In an effort to present a unified front, the McDuffie County School Board appointed District One Representative and Vice-Chairman Georgia Hobbs to be its media spokesperson at the regular meeting last Thursday evening. The appointment was proposed by District 3 Representative Ella Mae Samuels, who said she read the suggestion in the Georgia School Boards Association's Guide to Effective Boardmanship.
"That way the media won't be getting seven different opinions," Rev. Samuels said during her proposal. "I think it's more professional."
There was much discussion among the seven board members on the subject during the morning planning session. District Five Representative Virginia Bradshaw wanted confirmation that the spokesperson would confer with all board members before speaking on their behalf.
The proposal required two votes. The first vote was to create the position of media spokesperson, and the second vote was which board member would hold the position. District Six Representative and Board Chairman Jerry Randolph and District Two Representative Paul Leroy opposed the first vote, which passed with approval from the remaining board members. Mrs. Hobbs was approved unanimously for the position on the second vote.
"This is not something I'm jumping up cheerleading to do," she said.
Mrs. Hobbs said she feels the position should fall on the chairman of the board, but Mr. Randolph declined the recommendation.
Mrs. Hobbs said the local need for a media spokesperson arose from a situation earlier this year when a television news reporter attended the regular monthly meeting and "everybody and his cousin had an opinion." Mrs. Hobbs said the board has not set any guidelines on what she should do.
"I guess when there's some kind of controversy that's out of the ordinary, then we will have one voice speaking for us," she said. "It wasn't something that (the chairman) wanted to do, so I am reluctantly doing it."
After Mrs. Hobbs received the vote to be the board spokesperson, Mr. Randolph said she was "the right person for the job."