0

Top 3 candidates named for rec director job

CONYERS — The top three candidates for the vacant position of director of Recreation and Maintenance have been named, and the Board of Commissioners is expected to fill the position at its April 23 meeting.

The position has been vacant since the retirement of former director David Smith in January.

Information on how many candidates applied for the job or what the salary range would be was not immediately available from Rockdale County on Monday.

Jackie Lunsford, who has worked for Rockdale County for more than 20 years and serves as deputy director of Recreation and Maintenance, is one of the finalists. Other finalists are Marilyn Boyd Drew, former executive director of DeKalb County Parks and Recreation, and Corliss Randall Davenport, program manager of the Office of Recreation for the city of Atlanta.

Drew works as a flight attendant for Pinnacle Airlines Corp. in Memphis, Tenn., and as a recreation and park consultant. She served as director of DeKalb Parks and Recreation from March 2002 until July 2009 when she was dismissed after her department failed to enroll 67 child swimmers in a state swim meet.

According to a report by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Drew was also named in a 2004 discrimination lawsuit against DeKalb County that alleged racial discrimination against white managers. A jury found that Drew, former DeKalb CEO Vernon Jones and Jones’ former executive assistant were liable. Drew was found liable on a “hostile work environment” allegation and was ordered to pay $55,500 in damages, according to the AJC report.

While serving as director of DeKalb Parks and Recreation, Drew oversaw a budget of more than $20 million and developed new programs and added and upgraded facilities, according to her resume. Prior to serving as director of the department, Drew served as deputy director for both the DeKalb department and the Memphis Park Commission.

Drew holds a master’s degree in recreation and park administration from Southern University in Baton Rouge, La., and a bachelor’s degree in health and physical education from LeMoyne-Owen College in Memphis.

Davenport became program manager for recreation for the city of Atlanta in March 2011. Prior to that she served as special projects manager for Atlanta and was involved in planning for the redevelopment of Fort McPherson. She has also served as chief of staff for the Atlanta City Council, District 11, and as volunteer for the political campaigns of City Council member Beverly Jones, DeKalb CEO Burrell Ellis, State Rep. Billy Mitchell and Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed.

Davenport was assistant principal and principal of P.L. Dunbar Elementary School in Atlanta from 2002 until 2007. In a July 2011 article, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported that Davenport was one of 13 Atlanta Public Schools principals named in the state’s report on school system cheating who had left the district before the report was released. She was not among the 35 indicted in the cheating scandal.

Davenport holds a bachelor’s degree in early childhood education from Spelman College, a master’s degree in elementary curriculum from Clark Atlanta University and education specialist degree in K-6 curriculum from Troy State University. She also earned leadership certification in administration and supervision from the University of West Georgia.

Lunsford began her employment with Rockdale County in 1992 as center manager for Rockdale Senior Services, a position she held until 2003 when she was named director of Rockdale Senior Services. She was named deputy director of Recreation and Maintenance in February 2009.

As deputy director, Lunsford lists planning, directing and monitoring the overall operation of Rockdale County recreation programs, parks, facilities and employees among her responsibilities.

Lunsford holds a bachelor’s degree in social science from Mount St. Mary’s College in Emmitsburg, Md. and completed a sales and marketing program at Gwinnett Tech and a music theory program at the Sienna Institute of Music in Sienna, Italy.

Comments

heresyafacts 1 year, 7 months ago

"Information on how many candidates applied for the job or what the salary range would be was not immediately available from Rockdale County Monday." Per the usual. They do love to keep things on the down low.

0

Elmo 1 year, 7 months ago

There's no need to wait, "Drew" will get the job.

1

ClaytonBigsby 1 year, 7 months ago

You're very likely correct. It certainly won't be the person who has served the county the longest--she has no "ITP cred" and is likely too melanin deficient. A pity.

0

ladydawg 1 year, 7 months ago

Whenever I read stories like this with people's credentials, I think I should run for office. I'm with Elmo and see a win for Drew. I mean she is currently working as a flight attendant so this is a such a natural fit. Right.

1

82011 1 year, 7 months ago

Taxpayer Alert! If Marilyn Boyd Drew gets selected all you can say is bad leaders make bad decisions. Google her name, Marilyn Boyd Drew and read the Atlanta Journal articles on her and the alleged misconduct. She lost her lawsuit but appealed it and it hasn't been heard. How could someone think about putting someone this controversial in? It makes you wonder what the rest of the pool of candidates looked like if this person made the shortlist.

