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R.L. Day
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Beef on consultant seems a bit stingy

Traffic engineering consultant Walter Kulash came to Macon by request to do exactly that - to consult with the Road Improvement Committee and the road program's manager, Moreland Altobelli. For rendering that service Kulash received $53,000 and - most recently - a passel of criticism leading to investigations of him in both Georgia and Florida.

For rendering his advice on how to make road expansion in Bibb County more palatable to its critics, Kulash suddenly appears No. 1 on the engineering community's most unwanted list.

As we understand it the Florida Board of Professional Engineers is investigating Kulash to determine if he has engaged in conflicts of interest in Florida (where there has never been a complaint against him), presumably because the head of an engineering firm here decided the consultant was guilty of a conflict of interest in Georgia. That came of Kulash's testifying at a court hearing for CAUTION Macon, a non-profit group trying to stop the widening of Houston Road. Kulash was paid for his trouble by CAUTION.

A similar engineering board in Georgia is on Kulash's case for being involved in a Georgia engineering matter without having a Georgia license. The question is whether Kulash's consulting work actually constitutes the practice of engineering.

It's true that Kulash was in the employ of the other side when he testified for CAUTION Macon, and perhaps that's technically a conflict under engineering rules. But Kulash was giving his honest opinion. There's no reason to believe he would have testified otherwise if he'd been put on the stand by Moreland Altobelli or the Road Improvement Committee. Frankness is not generally held to be unethical or unprofessional.

As for the license, it would seem that if Kulash's work in Georgia (he holds a Florida license) required one, Moreland Altobelli, which hired him, would not only have advised him of that fact but also have helped him obtain whatever document he needed.

We don't know whether or not Kulash handled himself with impeccable professionalism. But at this point it seems the man's reputation is being unnecessarily sullied for insignificant reasons.

R. L. Day/For the editorial board


Barnes ties education hopes to bold initiatives

When editors met recently with legislators, a few lawmakers complained - probably with justification - that Gov. Roy Barnes is on a power trip. If true, this question presents itself: Does it matter?

Barnes yanked away the last remaining curtain from in front of his education reform package before a joint session of the House and Senate on Thursday. His proposals, taken together with those aspects he unveiled in his budget message, are nothing if not extraordinarily bold. They are so bold, in fact, that he asked his fellow politicians to join him a sort of "Profiles in Courage" stand on the most controversial initiatives.

Unfortunately, that particular book probably has not been embraced by a majority of the General Assembly. For example, he asked them to support abolishing teacher tenure. This is a system intended to protect courageous teachers from undue political influence if they happen to cover controversial material in their classrooms.

It is also covers a lot of complete and total incompetence. Many are the parents in central Georgia who felt they had to take their children out of the public system because they were powerless to affect the quality of teaching.

On that note, Barnes has proposed the creation of seven-member school councils, to include two parents, two business persons and two teachers. The councils would have real authority over curriculum, activities, budgetary matters and codes of dress and conduct. They would name a new principal when a vacancy occurred from a list of three submitted by the superintendent.

These two proposals alone represent a walk through a political mine field. The education bureaucracy, as Barnes called it, is politically active and powerful. Its legions will not like either idea.

This, coupled with the creation of a new bureaucracy to carry out the mandates of accountability, may make for a very interesting legislative session.

Ron Woodgeard/For the editorial board

Letters to the editors

Make them say, 'WOW!" -- Charles Richardson

Bigotry comes in many forms -- Leonard Pitts

An IRA everyone should join -- R.L.Day

Late votes break 'Person' tie -- Ed Corson

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Cecil Bentley
Ron Woodgeard
R.L. Day
Ed Corson
Charles E. Richardson

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