So on a Friday night at 9:30 pm I receive an email from an Atlanta School Board member. A) I don’t even know this guy (which is my political bad), B) I don’t even know how he has my email address since I never received anything from him when he was running for office in 2009 (his political bad), and C) WTF!! Why is all God’s name would you send something like this out? This Mr. English is NOT what the media consultants mean by “getting out in front of the story”. Hell I didn’t even know there was a “story” and how stupid are you to use an Atlanta School Board issued credit card for your own personal use. Seriously, really?, really? Didn’t you take a course on ethics on your first day of elected office? What in all God’s name did you bump your head against.

Enough of my ranting, here’s the dumbass email I speaketh of:

Dear Atlanta Community Member,

As an elected member of the Atlanta Board of Education, I’ve made a mistake and I hope you will accept my apology.

I did not fully understand the terms of use of a credit card issued to me by the Atlanta Public Schools. I misinterpreted a document that accompanied the credit card when it was issued to me. I mistakenly thought I could use the credit card for personal use as long as I immediately reimbursed the district for any charges incurred.

This is not the policy. I never should have made any personal purchases, period.

I am responsible for $855.83 of disallowed charges made to the credit card between May 29 and June 30, 2010. These charges included an airline ticket, food, gratuities, hotel charges, and other sundries. On July 14, 2010, I reimbursed the district in full for all disallowed charges.
I apologize for this mistake. I take seriously my responsibilities as an elected school board member. I will never make this mistake again.

Courtney English
Board of Education Seat 7

Courtney, honey, I realize that you just graduated from Morehouse in 2007 and this is your first elected position, but please get a PR firm to help you the next time you do something so stupid. Let the professionals handle writing your apology letters. Bless your heart.


24 Responses to Dumbest email from an Elected Official evah

  1. JMPrince says:

    Yep, only about 100 or so teachers involved in that mess, which BTW? Is an utterly predictable result of the new high stakes testing regimes. That really ought to give anyone enough of a signal that the system they want to continue is badly broken & desperately needs a national rethink. As for all the whispering? Maybe significant, maybe not. It’s best to wait until we’ve got something more substantial than just rumors, tantalizingly attractive as they always are in politics, right? JMP

  2. parker404 says:

    I don’t know what to make of the fact that there was all sorts of outrage on this blog over Mr. Courtney’s spending spree (since reimbursed) but barely a mention of the fact that twelve of our schools were found to have rampant cheating. These kids will be voters one day! We can’t count on them to elect good Democrats if they are not learning.

  3. Robert Williams says:

    Courtney’s mea culpa came only after he was caught with his hand in
    the cookie jar and he knew the story was going to break. This wasn’t
    some innocent accident and with everything else going on with the
    Board of Education, he should be held accountable. In 2005, Jean Dodd
    was removed from the board for just inquiring the status of an
    applicant at the board. All she did was ask one simple question, not
    even pulling strings to get a job. If the ethics board has the
    authority to remove a board member for something so minute, surely
    they have the authority and duty to at least investigate an issue of
    misappropriated funds. It’s troublesome that someone who hasn’t been
    on the board an entire year yet is making these types of mistakes. Are
    we really that comfortable with a having a board member for the next 3
    and a half years whose ethics is questionable?

  4. Wendy Lewis says:

    @will he ran unopposed after ironically Eric Wilson moved out of the district.

    @Steve There is a long list of things that make us all question
    Courtney’s ethics and motives. I just hope that he wasn’t involved in
    the CRCT cheating scandal before he resigned to become a member of the
    school board.

    • Steve Golden says:

      I don’t know anything about “what more” there may be. I just heard from a reliable source that there’s more to the story, but that source did not elaborate.

  5. Steve Golden says:

    I’m hearing word from a local political bigwig that there may be more to this story…..

  6. Brandon T says:

    He ran unopposed…

  7. Will Spice says:

    Who did he run against?

  8. Jason says:

    I blame the fact that he’s a boy with a girl’s name. His life is probably full of confusion!

    • JMPrince says:

      No you can’t do that, that’ll wipe out half of the pols in Ga., if not the wider South! (And yes, they’re on both & every side too). JMP

  9. JMPrince says:

    OK that’s dumber!

  10. Daniel F says:

    I received it too. But I vote in decatur. Go figure.

  11. JMPrince says:

    Don’t know him from Adam’s Off Ox, but it is just one month Bernita. Not years, not months at a time. Just one billing cycle (most likely). Sure it’s a rookie mistake & a silly obvious one at that. I thought the letter was as fine as it goes. Not the stupidest thing I’ve seen today actually either. The PR firms still can not save your butt here, and likely would have recommend the course of action taken too. JMP

    • Bernita says:

      yeah, but do you send it out randomly or to the press that might just curry you some favor. It was DUMB!! What elected official doesn’t know the difference between personal and work expenses. Especially, someone on APS no less. How much positive news coverage has APS been getting lately – that would be a big fat zero. So if you know that your school system is in hot water left and right over finances, why on earth would he not take better care to handle his tax payer issued credit card.

      Even worse, he’s been on the school board since January 2010 – isn’t that enough time to know right from wrong. I’m just saying…

      • JMPrince says:

        Well I’m not going to tell anyone it was not dumb, but perhaps this is his 1st time with such a credit card? Way back in the day, that was how things were done with corporate cards. It’s how we still work ours, BTW.

