In response to the Oct. 8 letter by Anthony Sweat, comparing the qualifications of Lee Muns and Lawrence Hammond to hold the new position of School Board chairman, I would like to make my own comparisons.
First, Muns, if I understood him correctly at a recent forum, claims to have only a 12th-grade education. Hammond attended Harlem High School and graduated with honors from Evans High School. He then worked his way through school and received a bachelor of Business Administration from Augusta State University. He went back to school 10 years later and did his post-baccalaureate work in accounting, obtaining a 4.0 grade point average, and became a Certified Public Accountant.
Hammond's subsequent work experience in local government, accounting and real estate will be extremely advantageous when approving the $200 million budget, setting the tax millage rate and creating an adequate strategic growth plan for our school system.
As Sweat mentioned, Muns is representing Georgia small businesses on the Professional Standards Commission. Muns is a Beech Island, S.C., business owner representing Columbia County business interests in Atlanta! Personally, I think the governor should be taken to task for making such an appointment. I also think it is wrong for a high school graduate who works and pays his business taxes to another state to vote on the credentials of Georgia educators.
Sweat touts Muns' previous school board experience. It has been widely publicized that Muns had very little success implementing any of his ideas into policy. He was consistently on the losing end of 4-1 votes for his entire term, and spent much of that time publicly challenging the superintendent and other school board members under the guise of asking, in his own words, "tough questions." I do not believe this method of management displays the type of leadership I want to see in Columbia County.
The best trait I see Hammond bringing to the table is his ability to anticipate problems and find solutions, with the input of many others, before they make the front page of the newspaper. Hammond's style is to find a resolution, before a crisis develops, through clear-headed, common-sense dialogue. He does not need to intentionally embarrass and ridicule administrators, staff and teachers to bring him attention by asking "tough questions." Hammond, unlike his opponent, knows how to play well with others, and gets people to respond by being fair and demonstrating to them that it is about the success of everyone, and not just himself.
Finally, Hammond is the only candidate with a vested interest in Columbia County, as his children currently attend Columbia County schools and he has successful businesses based in Columbia County. His well-respected work with the Chamber of Commerce has allowed him to build the positive relationships required to get things done. Lawrence Hammond is the most qualified to further improve the educational opportunities for all our children.
Brett S. McGuire
Brett S. McGuire is campaign chairman for Lawrence Hammond.
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