Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Statement from the board - We're cooperating with DA's investigation

Here is the new statement from the school system on its actions:

The Board wants to reassure the public that, contrary to published media accounts, the DeKalb County School District is cooperating fully in the DeKalb District Attorney’s (“DA”) investigation. The public should be aware of the following.

• The District wants any irregularities to be fully investigated and the truth to be found, regardless of who may or may not be implicated.

• It was for this reason that the School District at the direction of the Board and upon the recommendation of Dr. Lewis asked the DA to investigate

• Except for a few documents withheld on the basis of attorney-client privilege, all documents requested by the DA’s office have been produced by the School District.

• We have sent hundreds of thousands of pages of documents from the School District to the DA.

• The DA executed search warrants removing truckloads of documents from School District facilities with no interference by the School District.

• Our attorneys, on behalf of the School District, have produced approximately 9000 pages of documents.

When the School District received the DA’s Open Records Act request on December 18, there were no further documents to produce. The School District had already produced everything for which the Request asked.

• The School District has asserted the attorney-client privilege, as it is entitled to do, for certain privileged communications and documents relating to legal advice sought or provided by counsel. The School District has not waived this privilege due to pending litigation, which is appropriate under the circumstances.

• However, the School District’s lawyers have fully answered all non-privileged questions.

• In addition, the School District provided a Contract Compliance Officer to assist the DA staff with the investigation for several months.

• Six School District employees voluntarily appeared for questioning by the DA.

• We informed the DA’s office more than a month ago that all of the Board members had agreed to be interviewed.

• As these facts show, any statement that the School District has not cooperated in the DA’s investigation is completely inaccurate.

• We will continue to cooperate with the DA’s office and are hopeful that it will complete its investigation promptly. In the meantime, we as a District remain focused on improving our schools so that they provide the best educational opportunities for the children of DeKalb County.


Cerebration said...

Ok, so this is getting to be like watching two parallel universes -
School board says it's cooperating with DeKalb DA

DeKalb County school officials say they are cooperating with a district attorney’s investigation into allegations of bid-rigging in school construction projects, but they are still refusing to turn over records.

Late Monday night, the school board issued a statement denying reports that it has refused to cooperate with the DA's inquiry.

But the level of cooperation is unclear.

The statement said that all board members have offered to submit to interviews with the district attorney's office.

On Tuesday, District Attorney Gwen Keyes Fleming told the AJC she never received official notice of any such offer.

Click the article above to read the rest ...

Here_for_the_kids said...

I guess that ol' crazy DA is just lying to the press?

Ahhhh, DeKalb administration, are you so completely insular that you can no longer smell the foot-deep stuff you've been wading in? Cooperation, I guess, is defined in different terms by legal staff than it is by those on the defensive in DCSS.

I'm sure I'm not the only one who's believing a DA over the people I work for.

Trust is the last thing I have for the people in power in DeKalb. And again, you don't have to talk to many folks to know how common that view is among educators and parents in DeKalb.

My school is amazing. But if it weren't for the brains in the basement, the penthouse would be crumbling right now.

I say this from my basement window, of course, looking up.

Anonymous said...

BOE and Mr. Superintendent, it's not about you, employment contracts, or re-election.

It's about our students.

Put all your energies there and you'll find there's no longer need to issue debatable press releases like this one saying you're "cooperating" with the DA.

Anonymous said...

"Except for a few documents withheld on the basis of attorney-client privilege, all documents requested by the DA’s office have been produced by the School District."

This was written by Dale Davis, DCSS spokesperson/PR king/master of obfuscation. And Crawford's No. 1 butt kisser (sorry, but it's sad when Dale takes off Crawford's jacket for him).

The key is how Mr. Davis chooses to define "Except for a few", Could be ten. Could be twenty. Could be fifty.

Funny how Crawford gave the DA "thousands of documents", but knew which ones exactly to hold back from the DA.

My old friend the smell test says this stinks. Sorry Dale Davis, the school system's already damaged credibility makes me side with the DA. Your statement calls for more questions than gives answers.

Cerebration said...

Right on Anon 9:45 -- I'm thinking the "few documents withheld on the basis of attorney-client privilege" are exactly the ones the DA needs.

ps - Anon 9:27 - I couldn't agree with you more!

Anonymous said...

It sure worked out well that some lawsuit that is only indirectly related to this investigation allows them to withhold any documents.
Hey--just pick a lawsuit. That will do fine for the claim of attorney-client priv

Anonymous said...

The DA should not be asking for correspondence or documents between the school system and their lawyers - the DA knows, or should know, she cannot get her hands on those documents.

It could be that after all the criticism Gwen Keyes from the police force that she is putting on a "show" to make people believe she can actually do her job.

Anonymous said...

Nowhere in America can a DA get access to communications between an attorney and their client. Attorney client privlege is alegal right that should never be waived.
No matter how much you might suspect the use of the privelege it is sacrosanct. Perhaps you would like to do away with it along with trial by jury, the right to face your accusers, innocent until proven guilty (might as well throw in the right to vote).

Cerebration said...

I think the DA has plenty. They certainly can make their case with what they have. I hope we move along with this all soon - and get it all behind us soon.

I've moved on to visualizing a brand new DeKalb school system. This year we can vote 4 new members onto the board. We intend to be very involved in that process here at the blog.

Further, obviously, we will get a new construction manager. Hopefully this time we will get someone who is simply focused on getting schools built for children to enjoy learning in. Someone who will get the SPLOST money sitting in the bank going on some projects. As Dr. Walker pointed out - we can provide quite a boost to the local construction economy if we just get shovels going.

And most importantly, our new board will be the ones to choose a new superintendent after Dr. Lewis retires. That person is key. The people we vote on the board will be the ones to decide who that person will be. So getting the right people on the board is critical.

Let's all pay attention this year. We really do have an opportunity to make a difference - if we stay focused. Encourage your neighbors and friends to join this effort. There are so many good people in DeKalb county - rise up everyone!

Anonymous said...

"Further, obviously, we will get a new construction manager."

Are you sure about that Cere? It seems like Crawford is perfectly fine paying five contractors a $1000 per day (yes per day) to run the construction program in Pope's place.

The teachers are rightfully fired up about the C Lew raise and expense account increase (and Sam Moss staff washing his car twice a week). But I'm really surprised they aren't more fired up about Pat Pope being replaced by five people who make over $225 per year. Over one million dollars to replace someone who made $200,000 per year.

Crawford Lewis uses us taxpayers as his own ATM machine.

Cerebration said...

Yes, while you are somewhat correct, Anon, as I understand it, many of these people were already on the payroll - even with Pope in charge. Personally, I think we could be better off just contracting with the pros and assigning someone knowledgeable to function as "owner's rep" - with a community oversight committee checking the books - monthly. Think about it - they may be expensive - but could they really cost more than what we end up spending on attorneys to sort out the bungled messes left by staff?

Anonymous said...

Matthew 16:26

What good will it be for a man if he gains the world, yet forfeits his sole.

Cerebration said...

It could make it hard for him to walk! ;-)

Dekalbparent said...

Hey, ever wonder if Dr. Walker is looking at the Superintendent position for himself? He has held related jobs (sort of) at DeKalb Community College (now GPC) and done done that bureaucratic schmoozing trip before...

Cerebration said...

It's been discussed. Everyone is looking for that great retirement package! He'd have to stay in 5 years though I think - in order to retire with a decent DCSS pension. Lewis is currently trying to beef up his average (pension checks are calculated using your last 5 years' income I'm told.)