A discussion of what is described as “board conduct” could be explosive when the Muscogee County School Board assembles Monday evening for a special called meeting originally scheduled to discuss the district’s annual budget.
The original stated purpose of the meeting was to hold the final public hearing on the FY18 budget and to take official action on the FY18 budgets and millage rate resolution. But now an internal discussion of nasty board politics is expected to grow out of an open-ended phrase that allows the board to “conduct any other necessary school business.”
Included in the posted agenda is a call for the board to consider hiring a special counsel to deal with a matter that could allegedly jeopardize local accreditation. No details are offered and no names are specified, but the issue apparently stems from last week’s clash between school district attorney Greg Ellington and board members Frank Myers and John Thomas.
The meeting will be held at the Public Education Center, 2960 Macon Road. It begins at 5:30 p.m.
In an email sent last week, Myers and Thomas offered to give sworn depositions to lawyers for Montravious Thomas, whose family has filed a $25 million lawsuit against the school district that came after doctors in Atlanta were forced to amputate the student’s right leg after an incident in a local classroom last fall.
An angry Ellington responded with an email shared with members of the school board in which the longtime school attorney said Myers did not share information with him “and unilaterally volunteered himself as a witness to the opposing counsel.”
“It is for the Board to consider, what, if any, additional action to take in response to Mr. Myers’ conduct,” Ellington added in a thinly disguised warning.
Board chair Pat Hugley Green quickly joined the digital discussion.
In an email to her colleagues on the board, she cited an item for board consideration involving accreditation and board conduct. “It is important that the board superintendent remain focused on the important matter of ensuring that MCSD remains accredited when Advance Ed visits in October 2017,” she wrote last week.
The board agenda was posted on BoardDocs sometime Saturday and once it was clear possible depositions from Myers and Thomas might be discussed feelings began to escalate.
Myers and Thomas feared there could be a resolution to take the issue into Executive Session — meaning the general public would be locked out.
Myers had previously told Green and his fellow board members that he would not be there for the called meeting. Since the FY18 budget was the only major item on the proposed agenda, he told them he would not ask for a postponement.
That changed on Sunday afternoon once the new action was added to the agenda. Myers sent an email to Hugley Green asking for a delay on discussion of that issue since he could not be there for the called meeting.
“As this added agenda item appears to address recent events involving John Thomas and me, I would like to be present at any meeting that addresses this issue … I realize you, Cathy (Williams) Dr. Lewis and the lawyers are attempting to to instill a false sense of urgency regarding this alleged threat to our accreditation, so I think it especially important that all sides be heard,” Myers wrote.
Discussions about Myers’ conduct will involve the school board’s standing Code of Ethics.