Bibb School Board Candidates Speak About Accountability

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Updated: Wed, 23 Apr 2014 09:51:41 EST

Four candidates vying for two seats on the Bibb County Board of Education made their pitch to voters during the League of Women Voters candidate forum at Mulberry United Methodist Church Tuesday.

Rev. James Bumpus is running against Darly Morton for the Post 7 seat, while the Post 8 candidates include Darren Latch and incumbent Dr. Wanda West.

"My commitment to this community has been demonstrated through my leadership and the SPLOST passing back in 2009," said Bumpus.

"I know how the system works, I also know what the board is there to do which is to supervise the superintendent, and make sure that we spend our money wisely," said Morton.

"I've been at the forefront of making sure things that should happen do happen, and if they don't we actually get the information out there publicly," Latch said.

"My leadership and experience and expertise has contributed greatly to allowing us to move forward," said West.

Bumpus is a former school board member who was recently appointed to head the city's Small Business Affairs Office, while Morton says he's been practicing law in Macon for 25 years.

West has served on the board for more than three years and is the former Superintendent of Twiggs County Schools. Her opponent, Darren Latch is an Australian born insurance salesman, but says he has been active with the school board bringing up issues with school system's finances with a watchdog group.

All four are well aware of the recent school system audit finding more than $50 million of misspent tax money, and have a plan to make sure it doesn't happen again.

"There was a total disconnect between internal and external controls, and I am encouraging and have encouraged the board to begin to move forward by looking closer at policies, processes and procedures," said West.

"Work with the board members to make sure that accountability is key, ethics and standards is key on the board, ethics enforcement as well," Latch said.

"You gotta tell the superintendent 'no' when it's the right thing to do, the reason we have policies in place is to make sure things are done the right way, and if they're not you just go to say no," Morton said.

"I'm a person of financial integrity and one who believes in financial accountability," Bumpus said.

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