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Murfree’s overpayment order should lead to criminal investigation

By   /   May 31, 2013  /   Comments

Usually, when someone says a legacy should never be forgotten, it’s because someone has passed on and left something worthy behind.  For Dr. Joshua Murfree, that’s clearly not the case.  He is now gone, but clearly the wake of devastation lingers after him.  The latest is the revelation that Murfree ordered an overpayment of $250,000 for alternative students to be made by the cash strapped school system.

Thus far, there’s been no mention of a criminal investigation, but there clearly needs to be.

The contract with Alternatives Unlimited appears to have been pretty specific about what could and couldn’t be done.  There was a dispute though, which happens.  However, Murfree ordered the amount paid, claiming there was a provision in the contract that allowed him to settle disputes.  It’s apparently in the contract right next to the one that proves the existence of unicorns.  In other words, it isn’t there.

Maybe it’s just me, but this smells pretty fishy.

Why would a superintendent, a man who is supposed to act as a steward of taxpayer money, order $250,000 to be paid without at least verifying the system actually owed it?  From what school board members stated at their meeting recently, there’s no way that could have been the case, so why did Murfree do it?

Was Murfree getting a little something in return?  That would be a reason for a criminal investigation.  However, the Dougherty County DA’s office needs to steer clear.  It’s almost impossible to find an ADA that doesn’t have some tie to Murfree one way or another.  The school superintendent tends to be one of those positions.

Instead, this needs to be referred to the GBI for investigation.

Much like the investigation into Don Buie, this one needs to be handled by an outside source for multiple reasons.  You see, when I say that it may be impossible to find an ADA with no tie to Murfree, that’s not to say they’re all fans or friends of his.  Instead, many have children in this school system.  They may have something against the man.  While it’s safe to say that I can sympathize with that, this isn’t the place for that sort of thing.

It’s my hope that the GBI does investigate.  They need to look at everything Murfree did during his tenure.  If Murfree was merely incompetent, then that’s what they would find.  I can accept that.  However, the people of Dougherty County have a right to know one way or another.  Murfree was a failure as a superintendent, just as many of us suspected when he was hired.  The powers that be have an obligation to find out whether he was a criminal as well.

Right now, interim superintendent Butch Mosley is shaking things up.  He’s been tough but fair with personnel decisions in the DCSS, which is a far cry from how things used to work.  In short, he’s making a hell of a case for removing the “interim” tag from his title.  He’s looking really good to the people of Dougherty County.

However, Murfree didn’t set the bar that high for the man, did he?

Tom Knighton is the Editor and Publisher of the Albany Journal.

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About the author

Owner / Editor / Writer

Tom Knighton is the publisher of The Albany Journal. In November, 2011, he became the first blogger to take over a newspaper anywhere in the world. In August of 2012, he made the difficult decision to take the Journal out of print circulation and become an online news agency, a first for the Albany area.

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