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Collier Filing Whistleblower Suit against Bibb Schools

8:38 AM, Dec 21, 2012   |    comments
  • Romain Dallemand
    
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Ron Collier is filing a lawsuit against Bibb County schools in what his lawyer calls a whistleblower suit.

That's according to Collier's attorney, Jerry Lumley, who was just hired Wednesday night.

The suit comes as the Board of Education transferred Collier out of his position as finance director, following a 10-day investigation of his office.

Lumley says, the investigation is retaliation to Collier's refusal to disburse a million dollars in school funds in a manner he believed to be illegal.

The Board voted on the transfer Thursday evening. Sharon Roberts was made the district's interim chief financial officer, while Collier was made the capital assets and contract director in the capital programs department.

While the change doesn't take effect until January 7 according to board documents, Roberts gave the monthy financial update to the board, a task typically reserved for Collier. 

13WMAZ has asked for a response from the district to the allegation that the move is retaliatory.  

Collier and his assistant were placed on "special assignment" while the district investigated his office.

That's according to letters from Superintendent Romain Dallemand to chief financial officer Ron Collier and his assistant Kathy Gabriel.

The letters, dated Dec. 10, do not describe the internal investigation.

But they tell Collier he must answer questions from school officials and warn him not to destroy any public records.

School officials have declined to comment further, calling it a personnel matter.

School board attorney Randy Howard said Thursday that the investigation is completed, but he would not comment further.

At his request, 13WMAZ sent a list of questions regarding the investigation to Dallemand's spokesman Donald Porter. He has not responded.

In his letters, Dallemand instructed Collier and Gabriel on what they should and shouldn't do during the probe.

"While the district's internal investigation is ongoing, your full cooperation is expected. This means that you must present yourself for questioning into practices within your department.

"You are not to engage in any conduct that may interfere with or undermine the district's investigation, intentionally or otherwise. To ensure the integrity of the investigation, you are hereby instructed not to have any communication with anyone other than the district's investigating officials or your own legal representation regarding the specifics of any interviews that take place in connection with the pending investigation. In addition, you are not to take any action, either directly or indirectly, to destroy public records or data to specifically include emails and other electronic records and data. Your failure to adhere to these directives may result in further disciplinary action, up to and including termination. "

"You are to report directly to Dr. Kelly Castlin-Gautan, deputy superintendent of school operations until further notice."

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