JASPER, Ga. – In a meeting all there own, IMPACT Pickens, a group of citizens who have banded together against certain members of the Pickens Board of Education, called for resignation of Board Chairman Sue Finley.
They did so with a large presentation showing text messages. The massive collection of 350 pages obtained through an Open Records Request showed the text messages and statements of Finley, Young, and references to other board members. The entire presentation is available (video to the left) and the group is more than willing to offer digital copies of the texts on thumb drives.
These texts vary from fragments to whole sections of conversations. They were presented by the Impact Pickens Organization during the town hall meeting that many, including former Superintendent Dr. Rick Townsend, attended. Though Dr. Townsend didn’t speak much, he did answer a couple of question from citizens about timelines and extra funds the school had.
IMPACT Pickens President Steve Lowe expressed his aggravation and frustration that board members would be “plotting” anything, but said these texts show the plans set into motion to oust Dr. Townsend as Superintendent and bring back former Superintendent Dr. Carlton Wilson. These texts, Lowe showed, happened during meetings as well as during executive sessions at times. With the main focus of the presentation on this plan to bring back Wilson, there were also other points when Chris Pence, Treasurer of IMPACT Pickens and main presenter at the Town Hall, pointed out plans to get Finley appointed Chairman and Steve Smith appointed as Vice Chairman.
While Finley was appointed to Chairman, Smith was not appointed Vice-Chair. In one text, Finley stated, “The Queen is not happy.”
Pence said this was appalling as the text references the vice-chairman appointment. He said these texts messages and the fact that board members and administrators are planning things and discussing votes and intentions to vote outside of open board meeting, constitutes SACS violations. SACS is the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. Their better known parent company, AdvancED, operates accreditations and certifications and was among the main concerns of citizens when Townsend was in the process of being terminated.
That process was drug out as citizens’ outcry over the $500,000 payout and other implications came in to focus. That process continued as the Board of Education attempted to negotiate with Townsend to find a different position in the school system for him instead of Superintendent.
With Townsend declining the offers, the Board moved forward with the buyout.
Besides Townsend, the texts included plans for the appointment of Aaron Holland, allegations about Holland, and implications for future plans. One text from Young to Finley stated, “If those two knew Aaron it wouldn’t be 4-0. Lol”
The texts evolve between Holland and Finley discussing plans and motions, willingness to do something in his first meeting, and possibly waiting until January.
Other texts openly admit to an “underground network” with orders to praise “him” to his face to ensure good evaluations while Sue says they are working as fast as they can to “correct the situation.”
Pence also posed allegations that Board Attorney Phil Landrum allowed Finley to redact certain sections of the text messages at her choosing.
Many of the texts continue following and leading towards the removal of Townsend with Finley allegedly steering much of the operations to her own plans and desires. IMPACT Pickens highlighted only a portion of the texts in the packet, showing what they showed as the high points of the scheming.
One of the text messages from Tony Young specifically admits a meeting with “Phil” and “Amy” discussing a buyout number ready. IMPACT Pickens said this is a major issue as the text occurred on January 11, 2021 discussing buyout information and the termination of Dr. Townsend days before the emergency called three-hour executive session meeting of the Pickens BOE on January 15, 2021, or the “Emergency Called Meeting” of the Pickens BOE on January 18, 2021, discussing the termination of Dr. Rick Townsend.
Additionally, early text messages before these emergency called meetings asked if the board should “bring Tony in before we ask Dr T to leave the room or after?”
The Organization has already spoken with SACS accreditation, Georgia’s Attorney General, and other agencies requesting investigations into the Board and these allegations.
Additionally, they are collecting signatures and moving forward with court cases of their own. Seeking board members and the Superintendent Tony Young to step down, the organization is pursuing recalls and any options they have available. They called for school personnel as well, but were warned that many teachers and staff have to worry about retaliation to their jobs or even their children in the school system.
In a separate video, Pence spoke to citizens thanking them for support. The organization operates through donations that they said they have used to acquire information such as the 350 page open records request for texts. He said, “I really think that now we’re showing the elected officials that the citizens are tired. We are tired of them wasting our money. We are tired of them not being ethical or moral.”
Lowe also commented on the response the organization has received from citizens saying, “We are really grateful for all you have done. It’s been humbling to see people come out…”
A 5th-Generation born into the KKK. He later denounced the organization and moved on. Chester Doles said, “It comes with maturity, growing, getting to know people, and finding common ground with some of the greatest people across all lines of color.”
Because of his past, Doles says he often gets named or called when media needs a “boogeyman” to blame things on. But today, he says his organizations works towards things like saving the National Anthem, saving the Pledge of Allegiance, and fighting the rise of socialism. These are the political goals that Doles says he holds now.
Those monikers of white supremacy and racist are not correct according to Doles who says the articles and the attacks are just a part of a premeditated narrative, a “dog-whistle” for the public to focus on this boogeyman, this labeled enemy.
Instead, the platforms of constitutionalism and patriotism are the foundations that pushed Doles to found the American Patriots USA. An organization that Doles says supports and brings together those who are constitutionalists. An organization that he notes is based into that political ideal and welcomes all people who share in its beliefs.
Commenting on the recent debate between Trump and Biden, Doles said the Proud Boys suffers similar attacks as he does, being called white-supremacists. But he says he has met many of those who are a part of the Proud Boys group and many have been Hispanic, Black, White, and other races and that these people are proud to stand and defend America.
He compared a villainizing of the Proud Boys to the free pass that Biden gives to Antifa. Pointing to Biden’s comments on Antifa being “an idea, not an organization” as the real issue. Doles said, “We have watched them burn our churches, our businesses, assault hundreds and hundreds of police officers. Children have been shot in the head by Antifa and BLM. And they’re just an idea?”
Attending a memorial service for Aaron “Jay” Danielson, where members of the Proud Boys were attending, Doles said it was Antifa who ran over one of the members, crippling him. He said, “Antifa and BLM are running around in wolf packs, out there in the Northwest, looking for targets.”
Since the political debate, many have attacked Trump about the Proud Boys and his comments. Doles questioned where the comments and questions are for Biden sweeping the Antifa riots under the rug as an “idea.”
Doles reiterated that the push for this has come from the media’s narrative and blame for patriots like himself. He said he is the one who has denounced the ways that he used to follow, sharing a story of going to DeKalb County to an all-black church. He also noted that Josie Cruz was there as well. He explains that he went to this church because he wasn’t welcome in many of the churches in his own county. Instead, he visits this church, stands in front of the congregation, and explains his past. Then asked for forgiveness.
Doles again said he has denounced racism and wants to proudly protect America with other patriots. That is how his organization is attempting to help.
One of the major goals that Doles said his group is pursuing, is informing the public and seeking to have Antifa declared a domestic terrorist organization. Referencing the memorial service and many other issues in the Northwest, he states, “You better be prepared to defend yourself. You don’t have to look for trouble… The left is looking for the right out there.”
Doles warns the public that it is on the move as well, stating that the organization is already in Georgia.