I am the chief financial officer for the Elbert County School District. I have met and spoken with state Sen. Jim Whitehead on only three occasions: in front of the Elbert County Courthouse, in a meeting with him and Reps. Barry Fleming, and Mickey Channel at the Wilkes County Board of Education along with other finance officers; and at the Elbert County Board of Education at our workshop the following day. That meeting was also attended by state Sen. Ralph Hudgens and state Rep. Tom McCall.
I have been very impressed with what I have seen and heard from Whitehead. He has clearly demonstrated a great interest in our problems. He hasn't promised any pie-in-the-sky answers, and I expect he will make tough, commonsense decisions.
I was very much a part of the (recent) discussion along with our board chairman, board members, superintendent and elected officials and had made some casually joking remarks myself. Since I was sitting somewhat close to Whitehead, I along with a few others did hear his remarks and I took them to be clearly made in a joking manner. Actually, I sort of chuckled under my breath. I graduated from the University of Georgia with an MBA, my oldest daughter recently graduated from UGA, and my youngest daughter is in her second year. In the manner in which he made the statements, I took no offense at all.
I do not know the persons at the Athens Banner Herald, but our local reporter and editor have always been reasonable and fair in their reporting. I cannot comment about the reporting of this matter, but truly hope that this has not affected the way Whitehead will perceive Elbert County.
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