If you have been following this newspaper, you may have noticed there are some big issues between the Pikeville Independent School board and its superintendent.
I’m probably gonna make people’s blood boil, but that’s OK.
The board wants Superintendent Jerry Green gone — plain and simple anything else is nonsense. Their motives, publicly is that they believe he received a $154,000 insurance plan illegally, and, by all means, it most likely was given to him illegally.
Privately, the firing of the basketball coach a few years ago still stings and this could be revenge.
We have confirmed that the then-board in 2008 held a closed meeting to discuss further compensating Green outside of his contract. According to the board chairman at the time, there were no people in the meeting and they went from open to closed without the proper protocol. The newly-hired lawyer representing the current board said that was illegal and he is correct. However, at that meeting, the board had their lawyer present who apparently didn’t advise them to openly discuss the additional compensation.
Shortly after that, the board advised the lawyer to write a letter to Green advising him of this new compensation, which he did. The letter stated two options that the board discussed in closed session. The options included a term policy that would be paid yearly or a whole life policy. Someone made the decision to get the whole life policy and the board agreed to pay in full up front, which is unheard-of. Again, the board made the decision in closed session and the “deal” was never made public and is nowhere in the minutes. Unless they maintain that the “consent” items covered that deal, which is — at best — a stretch.
To date, it’s unclear if the board attorney advised the board to discuss the two options that were in the letter regarding the compensation in open and have it on-record. But, by that time, the $1 million policy was purchased, at a cost of $154,177, at the hands of the taxpayers without open discussion. This further prompted the attorney to advise his client to make it public, which may have happened. If the board didn’t follow the advice of the lawyer, then it’s on the board.
In full disclosure, the newly-hired lawyer for the current board and the current lawyer who was the lawyer in 2008, were partners when this happened. They both represent different school districts and, from what I have seen, they are both good lawyers.
Green is one of the highest-paid superintendents in the state with one of the smallest districts. Over the years, the board agreed to pay him more than double what he started at 16 years ago.
If the board believes he is making too much money they should change their by-laws and put a ceiling on the amount paid to the superintendent. And that’s all the district will pay regardless how well the district does.
He has been accused of pension spiking, but if the board
approves all the increases then the board is on the hook. His contract has a few more years left.
There are many unanswered questions. Who made the final decision on which policy to purchase? Why was this never discussed in open meeting? Did the board attorney advise his clients to discuss this openly? If so, what happened? Was there collusion between the board and the super?
If there was an illegal activity committed who is responsible? And why is the current board not prosecuting? Has the current board taken this to the AG’s office? The KDE? The Commonwealth’s Attorney? If not, why? And who would they prosecute?
All we know is that there was an illegal meeting.
The outcome: I suspect the current board will sue Green and demand repayment and or his resignation. At that time, Green would hire a lawyer who will defend his client by saying that Green was awarded the perks by the board and he accepted, as Green’s compensation is decided by the board. Then I would suspect the current board will sue the 2008 board, at which point I would suspect to see a counter suit against the lawyer/ law firm representing the board at that time.
If there were illegal and or criminal acts committed then I support any sanctions handed down. And at no point should any board member or district employee fear retaliation against their children who attend the school.
There is no win in this situation. If the current board gets their way, it fits in with the agenda. Some may maintain that Pikeville is held to higher standards, and that Green or the board did something immoral, but they lost the higher ground when they lowered the grading scale.
Was there something done wrong? Yes. Who is to blame? Who knows? But after 11 years and no other “illegal” meetings or infractions have been discovered, then it should be over.
Regardless of the outcome, the losers are the kids the district and the alumni. The district’s reputation has been and will forever be tarnished.
Thanks for reading the News-Express.