By Bill Britt
Alabama Political Reporter
MONTGOMERY—In the continuing saga of Alabama Public Television and the firings of top executives more information continues to surfaces that sheds light on controversy.
Recently, Jefferson County Circuit Judge Joseph Boohaker dismissed two parts of the lawsuit filed on behalf of former APT, CEO Allan Pizzato.
Judge Boohaker, demised request to sue AETC board members personally, and also the request for punitive damages sought by Pizzato.
He also reserved the right to dismiss the remaining counts filed by Pizzato’s attorneys. Left mostly intact is a charge that AETC board member used the wrong language in its adjournment for an executive session.
If found guilty each board member would face a fine 50 percent of their monthly salary or $1000 dollars which ever is less. This would amount to an individual fine of $12.50 or $4.25 depending on how it is calculated by the court. AETC members are paid a quarterly per diem of $25 dollars, which many member do not accept.
However, In the middle of last week’s discovery testimony the Alabama Supreme Court issued a stay in the matter before the circuit court until the high court has an opportunity to review the case.
With all the activity leading up to the case, the mainstream media has become eerily quiet as to the new results.
Even more interesting is the lack of investigation into testimony given in by August Paula Drinkard and Charlie Grantham former COO of Alabama Public Television. In their testimony Drinkard and Grantham said that the AETC board had removed the Diversity Statement from the APT website.
This however does not meet with the facts as a quick look at the website, www.apt.org shows the statement is still there and according to the AETC board has never been removed.
To find the Diversity Statement go to APT.org. click the “ABOUT APT” icon. Then click the “EMPLOYMENT” icon and there the “Diversity Statement” appears.
Much was made of the removal of the Diversity Statement in the news mongering after the firing of Pizatto and chief financial officer Pauline Howland.
There may have been some confusion on the part of Drinkard and Grantham and that is why their testimony did not comport with the facts.
Around the time of the firings the board did change the mission statement as well as revamping some of the web pages on the APT site.
The old mission statement read, “Each of us is born with a natural desire to learn. We seek to explore our world and to understand life and the people around us. Alabama Public Television is a center of discovery for people of all ages. We motivate children to learn, empower students and teachers to succeed, and provide a lifelong path to knowledge.”
The board had said that they felt that statement was too ambiguous and without a great deal of means so a new statement was crafted.
The new statement reads AS FOLLOWS:
“Alabama Public Television is committed to enrich the lives of Alabama citizens:
By providing essential educational services with the highest quality direct instructional content through digital streaming. APT’s efforts are directed toward helping our state reach true school equity statewide. Every student in our state deserves an equal opportunity in education regardless of the wealth of the school district…Alabama Public Television’s Goal is to take us there…
By acting as an indispensable resource as Alabama’s storyteller, APT will present our state’s unique heritage and many contributions while traveling the road taken through history on the journey to becoming the Alabama of today.
By promoting Alabama to the world as a unique community postured for business and growth, highlighting our emphasis placed on providing an educated work force and a strong work ethic,
By working closely with Homeland Security and state agencies to provide a statewide network to disseminate information effectively in times of disaster,
By bringing the very best in the world of music, theater, dance and the arts to enrich and inspire the lives of the people of our state and
By offering programming that educates the citizenry, giving them the means and the desire to reach their highest potential through the development of a strong work ethic bonded to honesty and integrity as well as the technical training so necessary in today’s global economy.”
Were some of the confusion may have come from is that there was a page on the APT site that had a mission statement, a vision statement and values statement.
Under all this was a copy of the diversity statement.
This is what was on the page:
Each of us is born with a natural desire to learn. We seek to explore our world and to understand life and the people around us. Alabama Public Television is a center of discovery for people of all ages. We motivate children to learn, empower students and teachers to succeed, and provide a lifelong path to knowledge.