A Knox County commissioner sharply criticized the business practices of the school system, including its handling of a secretary who has now been on paid administrative leave for more than two years.
Monday's work session of the Knox County Commission, commissioner Tony
Norman said he wants a forensic audit to ensure business is done the
right way at the central office of Knox County Schools.
"It is an
emotional response that we're negligent if we don't check," said Norman.
"Those are things like this latest situation with Ms. Needham and the
two year administrative leave, or course."
Norman was referring to
51-year-old Tina Needham, the secretary with the Knox County Schools
central office who has been on paid administrative leave since July
2012. Knox County Schools says it cannot provide details on why Norman
is on paid leave due to the HIPAA medical privacy laws.
County Law Department sent Needham a letter last November that referred
to some type of "disturbance" in April 2012. The letter also offered
Needham $10,000 to resign and agree not to sue the county. Needham did
not take the deal and remains on paid leave with an annual salary of
the reason for Needham initially being placed on leave, the big
question is why the matter has been unresolved after more than two years
and a month.
"This is a personnel matter that's very complex,"
said Doug Harris, a member of the Knox County Board of Education. "I
operate a large business and I can tell you, sometimes personnel matters
take a long time to rectify and come to a conclusion. I think that's
the case in this situation. I'm hoping we can wrap it up as soon as
possible for the taxpayers' sake and the employee's sake."
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