Move to Censure Banks Falls Short

The Cobb Board of Education voted Wednesday against a motion to initiate proceedings against board member David Banks.

After trying for two months to formally rebuke one of her colleagues, Cobb Board of Education member Kathleen Angelucci couldn't get enough votes to trigger an official hearing on the matter. 

On Wednesday morning the school board rejected, by a 4-3 vote, her motion to conduct censure proceedings against David Banks, whom she accused in July . 

Voting with Banks to deny the motion were board members Lynnda Eagle, chairman Scott Sweeney and vice chairman David Morgan. 

Alison Bartlett and Tim Stultz voted with Angelucci in favor of the motion, which according to school board attorney Clem Doyle would have initiated a hearing process that would have called for a 30-day advance notification, the presentation of evidence and due process guidelines.

Angelucci needed a two-thirds majority, or five of the seven board members, for her censure motion to have taken effect.

But during the board's monthly work session, Angelucci and other board members -- including Sweeney -- continued to chastise Banks for what she says are repeated instances of improper behavior by Banks. 

"We need to move forward with something formal that states that we won't condone this behavior," Angelucci said. 

She has alleged that Banks improperly contacted staff at Lassiter High School to inquire about the activities of one of his political opponents, whose daughter is a student there. 

Angelucci said that behavior demonstrates a troubling pattern from Banks, whom she also accused of violating board policies by visiting schools unannounced and attending school-level staff meetings. 

"We have staff members who feel they cannot express their frustration about him showing up at their schools without notice," Angelucci said. "What does that say to the public?"

Bartlett expressed similar sentiments, which drew a response from Eagle, who wondered if Bartlett also wasn't violating board policy by first going to The Marietta Daily Journal with her school calendar proposal earlier this month.

"I see some of the same behavior, Alison," said Eagle, who is retiring from the school board at the end of the year. 

Bartlett disagreed, saying the calendar committee is still eliciting public comment and that the concerns she has about Banks are for "repetitive behavior."

Before the vote, Sweeney reiterated the previous sentiment of the board majority that "no single board member has the authority to take action independently. Threats and bullying are not tolerated in any school and we will not tolerate it from any member of the Board of Education."

Banks, who sat silent during the entire discussion, shook his head. 

During a break in the meeting, he repeated his assertions to Patch that Angelucci's motion was politically motivated. 

"When you try to influence an election, don't do it during a board meeting," said Banks, who edged Lassiter parent Lisa Hanson in the July 31 Republican primary to his Post 5 seat, which in January will include all or some of the Lassiter, Pope and Wheeler high school districts.

During the campaign, Hanson accused Banks of violating her privacy by asking senior staff members at Lassiter about her activities as a volunteer. 

Banks has said Angelucci's charges are "a bunch of garbage," and claimed the censure effort "didn't mean anything to me anyway."

After the meeting, Sweeney said the discussion Wednesday was a sufficient reprimand of Banks' behavior. 

"I don't want to encourage incorrigible behavior," Sweeney said. "But we are having this discussion in public. I don't want to tie up district resources and time by going down [the path of a public censure process] when we essentially are doing the same thing."

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