Candidates for governor in town today

Decision 2008

Two hours before the presidential candidates debate in New York, the candidates for N.C. governor will square off tonight in a debate to be broadcast live from Charlotte.

Republican Pat McCrory, Democrat Bev Perdue and Libertarian Mike Munger will appear in the forum sponsored by the Charlotte- Mecklenburg League of Women Voters and WSOC-TV. It will be aired live from 7 to 8 p.m. on WSOC (Channel 9) and WTVI (Channel 42).

Staff Reports

Meck briefs


Hugh Hattabaugh, an area superintendent who came to Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools just over a year ago, was named Tuesday as the district's chief operating officer, putting him in charge of the day-to-day operation of 170 schools serving 137,000 kids.

Hattabaugh, who has been in charge of CMS's north learning community since July 2007, will not take over the “deputy superintendent” title that Maurice Green had before leaving to become superintendent of Guilford County Schools. But he'll get a raise, from $143,000 to $169,000, and become a key player on Superintendent Peter Gorman's leadership team.

Among other changes approved at Tuesday's school board meeting:

Monique Gardner-Witherspoon, executive director at the east learning community, takes over Hattabaugh's post in the north area. She gets a $29,000 raise, to $130,000.

Associate Superintendent Ann Clark takes over supervision of six administrative offices, or learning communities, located across the county. That duty had fallen to Chief Academic Officer Ruth Perez. Clark's pay will go up $22,000 to $169,000.

Perez keeps that title, but her focus will narrow to dropout prevention. Joining her in that mission is Ralph Taylor, who had been in charge of alternative education and safe schools. He'll continue to work with alternative schools; both Taylor and Perez will work to develop better options for students at risk of dropping out.

Bud Cesena, director of CMS law enforcement, picks up responsibility for 180 campus security guards who had reported to Taylor.

Athletic Director Vicki Hamilton, who had reported to CMS's family and community services section, will report to Hattabaugh. The district has been embroiled in an athletic eligibility scandal for most of the past year; Gorman said Hattabaugh's experience with student placement and verifying residence will make him an effective leader in that area.

Ann Doss Helms

The Charlotte-Mecklenburg school board introduced a motion Tuesday night that would make sure its members earn as much as county commissioners – a 77 percent pay bump. A public hearing and vote will come at a later meeting.

Mecklenburg County commissioners make $29,569 a year in salary and guaranteed expense payments, compared with $16,687 for school board members. In addition, commissioners get $2,900 a year to cover technology costs, such as cell phones, laptops or Internet service they use to do county business. The school board gets no such allowance.

The school board's policy committee introduced two options: One would give board members the same compensation and technology allowance that commissioners get, starting with the next budget year in July 2009. The other would limit board raises to the average annual teacher raise – the system used now – but would add a technology allowance to match that granted to commissioners.

Ann Doss Helms

Charlotte's Myers Park United Methodist Church will hold a prayer service at 7 p.m. Thursday for those seeking hope in these times of economic and personal uncertainty. The church, at 1501 Queens Road, will offer prayers, hymns and Scripture readings centered on the economic troubles afflicting Charlotte, the United States and the world. Details: www.mpumc.org.

Tim Funk

South Carolina


Authorities have arrested a man and his two sons after they made obscene gestures, threw rocks and pointed a gun at a State Law Enforcement Division helicopter.

Newberry County Sheriff Lee Foster said Tuesday that 43-year-old Michael Phillip Greenberg, 19-year-old Robert Michael Greenberg and 18-year-old Sam Greenberg are charged with conspiracy and assault with intent to kill. They're being held in the county jail.

Investigators say the helicopter was conducting an investigation near the family's mobile home when some men began making obscene gestures and throwing rocks at the aircraft. Police say one man loaded a rifle and pointed it at the aircraft.

Associated Press