0

emetib66 1 year, 7 months ago

If you have narrowed the list of candidates down to 3 and 2 of those have questionable backgrounds, if not criminal backgrounds. What did the list look like before you started narrowing? Go figure. You're right Drew's in for sure.

0

conyersgirl 1 year, 7 months ago

I agree with 82011 and was going to say the same thing about googling their names. Drew has an ongoing lawsuit for reverse discrimination in Dekalb Co. But she will probably get the position because Oden is just like Vernon Jones. Look at his history, how many white directors or dept heads are gone now and they are all replaced with black ones. Remember when he & Oz were first elected they reorganized the county departments and "laid off" people under the guise of bad ecomony but now have hired back or created new positions. Poor Jackie, she should get it. All I can say, Jackie watch your back or you could be forced out just like the people in Dekalb were.

1

SandraC 1 year, 7 months ago

my prediction is 2-1 vote for Drew. If her history causes too much of a stir then they will act like they are compromising, relent and vote for Davenport. VanNess will vote for the Lunsford who is clearly most qualified and loyal to the county, but will lose. I would be interested in who the human resources people are for the county that make these decisions that consider Drew and Davenport among the top 3 finalist.

1

Elmo 1 year, 7 months ago

Like everything else in "nouveau Rockdale", the fix is in. But, the fix was also in, in Detroit, and other cities where qualifications have been replaced by pigmentation.

Liberals used to rail about the "good ol' boy" system, well...it's alive and well in "Rockridge". It's a continuation of the scam to acquire power by urging people to move in, establish a majority, and then keep certain people in "power" to rape and pillage the treasury. It's going on in Washington, as well as many other places.

Once they are firmly ensconced in power, no others will be able to oust them, so someone moves on to the next fertile city, and plays the same scam.

Meanwhile, actual qualifications can't been seen.

The old saying, "If you really want to know a person's character, just put them in charge of something and their true self will emerge." certainly applies.

It's all about the power, the money, and the noteriety. It's not about the people, or the county. A brick wall has been built in Rockdale and no one can topple it...until it falls under its own weight. Then, someone will finally come in an clean up the mess.

0

MsKito 1 year, 7 months ago

Davenport was not one of the FIRST group to be indicted, but more indictments are coming and could include her. This is an embarassment. Of the three finalists, one was found guilty in a discrimination lawsuit and the other had to quit because of a school cheating scandal -- I find it really hard to believe that in this market this is the BEST of the resumes received. But like the others here, I believe the fix is in, and that Oden and Nesbitt will go with a black candidate, most likely the one from Atlanta. I remember Oden doesn't read resumes: when he hired Erica Fatima, it was because he 'got a vibe' from her that he liked, not because she was qualified. When he had Roselyn Miller promoted to Finance Director, she did not fit the qualifications; they had to remove the college degree requirement so she could be put in place. So no doubt Davenport will be his choice this time around, too.

1

Kipp 1 year, 7 months ago

Every time I hear something like "reverse racism" or "reverse discrimination", I get sick to my stomach. Hate is hate, indifference is indifference, and prejudice is prejudice. Let’s look at the definitions of ‘reverse’ for a moment. Reverse, 1. Opposite or contrary in position, direction, order or character; 2. with the back or rear of an object facing towards the observer; 3. pertaining to or producing movement in a mechanism opposite to ordinary running conditions; 4. acting in a manner contrary to usual; and 5. noting or pertaining to an image—like seen in a mirror; backward. Now, let’s look at ‘racism’ and ‘discrimination’. Racism is: a belief that inherent differences among races determine cultural or individual achievement, usually involving the idea that one’s race is superior to another OR simply, the hatred or intolerance of one race towards another. Discrimination is: an act or instance of creating a distinction in difference amongst things. Now, being the red blooded AMERICAN that I am (seeing as I am NEVER willing to identify with any one race) I happen to speak and write in English fluently, and quite eloquently. When I see things like “reverse racism” which should translate to “NOT believing any race is any superior than another”, and “reverse discrimination”, which should be directly defined as “NOT creating a notable distinction between any things”, but neither is being used to say what they TRULY mean, I cannot tolerate it. There is no way I am willing to allow things like that to be said when the definition of ‘racism’ has NEVER been definitively “Whites discriminating towards Blacks”. There are so many races out there in the world with issues amongst them so, until we are indeed in the midst of “reverse racism” and “reverse discrimination”, how about we save those phrases for when we’re actually working towards mending World relations and not just spouting nonsensical, anger-driven foolishness? Is that too much to ask?

