The above video is archival footage, including Southern Guilford High School teacher Michael Logan, from September 2021.
GREENSBORO, N.C. (WGHP) – Michael Logan says he sees the item on the agenda again for Tuesday night’s meeting of the Guilford County Board of Education: “consideration of District 3 vacancy.”
Logan, a teacher at Southern Guilford High School, has been expecting since the position opened in November to fill that seat, as members of the Guilford County Republican Party want him to do.
And now that North Carolina General Assembly has voted to change the wording for how that process should occur, Logan is expecting to be seated on Tuesday night.
You may recall that four times since November, when Patrick Tillman was elected to the Guilford County Board of Commissioners, Logan, chosen by Republicans who live in District 3, has been denied the seat because the Democratic majority on the board objects to his social media posts and public comments that they have called “divisive.”
But the board’s “approval” of Logan’s nomination no longer is required. House Bill 88, introduced by state Rep. Jon Hardister (R-Whitsett) and Rep. John Faircloth (R-High Point) to clean up language in the statute covering this process, was passed in a local bill on March 15 and immediately became law.
“I have seen the agenda, and it says there is a ‘consideration,’” Logan wrote in an emailed response to questions from WGHP. “I am under the expectation to be sworn in and placed on the board.
“The participation of the board has been removed by the legislation, and that was caused by the actions of Deena Hayes and the Democrats serving on the board.”
Hayes, the board’s chair and representative from District 8, did not respond to an email seeking her input on this latest situation. Neither did Jill Wilson of Brooks Pierce law firm, who represents the board.
Wilson had said in March that she needed to see the enacted statute before knowing how to advise the board.
Former Guilford County GOP Chair David Gleeson had been steadfast in his support for Logan, but the county party has elected new officers for the next two years, and Chris Meadows is now the chair.
“It’s been the position of the Guilford County GOP all along that Michael Logan should have been seated in early December when Patrick Tillman resigned the position and join the Guilford County Board of Commissioners,” Meadows said in an email to WGHP. “Mr. Logan was duly elected per the rules of the NCGOP, Guilford GOP and, more importantly, the laws of the State of North Carolina. The current Democrat-led Guilford School Board have been breaking the law since December by not seating Mr. Logan.
“There is an item on Tuesday’s agenda to consider the District 3 vacancy. Having a ‘vote’ on this seat is unnecessary as the procedure to fill a vacancy does not require a vote, per the recently passed legislation that clears up the process of filling a vacancy. Michael Logan will be sworn in on Tuesday.”
For his part, Logan, who has been an automotive teacher in Guilford County since 1997, said that “it has always been my opinion that the board had a vote on the process, not the decision.
“Like: Did the district party follow the guidelines? Is the candidate qualified and are there any legal conflicts?
“I had the expectation of being placed since December. The district has been denied representation by the board’s actions.”
At issue here is politics in that the Democrats have voted unanimously against Logan, and the two Republicans voted for him.
Hardister said his bill corrects “errors made by staff.” It’s a scant two paragraphs that address general statute GS 115c-37.1, which specifies how seats on partisan boards “shall” be filled. Hardister said that statute was undermined by language in the local bill that former state Sen. Trudy Wade (R-High Point) pushed through the General Assembly in 2013, when she decided the board should be partisan (a concept that not even Hardister fully supports).
Robert Joyce, an expert at the North Carolina School of Government, told Hardister that the statute in question required the board “must take a vote to accept the person put forward by the party executive committee.”
When presenting the bill in the Senate, Leader Phil Berger (R-Rockingham), whose district includes a large chunk of Guilford County, said “the majority [on the board] has refused to take the ‘ministerial act’ they are required to take and vote to seat the person.”
A different candidate?
Hayes has suggested in a letter to the News & Record that the party “put forward” candidates who had “not engaged in racially prejudiced writing, who seek to embody the values a board of Education member should hold and who have expressed an interest in representing District 3.”
At issue among the six Democrats who have voted against Logan is a litany of issues they have had with the way Logan has conducted himself at meetings, on social media and in public comments.
Numerous speakers at board meetings have been both for and against Logan, who has attended every meeting. Logan has said he would resign as a teacher – he submitted his letter based on the appointment – and would run for the full term when the seat came up for election in 2024.
“Where is the evidence?” Logan said after one of the earlier rejections. “Who was the person? Do we even know if it was a student? If I was under investigation for these statements and they were found to be true, then why am I still employed?”