Monday, December 28, 2009

CMS' Gorman gets $250 grant for ...?

Posted By on Mon, Dec 28, 2009 at 3:43 PM

What the hell kinda nonsense is this? Superintendent Gorman is already one of the top-paid county officials, what does he need this grant for and how, exactly, did he earn it? Or, better question: How will he continue to earn it?

What does $250,000 worth of "personal growth and development" for Superintendent Peter Gorman look like?

That's the question left hanging after the C.D. Spangler Foundation awarded Gorman the personal grant shortly before the superintendent and his 19,000 employees dispersed for the holiday.

While grants for public education are common, private donations to individual public officials are rarer - and troubling, says Tom Alsbury, an associate professor of educational leadership and policy studies at N.C. State University.

"I believe funds from any private group for personal use by a superintendent represents a potential for a conflict of interest," Alsbury said in an e-mail. "No public official should be beholden to a private group."

Gorman did not respond directly to an e-mail last week asking about his plans for the grant, but said through spokeswoman LaTarzja Henry he has not figured out how to use it.

The Spangler foundation, which set no restrictions on Gorman's spending, intended it as an incentive for a successful leader who takes a lot of flak and doesn't have the kind of discretionary spending that corporate executives do, said Anna Nelson, a foundation member and daughter of C.D. Spangler.

Nelson said the foundation trusts Gorman to spend the money in ways that help him lead the district: "He could paint his office yellow if that would make him have a better day. It's for the benefit of the school system, but through his work."

She added that the foundation does not expect Gorman to share the money with other staffers: "It's really supposed to be for him. If he starts spreading it out, he has thousands of employees."

Read the rest of this Charlotte Observer article, by Ann Doss Helms, here.

Further reading: Schools have trouble tapping Stimulus funds (ProPublica.org)

From August '09:

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