All posts for the month January, 2014

Google for “Teabagging” – (G.W.)

Published January 31, 2014 by justicewg

old_teabagAnother re-post from the old blog, this comes from the selection process for the superintendent in 2006. One of the finalists for the position was announced in the newspapers, supposedly vetted by the board and ready to come in for the final interviews. With only a small amount of work I found out that the candidate had some pretty horrible issues that were missed. After a few emails to the board members the offer of the super position was withdrawn for the guy.

I still think I should have received some recognition from the board for the embarrassment and potential litigation I circumvented by doing my research. Never got a word of thanks.

I’ll be doing the same work in vetting the new candidates for the superintendent as they are announced in a few months. I hope this new batch of board members will have improved their skills in using the internet, but I’m generally shocked at how poor the skill set of the average board member has been shown to be in the past.

It’s an open question how the election of Jesse Truett will effect the board’s level of comfort with scandal in the history of a super candidate. After all, if it is acceptable for a board member to have a history of resigning from their job at the school and turning in their teacher’s license because of an affair with a student, what level of bad actions in the past will disqualify a potential superintendent?

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Why O’Reilly made the jump

Published January 25, 2014 by justicewg

oreilly_smallThis is a post that speculates on the reasons why superintendent O’Reilly chose this time to quit his job. A large part of that speculation involves his current salary, and the raises he has gotten over his time here in Grandview. Let’s establish the facts first. Set the wayback machine for 2006, Sherman.

A 13% increase to start

Previous super Allen left in 2005 with a base pay of $105K per year. He enjoyed frequent and high raises while at the school. There was a lot of talk from the board about how that was OK because he had so much experience, and they said that if they replaced his with a new super with less experience they could save a lot of money.

O”Reilly had no experience as a superintendent (he was a principal at Hilliard Weaver Middle School). The board started him at $119K, a 13% increase over Allen. So much for that “find a younger, cheaper employee” that was promised.

His current base pay is $150K, with some pretty sweet benefits. In the 7 years he has been at the school the board has increased his pay by 24%. That works out to about 3.5% per year, during a time in which the economy crashed and schools were in crisis mode all over the state. There was even a year when the teachers accepted NO increases in pay.

Obviously the school has done a grave disservice to our super and should consider organizing public flagellation rallies as a form of penance.

Why is he “ready for a new challenge?”

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Panera to Grandview Yard, C.M. to build steakhouse in that spot

Published January 24, 2014 by justicewg

Panera is moving the restaurant on Grandview Ave. over to Grandview Yard by the new Giant Eagle. This would put it north of third, outside Grandview (but because of the tax sharing agreement it would not be a total loss for Grandview taxes.)(later edit, I’m not sure if the agreement with Columbus contained tax sharing). The construction of more restaurants around the Giant eagle was in the plans announced back when the grocery was first mentioned, others may be on the way.

The building where the Panera is now sitting will be used by Cameron Mitchell to build a steakhouse. No word yet on the name, construction to be completed sometime after late 2015.

This is an interesting move. The nightmare outcome of the Grandview Yard development has always been for the Grandview Avenue strip to become a row of empty buildings as the shopping and dining moved into the Yard. If this plan by C.M. is firm, it shows that at least one restaurant owner is betting that the Grandview strip will continue to attract visitors.

It’s a Market District store

Giant Eagle finally confirmed that the store in the Yard will be a Market District. wow. such food. much districting.
From CU user heresthecasey, don't know where they found it.

Loeb Electric moving also

This was last year’s news but I missed the story. Loeb Electric has been in Grandview for years and has been a top 10 employer for number of jobs. The lure of money from the Yard has made them sell the Williams Ave. property and move to a west fifth location.

The taxes from those jobs will be replaced by new employers in Grandview Yard at some point. Probably. Cross fingers. No new commercial development in the Yard that would have a similar number of jobs is currently in the pipe.

AEP Service Center construction reveals dirt mountain

Published January 16, 2014 by justicewg

New AEP bldg
AEP Ohio made an announcement back in September last year that they were building a new Grandview Service Center. The old building on Goodale has been torn down and it looks like they are now preparing the foundations for the new building.

The project is supposed to cost $4.8 million and will hold 58 employees, mostly shifted from other places to the new shop. I don’t think any awards are in the cards for the utilitarian building that will be finished sometime late in 2014, but anything is an improvement to the 1940’s shacks that it replaces.

