Thursday, July 28, 2011

Mecklenburg commissioner defends CMS

It seems much of Charlotte is suffering from whiplash this week, courtesy of the CMS budget. All the months of talk of layoffs and budget cuts turned on Tuesday into a final 2011-12 spending plan that includes enough money to add nearly 500 new school-based positions.

Mecklenburg commissioner Jim Pendergraph, who voted against giving CMS the additional $26 million it eventually got from the county, said in today's paper that the county was "snookered." This morning, his fellow commissioner, Democrat Dumont Clarke, e-mailed me to take issue with that assessment.

"I, for one, don't feel snookered at all, and I don't think I'm alone in that belief," he wrote. "I recognize how difficult it was for CMS to predict what a new (Republican) majority in the State House and Senate bent on making significant cuts to the State budget would do."

He suggested an alternative headline: "Republican County Commissioners Seize Opportunity to Take a 'Cheap Shot' at CMS"

And in other news from the week, the budget news and other developments from Tuesday's meeting overshadowed the fact that Kaye McGarry took one more swing at trying to stop House Bill 546, the performance-pay legislation that has riled teachers this year. Motions to ask the legislature to drop the bill have already been voted down several times, other board members noted. Several were visibly annoyed by McGarry's move to put it on the agenda again. They voted to remove it from the meeting agenda. The vote was 6-3, with McGarry, Richard McElrath and Joyce Waddell in the minority.

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