Questions on the Fayette BoE/Bearden termination agreement go unanswered
Anyone wanting an explanation for the “mutual termination agreement” Wednesday between the Fayette County Board of Education and Superintendent Jeff Bearden will not get it. That is the position of the Fayette County School System and its attorney Phillip Hartley. The Thursday press release authored by Hartley gives no indication of the reasons behind the unexpected action that came after a three-hour executive session.
At the Wednesday called meeting and after the board returned from executive session, Chairman Leonard Presberg asked if there was any recommended action resulting from executive session. Bearden in presenting the recommendation said, “I recommend the board and superintendent enter into a mutual termination agreement to be effective Jan. 1, 2013, that will include an additional year of compensation and appropriate benefits. The written agreement will be prepared by the school district attorney.”
Asked by Presberg for a motion, board member Janet Smola moved that the board accept the superintendent’s recommendation, followed by board member Bob Todd who seconded the motion. The vote was 4-1, with Smola, Todd and board members Terri Smith and Marion Key voting in favor of the motion and Presberg opposed.
There was no discussion prior to the vote and nothing said after the vote. The meeting ended immediately thereafter.
The called meeting began at 3 p.m. with the school board going immediately into executive session. The board remained in executive session until 6 p.m. Hartley was present but not in the school board chambers.
Hartley on Thursday afternoon released a prepared statement stating, "At a specially called meeting on September 19, 2012, the Superintendent and Board of Education agreed, in accordance with the terms of the Superintendent’s employment agreement, to a mutual termination of that agreement effective January 1, 2013. The Board of Education expresses its appreciation to Dr. Bearden for his leadership and many initiatives that have improved the School District during his service as Superintendent. Dr. Bearden expresses his thanks and gratitude for the encouragement and most of all the support of the staff, parents, and community. The superintendent and all Board members are committed to a smooth and productive transition, continuing to address the needs of the School System and providing the best possible education for the students of Fayette County."
Neither school board members nor the school system are commenting on the issue. School system spokesperson Melinda Berry-Dreisbach on Thursday said Hartley’s press release will be the only statement issued on the mutual termination agreement.
There is no shortage of rumors surrounding the unexpected action at the Wednesday called meeting. Rumors notwithstanding, the only people who can answer the questions are not talking.