Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Tips to C. J. and Angie on how to save the taxpayers money on thank-you travel

(From July 31, 2013)
After reading the explosive investigative piece on page one of Sunday's Joplin Globe examining the money spent by Joplin R-8 officials on travel following the May 22, 2011, Joplin Tornado, a couple of questions popped into my mind.

-Does the Joplin Globe really believe that is the extent of the school officials' travel costs during the months following the tornado? (I have some swamp land I would love to sell to Globe editors.)

-For a school district that has made such a big deal over the past few years about the importance of technology, why was it necessary for Angie Besendorfer and company to make personal trips across the nation to view these schools? Can we not use internet, Skype, telephone and e-mail to get information in a district where technology is the be-all and end-all of education?

Reporter Emily Younker's story was picked up by Associated Press and has been published in newspapers and on internet sites across the nation under the headline "Joplin school officials travel to say 'thank you.'"

Certainly that is a sweet sentiment and "thank you" did need to be said to all of the people who have helped the Joplin R-8 School District and the people of Joplin. It was important to do so.

In that spirit, I have some suggestions for C. J. Huff, Angie Besendorfer, and other R-8 officials on how they could serve as better stewards of the taxpayers' money.

1. Learn to write thank-you notes. You do not have to travel all over the nation (and the world). And you don't even have to use your own time to write the notes. Lord knows, you have enough people on the district payroll who can write the notes for you. There are people stumbling all around the Taj Mahal at 32nd and Duquesne, who would love nothing better than to write thank-you notes. It would be a welcome break from fetching coffee, updating their Facebook pages, and coordinating smears and insinuations to use at termination hearings. There is no reason why you shouldn't be able to have thousands of thank-you cards sent and still not miss out on any meetings or speaking engagements.

2. Bake them a cake. They say (whoever they are) that the way to a man's heart is through his stomach. In the Globe article, it was indicated that it was important to thank these people in person so that more money would be forthcoming. It is also true, however, that the way to a man's cash is through his stomach (though I would certainly clean that cash before I spent it). Put the proper frosting on that sucker and lay it on thick. And if there are any people who know how to lay it on thick it is the people who are in charge of the Joplin R-8 School District.

3. If you just have to go in person, pack your lunch- It will save on costs. That way, C. J. Huff could enjoy traditional brown bag bologna and his beloved white chocolate mocha (that's why God created the thermos).

I am all in favor of courtesy, but if we all work together, we can thank people and save the taxpayer money that will certainly be needed when we buy IPads for all of the kindergarten students.
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