        But sure spamming voters with an apology is compounding the dumb, and then spamming non voters, even more so. But it was a judgement call if going to the papers & ‘confessing your sins’ would have worked out much better. Way back when they had some staff? They’d then go ahead & likely put a tail on your butt, and a reporter who’d then be responsible for checking up & ‘bird-dogging’ you for the next while. They might still be wanting to do so now too. But there’s no one left to cover it. So I’d like to try & give him the benefit of the doubt here for a ‘rookie mistake’ no matter how egregious looking. JMP

        • Bernita says:

          Ok Prince, then I will give you my latest property tax bill with a hefty chunk of it going to Atlanta Public Schools. BTW I don’t have any kids nor will I have any but I still pay for this schmuck to go around confusing my tax dollars with his personal expenses. Yup, that sure makes a whole lot of sense.

          But Courtney probably doesn’t know anything about skyrocketing property tax bills because he probably lives at home with his mom and grandma.

          • JMPrince says:

            Yeah Bernita, and I’ll invite you by when we’ve got to shoot down this month’s office lush on one of his $100 liquid lunches on their expenses too!

            But be that as it may? We’ve got plenty of everyday schmucks doing the same. For decades. Mr. CE made it right in about a months time. And no it does not help that it’s ATL either, with all their continuing problems. But living with momma? That’s fine by me & traditional too. He won’t feel your pain perhaps, but I will.

            But it’s one reason we did have to move our biz out of Fulton Co. though. The tax office was a criminally dangerous joke. But as they say? Another story. JMP

          • parker404 says:

            Bernita, it’s not that serious. Back away from the keyboard.

            1. The email itself was not that bad. I wouldn’t advise any elected official to send something like this, but it’s clear that the guy is sincerely apologetic.

            2. The misdeed is not the worst thing ever. Rewarding political cronies with no-bid airport contracts is bad. This is not on that level. He realized his mistake and repaid the taxpayers in a timely fashion.

            3. Enough with the “he can’t relate to me because he probably lives at home with his mother”. I thought this site and its posters were all about encouraging young elected officials. Must one be a part of the Blog for Democracy clique in order to get any courtesy?

            4. Your paying school taxes for kids you don’t have could be the least relevant point ever raised on this blog. Evah.

            • Bernita says:

              I’m guessing your defense of Mr. English and his lame-ass apology is some of your political wizardry and advice. Teh awesome, my dear.

              1. The email was pathetic. It might be believable if I didn’t know the stringent ethics guidelines APS instructs all its newly elected officials to attend.

              2. In this day with families struggling to get by on slim checks and play by the rules, this dude somehow and magically confuses his personal expenses with APS expense. Um…yeah…no!

              3. Maybe he can’t relate if he doesn’t know what it’s like to pay property taxes. I think I’ve said worse about other elected officials who made equally bonehead moves. What is the Blog for Democracy clique? I’m guessing you want to really be in this so called clique since you reference it. Maybe your client, Mr. English, can send in a nomination for you.

              4. Yes, me paying for kids that I don’t have has a large part to being upset about Courtney’s bonehead move. Besides the greater good of making sure we have an educated workforce, I’m not getting any direct benefits from this tax investment. I struggle everyday to know where my next check is coming from in order to pay for my property taxes and when Mr. English “mistakenly” uses my property taxes for his personal sundries then it pisses me off. When I receive my tax bill, I will forward it to Mr. English and ask him to pay $855.83 of it. Does that seem fair to you?

              • parker404 says:

                Somehow I knew I would be accused of knowing/working for Courtney English. I don’t know him and don’t work for him. I had to Google him to confirm whether he was a girl or a boy. I came to his defense here because I read his e-mail as coming from a person who was apologetic about doing something wrong.

                When you’re so jaded on politics that you can only assume the worse about a person, even an elected official who actually owns up to messing up (not something that happens every day, BTW), then maybe it’s time to step back a bit.

                P.S., not everyone who defends a person is on their dime. My clients are investment banks and brokers. Not exactly Courtney English’s line of work.

                • Bernita says:

                  ha this is wayyyy too easy. my feverish mind is working in overdrive and laughing out loud.

                  • parker404 says:


                    • JMPrince says:

                      I’m calling BS on # 4 here. Most of us only derive ‘indirect’ benefits from our taxes. Not only is this true for school taxes, but actually most taxes. And down that road of ‘why’ is plenty of economics which might capture the ‘worth’ of some of it.

                      This is not meant to forgive Mr. CE’s really stupid ‘rookie’ error here, but as I said above it’s one month. Not responsible for the downfall of the State exactly. But with school cutbacks & furloughs galore and short changed budgets for years, plenty folks are deservedly feeling pretty pissy about any infractions by any public official. Especially with stagnant or declining incomes for even college educated folks for well over a decade now.

                      Why is that? Again, what part of the last Depression did anyone not understand?

                      How bad is it for even Richy Rich families? Umm, this bad: (Or the top 10 reasons Jr. is still living @ home):


                      So my argument is to try a bit more empathy all around. We’re not going to get out of the canyon we’re in without everyone pulling together to figure it all out.

                      Those kids we’re now educating in Ga.? They won’t & don’t look like the kids did in the past. There’s plenty of resentment & ‘push back’ fomenting on that front too. But as they say, they’re the only future we’ve got. And we’ve got to be doing better by them. And them by us too.

                      Because we’re never quite as smart as we might imagine:

                      None too easy, right? JMP

  12. Sara says:

    I got it too and thought exactly the same thing. Sounds like someone waaaaay overreacted when he got caught redhanded.