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Griffin supports school chief, but not new contract

Dougherty County School Board member Milton "June Bug" Griffin, shown in this undated file photo, says that while he's supportive of the work interim Superintendent Butch Mosely has done with the school system, he is under pressure from his district and from a group of influential African-American ministers to oppose Mosely's new contract. (Aug. 2, 2013)

Dougherty County School Board member Milton "June Bug" Griffin, shown in this undated file photo, says that while he's supportive of the work interim Superintendent Butch Mosely has done with the school system, he is under pressure from his district and from a group of influential African-American ministers to oppose Mosely's new contract. (Aug. 2, 2013)

ALBANY, Ga. -- The contract status of Dougherty County School System interim Superintendent Butch Mosely took a decidedly political twist at a called School Board meeting on Monday during a 5-1 vote to send an appeal of the new 49 percent law to the State Board of Education.

After the board emerged from an executive session to take the vote, board member Milton "June Bug" Griffin voted against the resolution while board member James Bush left the building before the vote was taken.

Because of the recent change in state law, Mosely will have to step down from his interim position on Sept. 30 instead of when his current contract expires in January 2014.

Earlier this year, Georgia passed House Bill 208, which sets strict return-to-work provisions and limits the number of hours that a member of the Teacher's Retirement System of Georgia can work.

According to the TRS website, members who have negotiated a return-to-work employment contract have been notified that "retirees who are currently under an employment which extends beyond June 30, 2013 will be required to terminate or suspend their TRS retirement benefit."

Mosely currently draws $154,000 per year from the TRS, and his original one-year deal with the DCSS pays him $175,000 annually with no benefits.

"I want to say that I support Dr. Mosely, but I want to do things the right way," Griffin said Friday afternoon. "I think he has done a super job of doing everything we've asked him to do. I have disagreed with a few of his moves, but I am going to support him because he is our superintendent.

"I just can't support a new contract right now."

Griffin, who has served as District 2 representative since 2000, is the senior member of the School Board. He is up for re-election in November of 2014.

He said he is feeling pressure from a group of prominent black ministers to keep voting in opposition to Mosely.

"Yes I am being pressured in my district and all over the county, over trying to do the right thing," Griffin said. "I'm not worried about winning my district, but if three (specific) people put enough pressure to bear on my people, it could be a rough election for me.

"Most of my people have supported Dr. Mosely, but they are not happy with the way the contact is working out."

Griffin said the board originally voted to hire Mosely this past January with the idea he would work six months while the board found a permanent replacement for former superintendent Joshua Murfree.

According to Griffin, Mosely was to have worked with the permanent superintendent for another six months and leave when his contract was up in January.

"It never happened because everybody was happy with the way the system was moving forward and we didn't look for a permanent replacement," Griffin said. "We are headed in the right direction and I hope something good can come out of this. Right now it comes down to (Mosely's) contract and I will vote 'no.' He has the votes to get it done, but I can't support it because of the political pressure on me."

Griffin, who is battling bone cancer, has not decided if he will run again next year.

"It really all depends on how I feel, and I feel pretty good right now," he said.