a billion bricks when they laid the street here back then." As far as the present work goes, Paul said, "it is a hard and dirty job." The project is another attempt by the City to improve the aesthetics of Hinton. Ira person had not visited Hinton for the past several years they would see a metamorphosis that some in Hinton do not appreciate. The Mayor and City Council deserve to be lauded for their continuing efforts to provide the citizens of Hinton with a clean, safe and attractive city for them to live and work in. Sometimes it is difficult for the news media and others to see the big picture of what a liberating body such as this does. The big picture with the Summers County Board of Education is the budget. The budget which we havebeen told since March, time and time again, is in a deficiate posture. The big picture is reform- change. Reform is being talked about everywhere. It is time to attempt different proceedures. Boards of Educations (everywhere) are trying to move their system ahead. The big picture is that it is time for creative leadership, not just rubber stamp- ing what ever comes across the desk or table. The big picture is trying to prevent costlylaw suits. If you check you will find we have had a lot of money spent on law suits. These law suits take money from our class- rooms. We have a $96,000 payback staring us in the face. $96,000 that makes that $400 look pretty small. First the Summers County school budget. We need to cut cost but we need to cut costin a manner that will implicate the students in the least. In other words we've got to cut cost; not from the teachers, we have got to cut cost where we can find places to cut cost. The recent special meeting did cost the tax payers $400. But by accepting Mr. Deeds' resignation we saved $35,000. That's a big differ- ence. You have one less administra- tor arid we keep hearing about House Bill 101 re.quires us to get rid of central personnel. Wejust did. That was the purpose of the meeting and if you don't think saving $35,000 can help the people of Summers County then that is something else. The way we did that we didn't transfer anyone. No one likes to transfer people. Now you say why didn't you wait till the next regular Board meeting? I'll tell you why. Because people have been known to change their mind. This past spring our own Superintendent resigned, there was a delay in the action on his resignation. Now there is nothing persona] about this. Accepting his resignation would permit us to nego. tiate salaries which we did no~ do when Mr. Tassos was given a four year contrac:. Negotiation may have gotten us a better deal. I'm not saying he doesn't deserve it, I'm saying we have to look at the over all picture. Monroe County is paying $46,000 a year for a superintendent. Do you know what kind of degree he has? If you go over to see the super- intendent of schools in Monore County you better be ready to say doctor because that is what he hol ds. We are paying $53,400 for a masters plus 30. This is not what I consider good business procedure. I don't know whether $ 7,000 i s a lot ofm one), but it's a darn sight more than $400. I startedbusiness from scratch 35 years ago. I could not have stayed in business if I had not watched cost and expenses. I have had to develop cost containing procedu/'es. This Board needs to do the very same thing. Business, industry and gov- ernment are combining jobs into one position in order get more out of their budget dollars. Why can't we adopt creative ways to get more use out of the money we do have? We don't have a dally newspaper. The reason- cut costs. Let's slow down the grievance. We have hearing after hearing and most of them are not productive. We need to concentrate on other concerns. The dropout rate and student achievement, for ex- ample. Students leaving the county going to other schools. Let's talk a little bit about belit- tling. It's not belittling when your boss comes to you and you're not doing a good job and says you are going to have to do a little better here. That's not belittling. It's not belittling for him to come to you and say 'where this wrench? I want to find it.' That's seeking information. To seek information about North Central req uirements, I don't think is belittling. I don't understand why we have to see what we can get away with instead of trying to conform with the rules. You know, if I got sent to prison and killed a man. I say, 'well people are killing other people everyday.' Does that ju~fy my crime? I don't think so. It always cost money to get out of them ations when you have if you would do it right in place. The present Continued on page IO