Originally created 09/09/06

What discretion?



Richmond County school board members may or may not use the district's outrageous employee payroll advances against Superinten-dent Charles Larke in his ongoing termination process.

But common sense tells you something is way out of whack.

Larke maintains the policy of giving employees "emergency" advances on their paychecks was long-standing and no secret. There seems to be debate about that. But regardless, consider what kinds of things Larke was approving advances for: a down payment on a house, a family reunion and a retirement party.

And consider that he classifies such things as "emergencies."

That alone makes you question either his judgment or veracity.

Larke claims the board actually instructed him to give out the advances - which, when paid back over a year, as at least one was, really makes them loans, and not necessarily short-term ones. Again, that's being debated, with board members saying they knew nothing about it.

But Larke also oddly claims he was told to use "discretion" in doling out the advances. This is discretion? "Emergency" loans for parties, reunions and house purchases?

You can bet your local banker is going to be more careful than that!

Even if the practice isn't a violation of policy or law, its willy-nilly application under Larke brings his good sense into question.

"We don't have the right to give away what's not ours," says nonplussed board member Ken Echols.

We wish more Richmond County school officials felt that way - starting with the superintendent.