0

1ayk 1 year, 7 months ago

Thank you for the lesson. But I will bet one of the two blacks will get the position.

0

Kipp 1 year, 7 months ago

Honestly, I couldn't give a dag gon what race the person is. So long as they are the right person for the job.

0

Kipp 1 year, 7 months ago

If anything, this article in a ROCKDALE publication appears to be biased and in favor of ROCKDALE employee Jackie Lunsford. To break through that, I want to point out that Lunsford’s only qualifications seem to stem from the last four years of employment. Even if someone believes Oden is like Vernon Jones—if anyone actually cares to believe that Jones “blackwashed” the City—Davenport isn’t the most likely choice because she’s Black. Seeing as the article was picking apart resumes, and casting doubt on parts, it should have been mentioned somewhere that Davenport is a Certified Park and Recreation Professional (CPRP), and that’s not just something the City declares. A CPRP is evaluated extensively by the National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA). Davenport’s resume can be viewed online at corlissdavenport.com for anyone who wants to see it for themselves. I suggested the other two are tracked down as well. Before I part, I would also like to say that Davenport was gone years before the investigation. I may not know exactly what happened years ago any more than the next person, and certainly not any more than the investigators do now—if they know anything TRUTHFUL at all—but I would like to say that being “named” in something doesn’t declare guilt. The thing is that people will point fingers in any given direction when they’re in trouble themselves. We all know this. Come on. If you weren’t there, you don’t know anything, so give it a rest.

0

Sundance 1 year, 7 months ago

Thank you to Alice Queen for getting this information. But, I would like for the reporting of this paper to go a little further if it can be justified. Due to the apparent incompetence or lack of concern of some of the board members, this county is in trouble and the reporters are our watchdogs. Ms Queen, could you please update this article with quotes from the commissioners and print their responses? I would like to hear them say why their final candidates have these bad track records. Do they just want to make us mad by making bad choices on purpose? There are many great administrators/managers that would be trustworthy, honest, and do a great job. I am praying right now that something happens to fix this committee.

0

Elmo 1 year, 7 months ago

Kitt, so long as the likes of Jesse Hackson, Al Sharpton and the Black Caucus keep preaching the hate, nothing will change. They've made a cottage industry out of race-baiting for their own personal gain. And, to keep the power and the money flowing they need a throng of disciples.

When people are convinced at an early age that some segment of society "hates" solely based on color, of course there there will be anger and resentment. They are convinced that "the man" is holding them back in life, of which nothing could be further from the truth.

These "leaders" convince them that if they don't get everything they want in life, it's solely due to race. They've juxtaposed "civil rights" to be "endless rights".

Based on that brainwashing they fail to see that they get the goodies because of one thing...their vote to keep democrats in power. But, the entitlements will dry up, eventually. Leaving them at the mercy of their skills and education to make their way.

But Jesse and his gang will continue to preach that they deserve the moon and the stars because their great-great grandparents being slaves. There is not a race on earth that did not, at one time, have slaves in their ancestry, but looking backwards only means you can't see the future.

0

BOCWatch 1 year, 7 months ago

Many here had hit on the topic of the HR department; there is a great deal of truth in these statements. However you also have to look at this history of the HR department in order to understand this:

When Oden/Nesbitt first showed up Author Reese was the HR Director, I thought very highly of Mr. Reese and the time and effort he put into the county. Then there was a new HR Deputy Director hired; his first name escapes me but his last name was Cory. Mr. Cory was under indictment from the City of Smyrna, he maybe lasted two months before he was removed. You must also remember who the Chief of Staff was during this time; none other than our esteemed Tax Commissioner RJ Hadley. When Cory was hired with an outstanding criminal case Oden/Hadley needed a scapegoat...there went Author Reese. Gone but not forgotten.

After this Oden actually did a smart thing; he hired a HR consultant to ring out the candidates that would replace Author Reese; the only down side to this was that RJ Hadley was overseeing the process. There were applications that never made it to the hiring committee. The end result was the hiring of Jeff Pogue; Mr. Pogue was another qualified candidate; the HR consulting firm did their due diligence in this selection process. The only problem with Mr. Pogue was he wouldn't bow to Oden demands if it was going to put him on the hot seat. In other words Mr. Pogue was focused on doing the proper thing when it came to his job.

