Superintendent Bryan Johnson speaks during a Hamilton County Schools budget work session on Thursday, March 14, 2019, in Chattanooga, Tenn.

Superintendent Bryan Johnson, the Hamilton County schools bigwig, apparently is close to getting a new contract. If approved, he will have gotten a pretty sweet salary bump while here — from $197,000 when he started in 2017 to $240,000 a year.

That's an increase of about 22%.

Read that again. The contract will add another $23,000 to Johnson's current $217,000 salary.

Despite a record-setting investment from the county, and multiple stories about how the system "found" extra money in the budget, Johnson and his leadership team came up with 2.5% raises — half of what was pledged when the system was banging the "property tax increase" drum last spring and summer — for the teachers doing the heavy lifting.

So everyone wants to give the credit to the teachers, but we're giving the heavy rewards to Bonny Oaks. 


Swing and a guess

OK, we've all heard the joke "What do weather people and baseball players have in common?"

Yep, if they are successful three times out of 10, they are headed to the Hall of Fame.

Well, one of the reasons that guys like David Glenn and Chip Chipman and Paul Barys are in such a pickle is the fickle nature of Mother Nature. Especially here.

Look at the past week, when we started with a snowfall that caught many of us — including the pros — by surprise. There was plenty of bread on the shelves and milk in the coolers at Food City.

Then it was beautiful on Sunday. Noah confirmed with Barys' chin whiskers for the flood that came Monday through Wednesday. Thursday was nice enough to wear shorts to work. By Friday morning it was 24 degrees at my house.

That week of weather had more curves than The Cannonball at Lake Winnie and more swings than a teenager's mood.


Anyone's guess at this point

The Democratic presidential candidate contest is looking a lot like that Lake Winnie coaster.

Iowa was a bust and an embarrassment. New Hampshire put the fear of a Bernie Sanders nomination front and center among some Democrats. And goodness, it sounds like all of the candidates have memorized some form of "We don't want anyone to buy this election or the nomination."

Really? Candidates in every race are doing everything in their power to buy every election above the office of Gruetli-Laager dogcatcher.

Pick that fight carefully, Democrats, since there is at least a modicum of honesty that Mike Bloomberg is using his own money to buy the nomination — rather than relying on dark money from lobbyists or the largesse from stinking rich donors who want something down the road.


Obit observations

We normally focus on one particular person.

But since Friday was Valentine's Day, and no matter how much I believe it to be a Hallmark-and-Hershey-made day of change (as in commerce), it was hard not to notice some of the lifetime relationships mentioned in the obits this week.

Bernice Roberts died. She was 93. She was preceded in death by her husband of 69 years.

Fil Cooper died. He was 92. He was married for 70 years.

Arnold Janeway died. He was 84. He was married for 66 years.

I could go on. Regardless of your feelings about Valentine's Day, loving and lasting relationships like those deserve a healthy amount of admiration.

Contact Jay Greeson at

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Jay Greeson