The interesting bit in this photo is the mountain of dirt that has been revealed in the background since the removal of the old shop.

Dirt mountain

Dirt mountain

That mound of dirt is hundreds of yards behind the AEP property, on the other side of the railroad tracks. The distance makes estimates hard, but I’m guessing that is a 50 foot tall pile. What is the deal with this new mountain?

The location of the mountain is the Kaplin site, where a developer tried and failed to build a project to be called “Grandview Station” (now called “Grandview Crossing”). It is now being remediated with a Clean Ohio grant by Wagenbrenner Development. The completion of that cleanup is supposed to take years, and further development not expected before 2021.

Toepfner mound 2

Toepfner mound 2

So my lazyweb question – why did they create the huge dirt pile? It’s much taller than any further construction might use on the property – unless a ski hill is part of the new development.

(update) There is now an issue with the cleanup on the Kaplin property, getting a special permit from the EPA will cause all water wells within a half-mile to be prohibited from use. The Grandview pool is a short distance away, the well that is used to fill the pool saves the city big money, at least $12K a year. Adding new pipes to connect to the Columbus water system could cost $80K. The council is not happy.

Cosmic irony Grandview style

The dirt pile is on the opposite side of 33 from the location of the old Toepfner mound. I wrote about this historical Adena monument, and how it was torn down to make commercial buildings.

What would the Adena tribe think if they could see a new mound going up across the street, ten times the size of the old mound?

O’Reilly resigns Superintendent position

Published January 14, 2014 by justicewg

This email was sent out Tuesday Jan. 14th. Quite a surprise.

Dear Grandview Families:
At this evening’s Board of Education meeting, I asked the board to accept my resignation as Superintendent effective July 31, 2014.
Professionally, I feel it is time to explore other opportunities and to continue my growth as an educational leader.  Grandview is in a great position both now and for the future. With that in mind, I am looking forward to the challenge of serving another school district that is striving to improve.
I will always feel commitment to Grandview and appreciate the opportunity I had to serve as Superintendent of the school district.  This is a wonderful community that truly values educational excellence.  I am proud to have served the school district for the past seven years.
I am appreciative of your efforts to positively impact our students.  Each day, countless community adults are engaged with the schools to improve the educational experience for our children.  I look forward to working with you in the coming months as we continue our important work together.
Sincerely, Ed

Was it really 7 years? It is hard to remember the time O’Reilly was the superintendent because he was such a low engagement person. I can’t recall one letter to the community in the paper, one issue he was willing to stand up and get in front of. Don’t get me wrong, he wasn’t a bad super, he just was so determined to be out of the public eye that it seemed like he wasn’t there.

I heard a rumor that O’Reilly was thinking of running for public office for some local area. Maybe state representative? I never bothered to write about it because it seemed like someone was fantasizing. Ed O’Reilly running in public? And as a Republican, which seems to require a person who is totally anti-government (a tough sell for a person who has spent his whole career on the public payroll.)

(Later) After reading back in my Grandview Watch blog for some of the stories I wrote about O’Reilly I have to correct myself – he did occasionally answer questions from reporters or write letters to the newspaper . This post was a record of some email exchanges I had with him after he answered questions for the reporter about the deal with NRI on taxes for the school.

Here’s an anecdote about a meeting I had with O’Reilly shortly after he started work. He was trying to get to know parents and scheduled some “Talk with the superintendent” meetings for 6 PM on the days when the board meetings would be held. I decided to attend one of these meetings, and after finding no one in the room where the meeting was supposed to be held, I walked down to the super’s office. He was there alone. We walked back to the room – nobody showed up. Does the community not want to talk, or was that just a dumb time to schedule a meeting? I’m thinking the latter.

He made some other early attempts to tell parents “I’m ready to listen” in his first post on the school website. That ended quickly. Read his last “Message from the Superintendent” on the new website, there is no “I’m listening to the parents”, no “stop in and lets talk”.

I think that there was some synergy going on with a board that doesn’t care much what parents think, but it sure was comfortable for O’Reilly. I wonder if he will be shocked at his new job with a community that thinks the super should be out listening and talking?

(Later) Ed O’Reilly ended up with the Educational Service Center of Central Ohio, an education services company. Read my post for some theories why he made the jump.