Our Voice: Thumbs up to Pasco educator

June 29, 2014 

John Morgan devoted a lifetime of service to Mid-Columbia children. Morgan retires this week from his job as Pasco School District assistant superintendent.

He spent more than 40 years in education, starting out as a teacher and coach before following the path of his father, who also served as an assistant superintendent in Pasco.

Morgan went to what is now Eastern Washington University, graduating in 1973. His first teaching and coaching jobs were in the Columbia School District in Burbank before he headed to Hanford High School in Richland about 1980.

Pasco High Principal Ray Reynolds, one of Morgan’s former teachers and coaches, came calling for him in 1990 to become a history teacher and football coach.

There’s no question Morgan touched the lives of many young Mid-Columbians as a teacher and coach.

Dozens of football players visited his home for dinner Thursdays before games, where Morgan dispensed advice along with helpings of the dinner his wife, Sandra, had prepared.

“He cared about the students, and you could tell from the way he talked about them,” Navy Capt. Bob Weissenfels told Herald report Ty Beaver.

“I wanted to be like him,” said Weissenfels, who played football under Morgan at Hanford High School in the mid-1980s.

We suspect Weissenfels and countless other former students are a bit like Morgan. You can’t ask for a better legacy.

VA scandal

Thumbs down to the Department of Veterans Affairs for what one congressman described as a “outlandish bonus culture.”

“This is scandalous, even criminal,” Rep. Jeff Miller, R-Fla., chairman of the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee said at a Capitol Hill hearing last week.

The VA paid out more than $2.8 million in “performance awards” in the last fiscal year to executives, some of whom are now under scrutiny for misrepresenting veterans’ wait times for health care, the Los Angeles Times reported.

No senior manager at the VA received less than a fully satisfactory performance review last year despite problems that included falsifying records to conceal long waits for care and cost overruns for construction projects, the Times added.

Gina Farrisee, the VA’s assistant secretary for human resources and administration, defended bonuses as important to recruiting and retaining the best talent.

But retaining all 470 senior VA executives is the wrong goal, despite their bonus-earning reviews. Recent history suggests changing a lot of managers, not retaining them, is the right course.

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