Monday, December 14, 2015

Law director questions legality of KCS superintendent's new contract

Jim McIntyre
So apparently at least one Knox County School Board member is upset that county Law Director Richard "Bud" Armstrong is questioning the legality of the school system superintendent's new contract/contract extension.

I'm not sure why.

Armstrong and other board members during the Nov. 30 meeting in which the board ramrodded the two-year extension through said that there could be some problem with the contract's language.

In fact, it was suggested that the panel should consult the state before approving it.

But, no, they didn't. Now the law director - who represents the entire county government (he tries to prevent us from getting sued and breaking the law) - has erred on the side of caution.

Here's what BOE vice chair Tracie Sanger, who voted to approve the contract, said in a released statement: 
"Law Director Bud Armstrong has hand-written the word "not" before the phrase "legal as to form and correctness" on the signature page of Dr. McIntyre's approved employment contract, which has now been posted to the County Commission's public meeting agenda. Making this change without consulting or informing the School Board is a serious breach of trust, and represents the worst kind of passive aggressive political games.  As the School Board's attorney, the Law Director should seek to better represent his client.  It is hard to believe in and trust an attorney that has such little experience, shows inconsistency with his opinions, and portrays the appearance of having a political agenda."
To reiterate: The school board on Nov. 30 ramrodded a two-year proposal to extend Jim McIntyre's
Richard "Bud" Armstrong
contract through the approval process. The 5-member voting bloc that typically votes whichever way the superintendent wishes opted not to take a breath and sit back and wait until the state weighed in.

I mean, seriously, it's not like this wouldn't get approved in January or February if the state said it was OK. McIntyre isn't going anywhere. He wants to stay. Holding off a few months would not have changed that.

This contract - if legal - would have gone through. (At least until next September when a new board comes in but that's a whole different story.)

Here's what BOE member Amber Rountree, who voted against the proposal, had to say:
"I think there were a number of legal questions raised at the contract extension that could've used more discussion, which is why I tried multiple times to delay the vote. With no looming deadline, the only pressing reason to vote for a 2 year extension at that time was due to the upcoming election cycle. The insertion of the language in Section 2 about the AG opinion also indicates there were further questions about some of the language. I feel it would've been in the boards best interest to postpone the vote so that we could have voted on a contract that had been fully vetted. My hope is the matter can be resolved quickly so we can turn our focus to working on our goal of Excellence for Every Child."
Now, the proposed contract will go to the Knox County Commission for a vote. Typically, these things are put on the consent agenda, which means they just rubber stamp them and move on. I doubt that happens next week. This will be discussed further.

At the end of the day, however, McIntyre's contract will more than likely be extended. I'm not sure what the big deal is. It's just not going to be this month.
By the way, in a letter to BOE members about Armstrong's move, McIntyre said: "I really have no idea what that means."

He has declined to comment further.

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