School employees initially barred from town hall meeting
June 27, 2013 11:15 PM | 5542 views | 8 8 comments | 46 46 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Robert Trim, Kelly Marlow’s political consultant, stands at the door of the Holly Springs Train Depot Community Center on Wednesday before Marlow’s town hall meeting and tells Cherokee County School District teachers they could not enter the meeting because of policy. They were later allowed in after phoning their principals. <br> Staff/Joshua Sharpe
Robert Trim, Kelly Marlow’s political consultant, stands at the door of the Holly Springs Train Depot Community Center on Wednesday before Marlow’s town hall meeting and tells Cherokee County School District teachers they could not enter the meeting because of policy. They were later allowed in after phoning their principals.
Staff/Joshua Sharpe
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By Joshua Sharpe

jsharpe@cherokeetribune.com

HOLLY SPRINGS — Several Cherokee County teachers and school employees hoping to join the crowd Wednesday night at a town hall meeting conducted by School Board Member Kelly Marlow were almost turned away after they were greeted with a sign on the door stating they were not allowed inside.

The school employees were eventually let in the meeting after protesting, and Marlow’s political consultant, Robert Trim, said Thursday that she was so pleased with results she has scheduled another meeting July 8 specifically for teachers.

As Marlow was set Wednesday to kick off her “What’s Inside Dr. Frank’s Piggy Bank?” town hall meeting at 6:30 p.m., Trim stood in the doorway of the Holly Springs Train Depot explaining to school employees why they weren’t allowed inside.

Behind Trim, a sign was taped to the glass of the door which read in bold print: “If you work for CCSD ... you will not be able to attend this meeting.” The sign cited school board policy as the reason for denying entry to the employees.

Trim told the school employees hoping to go inside that Cherokee County School District policy prohibits Marlow and other board members from speaking with district employees.

“She’s not supposed to talk to any teachers, and she’s not to talk to any employees, because that seems to generate complaints,” Trim said. “Even though teachers talk to her and call her, that seems to be her fault.”

Valerie Wallace, an employee of Cherokee County schools, said she talked to the principal at her school and was told she was allowed to enter the meeting.

“But according to this man, we’re not (allowed), because it’s not the county’s meeting — it’s her meeting,” Wallace said motioning to Trim.

Because of the complaints filed against Marlow, Trim told the district employees that the school board member had to be careful of who she talked to.

“Unfortunately, she has to protect herself against (employees) who want to make malicious complaints,” he said. “I’m sorry. It is the administration’s rule that causes us to make this decision.”

In the wake the incident, Cherokee Superintendent of Schools Dr. Frank Petruzielo released a statement Thursday morning saying that no such policy exists.

“There is no Cherokee County School Board policy that prohibits Cherokee County School District employees from attending public meetings of elected boards, commissions, councils, etc.; or town hall meetings or other such meetings that are held by elected officials and advertised as being open to the public,” the statement read. “The Superintendent has issued no directives indicating that CCSD employees are prohibited from attending such meetings. CCSD employees, like all citizens, have the right to attend such meetings.”

But Trim said Thursday that he wasn’t referring to a specific policy when addressing the school employees Wednesday night.

“It’s not a particular policy that specifically excludes teachers or employees,” Trim said.

Instead, Trim said the decision was based on the “behavior of a couple of teachers,” who have filed complaints against Marlow.

After the barred employes protested Wednesday night, Marlow came out of the building and spoke with them directly. An agreement was made that they would be allowed in, but could not pose direct questions to Marlow.

“I’m just trying to protect you, as well as me,” Marlow said.

Trim said Thursday that the decision to bar the employees was not made by Marlow but recommended to her by a group of her advisers, which he heads up. In total, Trim said Marlow has about 40 people serving as advisers and consultants.

As a member of Marlow’s team, Trim said he is concerned that complaints could be raised against her after making contact with district employees, but “she thinks it went well,” and wants to hold another meeting with even more teachers and school employees.

Marlow’s teacher-specific town hall meeting will be at 6:30 p.m. July 8 at the Holly Springs Train Depot, Trim said.

Comments
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Jose Rodriguez
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July 07, 2013
Why does a school board member need 40 consultants to do her job? She has called people who oppose her in the past puppets. What a hypocrite!
KL Thompson
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June 30, 2013
I have never before seen such a bunch of unprofessional, immature and pathetic group as the people Ms. Marlow surrounds herself with. Either they are giving her terrible advice or she herself is that vengeful. Either way it is not just bad for the school board but horrible for the students and teachers that have come to expect excellence in their school system. How is one woman, with no children in CCSD, allowed to create such havoc on an award winning school district? Pathetic seems such an inadequate word when talking about Ms. Marlow and her “consultant” bully Mr. Trim. For the sake of Cherokee County this woman needs to be recalled. And all you people who voted for her should be the first ones in line asking for the recall! Hasn't she embarrassed you enough?
KL Thompson
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June 28, 2013
I have never before seen such a bunch of unprofessional, immature and pathetic group as the people Ms. Marlow surrounds herself with. Either they are giving her terrible advice or she herself is that vengeful. Either way it is not just bad for the school board but horrible for the students and teachers that have come to expect excellence in their school system. How is one woman, with no children in CCSD, allowed to create such havoc on an award winning school district? Pathetic seems such an inadequate word when talking about Ms. Marlow and her “consultant” bully Mr. Trim. For the sake of Cherokee County this woman needs to be recalled. And all you people who voted for her should be the first ones in line asking for the recall! Hasn't she embarrassed you enough?
Kay H
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June 28, 2013
" . . .Trim said that the decision to bar the employees was not made by Marlow but recommended to her by a group of advisors, which he heads up." Does he really believe that this absolves her of responsibility for the decision to post these signs and bar teachers? Leaders take responsibility for their decisions, based on advice they may receive; they do not blame it on their "advisers." Ms. Marlow allowed signs to be posted barring CCSD employees from the meeting and then tried to blame a policy that does not even exist Now she wants to have a "teacher-specific" meeting? Is she serious? I cannot imagine that a teacher in the Cherokee County School District would want to meet with someone who is openly trying to destroy our school system!
Acme Fence Company
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June 28, 2013
How many of these "advisors and consultants" actually have children in Cherokee County School District schools, the ones who would be most affected by her actions? She surrounds herself with other charter school parents and Tea Party members (many of whom no longer pay school property taxes), not actual parents of school children.
L.Dee
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June 28, 2013
You know this how? Please provide a list of Ms. Marlow's advisors, and indicate which ones don't pay school property taxes. Facts please, with supporting research.
Acme Fence Company
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June 28, 2013
Look them up on the county government website. Tax Payments on the left side. Search by name. Robert Trim? Nope. Carolyn Cosby? Nope. Conrad Quagliori? nope. Debbie Dooley? Nope. Those are just a few of the ones who have been vocal in their support this week in her struggling Facebook support group. If she would provide a list of names, that would be great, but don't look for it to happen. Just like those 7 pages of audit questions.
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