Monday, May 9, 2011

Behind the Scenes of the Cox negotiation

DeKalb superintendent search foiled by job security

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

DeKalb wanted flexibility to fire Cox “for any good and sufficient reason” without having to guarantee her severance; Cox was unwilling to sign onto what her attorney called an “at-will contract.”

Richard A. Schwartz, who represented Cox during negotiations, said DeKalb’s expectations were out of step with industry standard, and warned the board it would have a hard time negotiating with other candidates if unwilling to budge on the termination issue.

“Unless you have someone who is desperate for a position, or is rehabilitating themselves after a prior bad exit, you will be hard-pressed to find a strong candidate who is foolish enough to leave a secure position, move their family and take a contract which provides absolutely no job protection,” he wrote in an April 17 email to the district’s lawyers.

The article does point out that DCSS spent over $400,000 to rid themselves of Johnny Brown.

In emails, it appears the board wanted at least two paths to sever ties with Cox, a “convenience” clause, which would allow the board to fire her for no reason with a 12-month severance payout, and another that allowed the board to fire Cox with cause, and pay nothing. Cox’s attorneys wanted to better define the reasons she could be fired under that provision, and to guarantee her a due-process hearing before the board.
Much more in the article...


PolitiMom said...

How very shortsighted of DBOE. Sure we are an at-will state, but given their track record, of course Cox wanted some guarantees! Conceding to a due process hearing would have been an easy and fair compromise. Seems like they were negotiating from the position of assuming Cox would fail, therefore not budging on the termination clauses.

July 1st is less than 2 months away and they still think they will have someone? Only possible at this point if that someone is Ms. Tyson. Haven't gotten any updates on this process or even explanation from Nancy Jester--and that is unusual and disappointing. This law firm, Brock & Something. Why weren't they considered for our search? And can we contact them now??? Where is Ray & Associates?

I don't want to think we've been had, but seems like a lot of money and time spent just to hire Tyson.

LaLaMeeka Chadwalli said...

I think the board was afraid of what a qualified "white female" candidate would do to their friends and family program.

Looks like Tyson was the go to candidate all along.

Thanks a lot Belcher/Maureen. Sleep well knowing the damage you have caused.

Anon said...

The majority of the board was not going to give her the terms she asked for.

Not only that, but in no way do I think that she could have made a difference in DeKalb.

We need a strong leader who has a proven track record of turning around a system that is in trouble and not just academically.

We need someone who has cleaned house in a school system, not someone who needs to take their time to figure out what kind of team they need.

Cerebration said...

Oh! Remember when they cleverly changed Dr Lewis' contract to the "fired with cause" with a 4 month payout? It was when they gave him the raise - he - and we were so focused on the raise that we didn't notice the clause. Then they fired him - with cause - good cause. Now he's indicted for running a criminal enterprise.

Are they expecting another episode like this? How about a clause stating that if you are indicted for a crime, you will be fired with cause...?

The bottom line is - they will have to promise a year's severance in order to get someone good - which assumes that person is also honest.

Cerebration said...

BTW - I have to admit, when I first read the headline I interpreted it to mean that the candidate lost due to the job security of friends and family of board members and former board members (one of whom actually attended the candidate Q&A forum - the one with the most and most highly paid relatives working in the system.) Who really has the power here?