Thursday, June 27, 2013

Is There Still a Bully in Burkesville?

Educator alleges ex-Sen. David Williams cost him a job

This from the Courier-Journal:
A finalist for the job of superintendent of Cumberland County Schools claims in a lawsuit that he lost the job after a last-minute intervention by then-Senate President David Williams.
David Williams, 2011

Williams, now the circuit judge for Cumberland, Clinton and Monroe counties, disputed the allegation in an interview Monday, saying, “That’s absolutely not true. I’ve never talked to anybody about that superintendency at all. I don’t know anything about it.”

David Murray, now principal at a school in Clay County, says in his lawsuit filed in Franklin Circuit Court that he and the Cumberland school board chairman had agreed to and even signed a contract giving Murray the job on May 7, 2012, and that the chairman assured Murray he had the support of a majority of the school board.

But the suit says that “then State Senator David Williams intervened” with board members on behalf of a local finalist, Glen Murphy, whom the board voted to hire on May 9.

Williams is not a defendant in the suit, which Murray filed earlier this year against the Cumberland County Board of Education.

In it, Murray says that any meetings by board members “either together with or serially with” Williams would have violated the state Open Meetings Act and any later board action stemming from an illegal meeting would be void.

He asks that Murphy’s hiring be declared void and seeks actual monetary damages because he said he withdrew from two other superintendent searches because he’d been assured he had the Cumberland job.

The Cumberland County school board has asked that the suit be dismissed on multiple grounds. It argues that that only the board, and not its chairman, can award a contract — and that the board voted to hire Murphy in an open meeting.

The board also argues that the case must be dismissed because it should have been brought in Cumberland County. The motion to dismiss was argued Monday before Franklin Circuit Judge Thomas Wingate, who indicated he would rule soon.

Murphy’s office said he was in a meeting Monday afternoon and he did not immediately return a phone message.

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