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 CAB Board Accepts Bradford’s Resignation

July 8, 2009 - The Charles A. Beard School Board abandoned efforts to fire Athletic Director David Bradford last week, opting to accept his resignation instead.

By a vote of 5-1, the board approved a five-page resignation agreement between CAB and Bradford during a special meeting June 30. Bradford, according to the document, had signed it on June 18.

Bradford, who coached the Knightstown High School softball team, had been on paid leave since April 24, the day after he allegedly struck one of his players on the arm during a game. While CAB had officially notified Bradford that the school board planned to meet to consider canceling his contract and Bradford had requested a hearing, last week's resignation agreement ensured neither would happen.

In addition to not canceling Bradford's contract, CAB also agreed to pay Bradford all compensation and benefits he was owed through June 30, the effective date of the resignation. This included paying Bradford the remaining balance of the nearly $4,000 stipend that goes with the varsity softball coach position, even though he only coached nine of 22 games before being placed on leave.

While the resignation agreement itself doesn't list the exact amount of the coaching stipend -- it just says CAB will pay him the full amount due -- CAB Superintendent Gary Storie told the board Bradford was still owed half, or $1,860. In turned out, however, that the full stipend amount was actually about $200 higher than the $3,720 figure Storie gave during the meeting.

Storie told The Banner the day after the meeting that he would e-mail board members and let them know Bradford will actually be owed a little more on the coaching stipend. He said the error had been his, and that he was even willing to pay the difference himself.

Board members Tim Wehr and Tom Schaetzle made and seconded, respectively, the motion to approve the resignation agreement at last week's meeting. Board President Kevin Knott, Vice President Steve Dalton and Wade Beatty joined Wehr and Schaetzle in voting to OK it, with board member Mark Fort casting the lone dissenting vote. Board member Leah Kopp did not attend the meeting.

"I felt like justice needed to be served," Fort told The Banner last Thursday. "I felt like we needed to go through with the hearing ... let the cards fall where they might." As reported last week, Henry County Prosecutor Kit Crane had told The Banner that Bradford's resignation came after he told Bradford's attorney the athletic director would not be charged with battery on the student if he resigned. Fort said he felt if there had been probable cause, Crane should have filed charges.

"I'm tired of these administrators being protected more than students," Fort said. "I'm tired of that. If this had been a custodian or a cook, we wouldn't even be talking about this -- they'd have had charges filed against them."

Fort also said he disagreed with the decision to pay Bradford additional money toward the coaching stipend. "I don't we believe we should have paid him anything," he said. "I don't believe he earned it. I don't believe he should have got it. I don't believe he deserved the money."

In addition to approving Bradford's resignation agreement, the school board also voted last week to make sure that other school corporations know the full circumstances surrounding Bradford's departure from CAB.

"I want to make sure it's not covered up," Dalton said, noting that CAB has the discretion to release records in employee personnel files. Saying it might help protect students elsewhere, Dalton made a motion that all information compiled during CAB's investigation of this matter be placed in Bradford's personnel file and released to any other school corporations that ask for it.

Before the board voted on Dalton's motion, Storie said he would provide the records if another school corporation asked for them. Schaetzle said he wanted to know what, if any, records Storie would not release if Dalton's motion were not approved.

"I hesitate to say there wouldn't be anything that gets held back," said Storie. Saying he didn't want to cause problems for Bradford, he told the board the former athletic director "has certain rights."

Schaetzle questioned whether the board should be substituting its judgment on whether to release certain personnel records for that of Storie, who also serves as CAB's public access officer. Storie reminded board members that there have been other occasions where they have voted on public records issues, and that he saw this as being the board's decision, not his, and that he was OK with that.

Dalton said it wasn't that he didn't trust Storie, but that he thought by voting to release the records, the board could "take the heat off" Storie and any other superintendents who may follow him. He also said this would be consistent with a pledge that he and other board members campaigned on -- to govern more openly -- and help ensure other school corporations have the information they need to protect their students.

Fort, who would go on to second Dalton's motion, also said it's not a matter of not trusting Storie. "Gary does a great job," he said. "But, let's remember, he works for us."

Like the vote to accept the resignation agreement, the decision to place the investigation records into Bradford's personnel file and release them to other school corporations that ask to see them also passed 5-1. This time, it was Beatty who voted against the measure.

Storie told board members at last week's meeting that the athletic director job vacancy would be posted "right away." He said current CAB employees would have 10 days to apply for the job before the posting is made public, and that he hoped to have a hiring recommendation ready for the board's July 21 meeting.

 

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