Cumberland Times-News

Jan Alderton - Opinion

February 2, 2008

School board must share blame

If a buyout of Allegany County school superintendent Bill AuMiller’s contract takes place — and it certainly appears likely — the county school board will hardly have clean hands in what went wrong.

Why the buyout is being pursued is shrouded in secrecy because the board is meeting in closed-door sessions over the matter. But all signs point to the lawsuit brought against school officials by radio station WCBC as the primary reason.

Stung by criticism, school leaders apparently tried to punish the radio station by barring it from the Greenway Avenue Stadium pressbox, pulling a scholarship program from the air, and other arbitrary actions.

But didn’t the school board know in advance that these steps were being taken? Of course it did. And therein lies the reason why the board should receive just as much blame as AuMiller for a situation that was badly mishandled.

Meanwhile a buyout may end up taking $200,000 to $300,000 from badly-needed school funds.

Shame on everyone involved....

Amy Shuman finished up 25 years of writing columns for the Times-News earlier this month. In her final piece, she estimated that she may have written 2,000 columns over the years.

A number of other columnists have approached that figure. Jim Goldsworthy, for example, began writing a column in 1977 and has probably exceeded the 1,600 mark since then. Frostburg State University professor Bob Doyle began writing “Under Cumberland Skies” at the request of the late C. Arthur “Soupy” Lancaster, longtime Cumberland Evening and Sunday Times editor, in 1976. Doyle believes he has penned 1,645 columns since then.

But the record for most columns must be held by the late J. Suter Kegg. When Kegg, retired sports editor of the Cumberland Evening Times and Cumberland Sunday Times, was inducted into the Maryland-Delaware-D.C. Press Association in 2002, it was estimated that he wrote more than 8,000 sports columns from 1946 until 1981. He continued writing more columns and byline stories long after retirement....

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Jan Alderton - Opinion
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