After a little over a year Mr. Pogue parted ways with the county. This started the search process over; the end result here was Daryl Bowie. Mr. Bowie has proven himself to be what neither Author Reese or Jeff Pogue would be for Oden...act solely on the word of Richard. This has been proven on countless occasions; one of the largest was the Resurgens Risk Management contract. This was a contract that caused the county to pay two benefits consultants to do the same work. This is a contract that the county employees are suffering with even today. So as they say what comes around goes around.

Certainly the fault lays on HR Director Daryl Bowie's shoulders for these appointments; however it is my firm belief that he is acting on orders from Oden himself. I've never felt Bowie was much of an HR Director, however Oden or Pridgion did not want someone that would think for themselves.

I have all of the links about these candidates listed on BOCWatch.org including the AJC article about the EEOC suite agains Jones/Drew. Reading through that article it would be very easy to replace Vernon Jone's name with Richard Oden's and Becky Kelly's name with Jackie Lunsford and you could have the next article in the Citizen about this vote. In the end there is poetic justice; Becky Kelly moved on to become the State Parks Director.

http://bocwatch.org/viewtopic.php?f=5&t=1026

1

ladydawg 1 year, 7 months ago

So 72 resumes were submitted for consideration and 2 of the three final candidates have rather checkered pasts. Makes one wonder about the caliber of the other 69 applicants...

1

one2loveall 1 year, 7 months ago

Being one of Davenport's students and being under her leadership for about 3 years, I was taught everything I know. I have never seen or heard anything about cheating. Davenport made sure that all knew the information that was being taught. She even had the parents involved in the students learning. She wasn't indicted, because she wasn't involved in the cheating scandal. She probably left the school system in 2006 due to the pressures to cheat 3 years BEFORE the investigation. She really was against cheating and held the students, parents, and other teachers accountable. If you ask me, I'd say that she was very fair and firm to all. Her background and credentials would make her the best candidate for the job!!. Who better else to have in this position than Corliss Davenport?

0

peachesawhite 1 year, 7 months ago

Mrs Davenport has been unjustly accused because she don't bow down to common interest or subscribe to status quo, and this is the case of Mrs. Davenport. She clearly left on her own 3 years before the cheating scandal in 2009. She clearly deserves to be one of the top 3 candidates for the job.

0

ladydawg 1 year, 7 months ago

I appreciate the cheerleading effort lead by One and Peaches ( give me a C, give me an O...) , but I think it is possible to find a candidate without suspicious or controversial situations associated with their name. We should hold those vying for a position of authority to a higher standard and expect exemplary character, but our culture as whole does not. Note, I did not say those individuals generally win, but it is possible. Of course, I clearly disagree with the two commenters above.

0

heresyafacts 1 year, 7 months ago

Leaving in 2009 does not prove Davenport innocence. The APS had a long-standing and system-wide culture of cheating.

To quote the New York Times, "[T]the investigation shows that cheating on the state-mandated Criterion-Referenced Competency Test began as early as 2001, and that “clear and significant” warnings were raised as early as December 2005...In 2008, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution began aggressive reporting that questioned the statistical probability of some test scores and eventually led to a separate state investigation of 2009 tests that showed an unusually high number of erasures."

Given that Hall took over APS in 1999, and evidence for cheating can be found as early as 2001, I find it unlikely that Davenport was ignorant of what was going on around her, which makes her at the very least complicit, and at worst, an active participant.

2

heresyafacts 1 year, 7 months ago

And, according the the president of the Atlanta Federation of Teachers, Verdaillia Turner, complaints were being made about Corliss Randall Davenport's involvement in both cheating on CRCT and the climate of intimidation at Dunbar Elementary well before the state investigation.

2

Kipp 1 year, 7 months ago

Mmm… I believe you spelled your posting name incorrectly. I am almost entirely sure you were gunning for “HearsayFacts". A little contradictory, sure, but the thing is—as entitled to your opinion as you are—some of your “facts” are inaccurate and it is, of course, your opinion after all. Aside from that, you are quite amusing and seem brilliant, so I respect your opinion… no matter how improperly informed it is.

