And now Kay Brooks, fresh from her council assignment to the board, distinguishes herself as the only other school board member to request a cell phone. This is the same Kay Brooks who drew attention to herself in protest at and after the Mayor's State of Metro Address by asking a server to clear her place at a dining table beforehand and to bring her nothing but water to drink. Refusing a one-time expense for breakfast seems trivial when compared to the money that the district would save month-to-month should Kay Brooks have declined her gratis cell phone. It would have precisely saved taxpayer's money, which had been something Kay Brooks demanded vigorously on her blog up until Council member Michael Craddock and the Davidson County Republicans helped her into her seat. So, now she gets a tax-payer funded cell phone and if legitimately elected in August, she will help decide which public school programs--based on a list of services that she has already claimed as unnecessary--should be cut. I suggest, for the sake of her own credibility, that she give back her cell phone and demand before the election that free cell phones should be cut out. If she's going to demand that others scrimp and save, then she needs to show her willingness to do likewise. By the way, she has also requested a lap top computer.
Kudos to the rest of the school board members for refusing a Metro-funded cell phone. I do not take issue with members receiving pay or getting insurance for themselves or their families, because heaven knows we all need insurance, and the pay seems small for the time that members spend on their work. However, cell phones should not be included in the benefits of the school board, especially because those who abuse the benefit only give the whole board a black eye from a taxpayer perspective.
06/10/2006, 5:20 p.m. Update: Kay Brooks has responded to this morning's Tennessean article on her blog. She writes:
Since that initial conversation [with BOE staff about benefits] and a conversation with the Board Chair on 5/23/06 I decided that I'll not ask MNPS to supply any of those resources. It seems the cleanest way to operate and doesn't require any of my time or the staff's in accounting for their use, upgrade or, heaven forbid, their loss or damage. So that's no cell phone, no laptop, no second phone line, no fax machine for BOE member Kay Brooks.That's responsible decision-making, Ms. Brooks. Good to hear that you are changing course and taking yourself off the "requested" list. Now are you going to attend the school board candidates' forum this Thursday or avoid facing the voters like you did the first forum?