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BOE fails to renew 2 contracts

Photo by Carly Farrell

Photo by Carly Farrell

ALBANY, Ga. -- The Dougherty County Board of Education voted 3-2 to terminate two employees of the Dougherty County School System.

But the decision might not stick.

The board voted against renewing the contracts for Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum and Instruction Dianne Daniels and Human Resources Director Tracy Williams for the 2011-12 school year.

The board, however, can re-visit the issue within 30 days. Since the terminations were passed with fewer than four votes -- which comprise a majority of the full board -- there is a possibility that the decision could be reversed.

The issue arose during a called meeting Wednesday evening at the school system's administration building. Board members Velvet Riggins and Anita Williams-Brown were absent.

Board member David Maschke made a motion to terminate Williams.

The board went into closed session for roughly 40 minutes to discuss the matter. When the session was reopened to the public, Maschke stated he opposed Daniels' reappointment.

Board member Milton "Junebug" Griffin then walked out of the meeting room and was told by the security guard to come back in.

The votes for both positions ended up being decided along racial lines, with Board Chair James Bush and Griffin, both African-Americans, voting for re-appointment, while the board's three white members, Maschke, Carol Tharin and Darrel Ealum, opposed their reappointments.

During the meeting, Griffin expressed his disbelief and anger at the terminations, which at least one board member felt was a personal attack by Griffin.

"I resent being told that," Tharin said. "I made these decisions for valid reasons."

Following the meeting's adjournment, the board members, with the exception of Bush, immediately stepped out.

Bush stated that he thought the moves made Wednesday reflected a "sad day for Dougherty County."

"Each person has their right to vote, but I find it reprehensible what happened," Bush said. "I voted (in favor of rehiring the two employees) because I thought it was right.

"My vote speaks for itself."

Having another chance to review charter renewal applications for Dougherty Middle School and Dougherty High School, the issue came before the board again. In the absence of Riggins and Williams-Brown, the board decided to table it again.