Since WLOS began its series this week on school safety issues in Buncombe County Schools, a number of questions have come up about how the schools system permits work projects.
Monday, WLOS reporter Mike Mason had a story about how the BCS system was not obtaining required permits for routine work.
The Director of Permits and Inspections for Buncombe County, Matt Stone, said his initial review of documents brought to him by WLOS "shows permits were required for work done by school electricians but those permits were not pulled with his office."
Stone said he'll have to investigate them all.
(See the WLOS report below)
In a statement released by BCS on its website, officials note:
With so much work to be done at 42 schools across our 660-square mile county, and licensed professionals on staff, the school system has a “blanket permit” allowed by the Buncombe County Inspections Department, designed to cover minor repair work, maintenance work, and part replacement, and is only applicable to BCS Maintenance Department personnel. The blanket permit does not cover major projects, which are most often handled by an outside contractor—in those cases, the contractor is responsible for obtaining any necessary permits.
I can understand why such a "blanket permit" process would be efficient for the district. It would take a lot of time to pull every permit properly and it would cost a lot of money. I'm told the blanket permit applies to jobs under $5,000.
But School Board Member Lisa Baldwin called in to the show Tuesday and said a whistleblower told her that the blanket permit was only put in place by the County in March 2012 - after a complaint was made about the lack of permitting. That it was done to avoid any further investigation into the matter.
This all raises some troubling questions.
If the County issued the blanket permit to BCS, why would Stone not mention this when asked about the lack of permits? Why not offer that explanation to WLOS? Instead, Stone said he'd be opening investigations.
And if he did, in fact, mention this blanket permit, why would it not be included in the WLOS story?
Also, what other organizations have a blanket permit? Is it just the school district, or does the City of Asheville enjoy a similar exemption? Any other governments? Do any private businesses have this same benefit?
Is there any oversight to ensure the blanket permit is not being abused? For example, large projects could be divided into smaller parts in order to keep the total work under the $5,000 limit.
Part 3 is tonight at 6:00 pm.
Here is Part 1
Part 2 can be found here.
-March 3, 2014-
3:00 -- Pete makes an uncontested arrival in the studio to discuss the Russian uncontested arrival in Ukraine.
4:00 -- More discussion on Russia's uncontested arrival in Ukraine. Plus, NC Lt. Gov. Dan Forest joins us to talk about his visit today to Asheville. Also, an update on the Kelo v. New London eminent domain case.
5:00 -- More on Russia, Russian dressing, and the horrors of Pete's childhood breakfasts. Plus, homeless Jesus statue causes outrage in Davidson, NC.
March 4, 2014
3:00 -- The Commissioner of the Southern Conference, John Iamarino, joins us to talk about the SoCon basketball tournament in town this week. Plus, the NC Democratic Party Chairman says party leaders don't "believe in the goodness of their neighbors."
4:00 -- Asheville City Council can't seem to figure out how to crack down on graffiti.
5:00 -- John Marshall joins us to appraise YOUR record albums.
March 5, 2014
3:00 -- Another delay in the implementation of Obamacare - this one specifically designed to shield vulnerable Democrats in the upcoming midterm election.
4:00 -- Jake Frankel from the Mountain Xpress joins us to talk about the latest issue on news stands today. Plus, if you think the local graffiti debate is over the "line between art and vandalism" - you've already lost the debate.
5:00 -- Sen. Kay Hagan votes to confirm to the DOJ a lawyer who defended cop-killer Mumia Abu-Jamal. Plus, what's the difference between a hot tub and a jacuzzi?
March 6, 2014
3:00 -- Roger McCredie from the Tribune joins us to talk about the City of Asheville's attempt to take over the Pack Place building.
4:00 -- The Asheville City School Board adopts a lottery to pay 25% of teachers
5:00 -- A teachers union launches a website called "Cashing In On Kids" to attack private companies looking to educate kids. Plus, the Sicilian Space Program launches a connolo into space.
February 28, 2014
3:00 -- Russia invades Ukraine; Buncombe County Board of Elections asks to reduce its early voting hours for the primary; Kay Hagan goes to Seattle to raise money comes back a "middle-out minion"; NC NAACP President says vouchers aimed at getting poor black kids out of failing government schools is the same as 1950s white racists who tried to use vouchers to get white kids out of going to school with black kids.
4:00 -- The last time Federal agents devoted massive resources to investigating voter fraud was 1982 in Chicago, where 100,000 fraudulent votes were discovered (about 10% of the total cast).
5:00 -- The President interrupts Pete's show to express his disapproval of Russia's invasion of Ukraine. Plus, voter fraud and monogamous flies.