Reader feedback July 27: James Garner, derailment, Hampton school raises

Steve, Poquoson: Thanks for the James Garner editorial obituary. It was the only write-up of the many I've seen that came right out and said that Garner's Jim Rockford "was among the greatest of all TV characters." I loved Rockford too, especially for his casual, entirely unintimidated fearlessness in speaking truth to power.

Editor: You have to love a television show where the main character has more than his fair share of personality. Jim Rockford was one of those characters.

Seeing double

•Ed, Newport News: Does the Daily Press right hand know what the left hand is doing? A page 14 "news brief" paragraph reports "Senate panel unanimous in approval of VA pick" duplicates information in Hugh Lessing's page 3 "Warner pushes ideas to VA nominee."

Editor: We try to ensure that the editors who put together the Nation & World report and the editors who put together our local report are on the lookout for any areas of potential overlap in order to avoid duplications. But we missed that short item. Sorry about that.

Checking the facts

Joel, Yorktown: I want to comment on your "Virginia senators laud plans for shipping oil by rail" I've looked at the Lynchburg papers at the time, and this thing in the paper which derailed and sent 17 tanker cars into the James River, quote/unquote, is absolutely incorrect. Three cars slid down a hill toward the river. One of them got breached to the extent that it only lost half of its load. The others were just derailed and stayed up on the bank somewhere. They did not go into the river. If you look at the photos from the Lynchburg paper at the time, you will see that that is the case. Thank you.

Editor: Our story on Page 3 of Thursday's edition did, indeed have the facts confused. According to our stories after the incident, 17 cars jumped the tracks, but only three fell into the river.

Hampton school raises

•My first concern is about the equity raise issue for the school administration. I don't think it was a good idea to include the names. It could have been separated — it could have been done without the names at the bottom line. Finally, along those same lines, why are there three people with the same title? What do school leadership executive directors do? And why not promote the new guy into the position with a lower pay rate than this more senior one in tenure, thereby not having to do any of these equity raises? Finally, a story idea: An in-depth analysis of a ratio of administrators' kids and what their success is, particularly concerning the high school graduation rate.

Editor: We routinely write stories about salaries for government officials, who are paid with taxpayer dollars. The public has a right to know how its money is being spent and who benefits from it. As for your other questions, other readers have asked why Raymond Haynes was hired at a salary trumping the rest of the administrators. Reporter Austin Bogues is including it in a new list of questions for Hampton City Schools. Stay tuned. Finally, some of the managers have similar titles but they oversee different departments. Here is the list again: Ann Paige Bane, director, Community & Legislative Relations; John Caggiano, executive director, School Leadership (Elementary & Comp Programs); Cynthia Cooper, executive director, Research, Planning and Evaluation; Diana Grebel Gulotta, executive director, Public Relations and Marketing; Raymond Haynes, executive director, School Leadership (Elem & Pre-school); George Hellman, deputy superintendent, Operations and Support; Patricia Johnson, deputy superintendent, Curriculum & Instruction; Patricia Leary, executive director, School Leadership (Elem & Pre-school); Robbin Ruth, executive director, Human Resources; Suzanna Scott, deputy superintendent, Facilities & Business Support; Linda Shifflette, superintendent; Donna Woods, executive director, School Leadership (Secondary).

Today's Feedback was written by Marisa J. Porto, the vice president and director of content of the Daily Press Media Group.

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