The Franklin News-Post|
P. O. Box 250
310 Main Street, SW
Rocky Mount, Virginia 24151
|The buyout of the superintendent’s final year could cost nearly $143,000 |
Wednesday, July 11, 2012
By K.A. WAGONER - Staff Writer
The Franklin County School Board voted 5 to 3 Monday night to terminate Superintendent Charles Lackey's contract.
The board will buy out the remainder of his contract, which is set to end June 30, 2013, according to School Board Chairman Ed Jamison.
School Board Member Sarah Alexander made the motion to "discharge the remainder of the superintendent's contract without cause" under Section VIII of the contract. The motion was seconded by Bill Brush.
After the vote, the three members who voted against the motion -- P.D. Hambrick, G.B. Washburn and William Helm -- walked out of the meeting.
Under Section VIII of Lackey's contract, in the event the superintendent's contract is terminated without cause, "all salary and benefits shall continue for a period of 12 months from the effective date of such termination or until June 30, 2013, whichever period is shorter."
Lackey's contract adds up to $142,760 per year, which includes $111,795 for salary. For retirement purposes, $2,500 per year is added to his salary because he has a doctorate degree. He also is paid $800 a month for an automobile allowance.
Benefits stipulated in the contract include $11,603 for a tax sheltered annuity, $6,960 for health insurance and $300 for an annual physical.
The total amount of the buyout will be determined by the attorneys for the school board and Lackey, Jamison said.
Jamison declined to comment on the reason for the termination, stating confidentiality issues. However, he said the board is looking forward, not backward.
"It's time to move forward. We look forward to new opportunities with a new superintendent," he said.
Assistant Superintendent Sue Rogers has been named as the acting superintendent. Jamison said the board will immediately begin the process to name an interim superintendent. The board has six months to find a permanent replacement.
Although school board members did not comment Monday night on the reasons behind Lackey's discharge, two members expressed concerns in May when a state police investigation into Lackey's spending on a school-issued credit card ended with no charges being filed.
"This (state police) investigation was done independently from the school system, and I do not know all the details of past assessments and actions by the previous (school) board," said Crystal Naff, the Blackwater District school board member. "But I will not and do not condone unethical spending of our taxes by any public official or county employee. As a school board, we need to hold our expectations much higher than mere 'legal' behavior. 'Legal' has never meant 'proper' or 'ethical.'"
"We understand and accept that the state police investigation is complete," Alexander, the Rocky Mount District school board member, said. "While I cannot speak for the entire school board, I have concerns that remain, and we will address these issues in the days and weeks ahead."
In April, the school board conducted its annual evaluation of Lackey's performance, but the board took no action and made no comments at that time. Lackey's contract calls for an evaluation each year and requires the school board to give him notice of its intent regarding the renewal of his contract at least one year in advance.
The contract also stipulates that any evaluative discussions and written performance documents be kept confidential, and that discussions of such information be conducted in a closed meeting.
An article published in The Franklin News-Post in May 2011 detailed $30,448 in expenditures on Lackey's school-issued credit card between September 2008 and March 2011. The article and public comment prompted the school board to review Lackey's credit card expenditures.
After the school board review of Lackey's credit card spending, the board decided to implement a new policy in July 2011 to prohibit the use of credit cards for travel, meals, lodging and related expenses.