0

1ayk 1 year, 7 months ago

Again, urban liberal politics rises! And, you voted for it. Enjoy.

0

1ayk 1 year, 7 months ago

And there are those of you who deny Rockdale is not just an extension of DeKalb and the city of Atlanta. Just look how well they are doing.

0

Sundance 1 year, 7 months ago

"In 2005, Turner said, one of her members came to the union with concerns about cheating that was happening at Dunbar Elementary School. The GBI report named Dunbar as a site where cheating on the state standards test, the CRCT."

This quote is from an article at this website:

http://colorlines.com/archives/2011/07/atlanta_schools_scandal.html

0

Sundance 1 year, 7 months ago

I don't think these commisioners know how bad this hurts to see them make decisions like this. It's embarrassing just to have finalists like this. I know they have not even chosen but the fact that they show such low esteem for us kills me. The conspiriacy part of my brain makes me wonder if they are purposely trying to run off citizens who have a brain. This looks terrible for the whole county. If you are one of the few good democrats, you need to know that I and many others think this is the status quo of your party.

0

Sundance 1 year, 7 months ago

I dont know anything about any of the three candidates except when I google Lunsford's name I dont get magazine articles about lawsuits, and criminal charges and firings for misconduct.

Maybe because Nesbitt has a record himself, he may think it is no big deal.

1

SandraC 1 year, 7 months ago

it seems that with the candidates having either past issues, the appearance of past issues, or in current litigation, they would do what's best for the county and take themselves out of the running for such a public office. The fact that they don't shows how much they care about Rockdale.

0

Frustrated 1 year, 7 months ago

I would expect Davenport will get the nod mainly due to her contact with Kasim Reed. It is no secret both Oden and Nesbitt thinks Reed is the contact for possible higher positions. Lunsford has done an excellent job as both director of the senior citizens center and parks and recreation. Will be sad to see her go and lose to the outsiders. I wonder what happened to oden's philosophy of "shopping the Rock"? Keep Lunsford as director!

3

ClaytonBigsby 1 year, 7 months ago

What "philosophy" is that from oden? He doesn't even keep the office for his little business in Rockdale! Where did the BOC hold their recent retreat? Over the line in DeKalb. Nesbitt's notorious Facebook page showed plenty of photos of him partying it up in "da ATL, yo". That philosophy is for the peons, not Mr. Hotshot and Hotshot, Jr.

0

Frustrated 1 year, 7 months ago

my point exactly Clayton. Oden talks the game of keeping things local but he doesn't practice what he preaches.

0

AJK 1 year, 7 months ago

How many Fire Chiefs did we go through before the BOC got it right and promoted the long time employee? I hope a lesson was learned.

1

Kipp 1 year, 7 months ago

I would like to inform everyone that Davenport chose to leave in 2006—not 2009 as my ill-informed friend stated. Her decision was one of those rare instances when “I chose to leave” didn’t mean there was the threat of being fired, or a pending lawsuit, or something oppositional compelling her to make a move before the ceiling caved. Her decision to leave was a personal choice and it had nothing to do with reputational preservation. There was no face to save then and there isn’t now.

While it is the norm for people in leadership roles to be the ones under fire when subordinates lack in performance, it is significantly unfair to judge someone based on the mediocrity of the people with which they are associated. The crucifixion of Davenport's character isn’t any more called for now than martyrdom, but the thing is that she is being blamed for the actions of others because of one-sided articles based on malicious rumorrs—unfounded things with very little merit. These rumors of her advocating and encouraging cheating and lining up teachers in front of parents and assigning blame for failure (this is referencing the article introduced by Sundance) directly contradict her track record as an upstanding, law-abiding citizen who is dedicated to the education of children.

I am respectfully choosing to say nothing more on this matter, as I have wasted a great deal of my time already on an article deprived of unbiased validity.

Good luck in your future endeavors, everyone. I hope my thoughts have not been considered inept or anything close to derisible. If I have offended anyone, it was not intentional. God speed and good evening.

0

heresyafacts 1 year, 7 months ago

Here is a link to the state report: http://clatl.com/images/other/aps/vol2.pdf Pages 161-7 for Dunbar Elementary.

According to the report, Davenport resigned in April 2007. Details of her decision to leave are on page 166.

Page 167: "In summary, we conclude that...Corliss Davenport...[was] involved in, or knew about, cheating on the CRCT."

0

Sign in to comment