Another Sad Media Failure In Montgomery County

In another alarming article, the newspaper in Montgomery County has done more bidding for embattled superintendent Joshua Powell under the guise of journalism.

Before you read this, keep the following in mind:

  • The board members were already set to receive subpoenas
  • We have audio of Powell’s rant at EPSB and will publish it soon — it’s crazy like woah
  • Gulley is finally feeling the pressure, he and Powell (according to folks at the paper) prepared their spin and took the story to the paper
  • Everything else we’ve already published — including the revelation that Powell has been working to coordinate an attack on the EPSB and others with the assistance of Richard Hughes
  • If he says it, the opposite is probably true

Now, the latest from the Mt. Sterling Advocate, sure to make you tinkle with laughter:


THE HEADLINE

Gulley confirmed receipt of the subpoenas. He didn’t find it unusual that they were handed out there.

“It doesn’t bother me that they were given at a board meeting because they knew we would all be there,” he said. “I did think it was interesting it took two state employees to attend to hand out the five subpoenas.”

It’s highly unusual and was done because so many people — Gulley included — have attempted to impede the EPSB’s investigation. Why two people instead of one? Hello? Ever heard of safety in numbers when rolling into a district with a superintendent who has been recorded on multiple occasions threatening other human beings? Particularly after the superintendent has spent months plotting character assassination of government workers tasked with investigating claims against him? Good grief.

Gulley got served with a subpoena and all he can really say about it is that it’s interesting that two people came to serve five subpoenas?! That’s all he’s got?

And by “confirmed” with Gulley, they actually mean they saw the video footage here on Page One. Because no one was there but our team and the new school board members.

The paper goes on:

Superintendent Josh Powell said he attended the last public EPSB meeting and “informed the EPSB concerning their lack of appropriate procedures, guidelines and practice during open speak. Several others, including teachers and attorneys, also addressed this topic with the EPSB at that time. Due to my negative experience and the frivolous nature of the claims against me, as well as the conduct of employees, I strongly believe that they are much worse than the claims they make against others.”

As a result of him speaking publicly, he says subpoenas were served to all Montgomery County board members prior to the public meeting.

Sneed said the EPSB serves administrative subpoenas issued pursuant to Kentucky Revised Statute.

-SNIP-

Powell said that while Sneed claims the subpoenas were served before the board meeting “due to her inability to find the addresses of the board members and, also, due to the limited budget of the EPSB,” that “interestingly, the hearing officer had not even approved witness lists as of that date.”

Did you cackle with laughter over that first paragraph? Shed a tear? When you hear what Powell had to say at that EPSB meeting, you’ll certainly be doing the former.

Pro-tip: The hearing officer — provided by the Office of the Attorney General — does not approve witness lists. Powell knows this because he’s been through previous EPSB trials.

More:

“In my experience, I have suffered immeasurable harm while simply doing what is best for students and communities. Simply put, I have possessed the courage and conviction to do what is right and have made tough decisions even though I was well aware of the consequences.”

Survival in a small community is by itself difficult, but Powell said he also has had the “extreme displeasure of fighting state bureaucracy.”

“I have been accused of violations for several years, reported by disgruntled individuals who were simply held to a higher standard. What is frightening is the fact that I strictly adhered to best practice, policy, procedure and law. In a bureaucratic-driven, politically infested system performance is all but ignored and agencies have had the ability to interpret or investigate matters without any concern for the Constitution.”

In his opinion, Powell says, what makes matters worse is the fact the EPSB and OEA … neglect to address district and school leaders who fail to make decisions.

“The failure to make the appropriate decisions regarding school leadership and practice robs kids and communities of a future. Rather than focusing on results, state agencies often attempt to satisfy the perceived masses, which, in my opinion, is a disgrace in public education in Kentucky.”

-SNIP-

“Unfortunately, the EPSB investigators have followed me from Union County and have spent an inordinate amount of time, resources and money investigating me. Again, it is a shame and a disgrace and I believe their efforts could better be served fighting those that harm children instead of wasting taxpayer dollars in their politically motivated pursuit.

“If I am sanctioned by an ‘ethics’ organization for holding personnel accountable, despite my strict adherence to policies, procedures, law and the countless documentation that has been maintained, then I must report that public education in Kentucky is most certainly doomed,” he added.

Where to begin?

Survival in small community is the opposite of difficult. It’s easy because you have fewer people to deal with, fewer kids to be responsible for, a smaller school system, etc. Hilarious to suggest otherwise.

But disgruntled individuals upset because Powell held them accountable? Every reader here has seen enough evidence to the contrary. Most of it from Powell’s own hand and voice.

Joshua Powell doesn’t have the constitutional right not to be held accountable for the stunts he’s pulled. He doesn’t have the right to operate in secrecy because he works as a public official for the taxpayer. And he doesn’t have the magical right to claim he’s followed the letter of the law when countless agencies say otherwise. From law enforcement to the Auditor of Public Accounts to every education-related investigative agency imaginable in the country.

There were some more juicy tidbits in the paper’s coverage:

The Advocate is aware of pending cases involving Anna Powell, Josh Powell and Phil Rison.

The case involving Anna is related to her hiring, which the state auditor’s office found issue with and forwarded its report to the EPSB.

But… that’s not the case and the paper doesn’t have proof of that. That case? It’s Powell’s, not his wife’s, as she didn’t make the hiring decision. And the EPSB hasn’t confirmed anything to the paper. The paper only has what Powell has claimed.

More:

Specific details of the cases involving Josh Powell and Rison have not been released to date.

They have. You’ve read many of the details here in documents released via Open Records Requests from various government agencies.

Josh Powell and board members maintain that there was no wrongdoing by the district in the hiring of his wife.

Catch that? Board members, not all board members. Because there are board members who opposed it. During the EPSB trial, we hear several board members will reveal details about all the shenanigans we already know went down. Expect fireworks.

Why highlight all of this? It’s a look at how the tiny ruling class in a small Kentucky town has controlled not just the local school system but the only local media outlet tasked with holding that school system accountable.

We watched this happen for years in Morgan County and now Tim Conley is going to prison. We’re watching it happen in Montgomery County with scandal after scandal and the entire school district is being ripped to shreds.

So let’s stop feigning surprise when entire rural communities in the Commonwealth are blindsided by corruption. They’re being purposefully kept in the dark.