Trustees’ attorneys release details of Scott settlement
By Graham Williams, Union County News
Published in the newspaper on Aug. 19, 2019
Picked up by the SCPA eBulletin on Aug. 28, 2019
As part of the settlement agreement between Billy Scott and the Union County Board of School Trustees both parties agreed to release and waive all possible civil claims against each other concerning Scott’s demotion as maintenance director for the school district and subsequent events.
Trustees voted 6-3 on July 22 to approve a mutual release and settlement agreement proposed by Scott’s attorneys.
Details of the settlement were not released at the time of the agreement. As a result of a Freedom of Information Act request by the Union County News, the school district’s attorneys provided the newspaper with a copy of the agreement, a copy of the letter to Scott from board chair Dr. Wanda All concerning the board’s decision and a document signed by Scott acknowledging his right to consult with counsel and review the agreement.
No monetary details were included in the settlement documents. The school district’s insurance company handled the financial settlement with Scott. As part of the settlement, however, Scott will receive two weeks vacation pay from the district.
Scott was demoted from his job as maintenance director in July 2018 for violating the district’s policy against hiring someone with a criminal record. Superintendent Dr. Bill Roach said that when he found out about it, he planned to put a reprimand in Scott’s employment folder. Instead, Roach was directed by Dr. All to demote him, according to a non-jury appeal filed last year by Scott’s attorneys in common pleas court. The appeal says Dr. All’s directive was a result of a discussion held in executive session on July 23, 2018, without any action being taken in open session.
After Scott was demoted, he requested a grievance hearing with the board, which was held on Sept. 27, 2018. Trustees met in executive session with Scott, his attorney and the district’s attorney, Charles J. Boykin.
On Oct. 8, 2018, trustees voted to reverse their decision to demote Scott and to pay him any back pay. Trustees also voted to give Scott a new job with a salary comparable to what he was being paid as maintenance director. On Oct. 25, 2018, Scott was named director of energy management with the school district.
Scott’s attorneys filed the appeal on Dec. 6, 2018, asking the court to vacate the board’s decision to make Scott director of energy management and reinstate Scott as maintenance director. The appeal also requested other relief that the court deemed just and reasonable.
Several hearings on the appeal took place before a judge this year in common pleas court but were suspended in May.
As part of the settlement agreement, Scott agreed to:
- Withdraw his grievance filed in July 2018 relating to his employment reassignment;
- File a Stipulation of Dismissal with Prejudice of all claims alleged which could possibly have been alleged in a civil action against the board of school trustees;
- Agreed to release and waive all possible civil claims against the board of school trustees, the Union County School District and it former and current board members, employees, administrators, staff members and agents arising out of conduct which occurred during the time of his employment with the school district and up through the dismissal of the civil action;
- Resign his employment with the school district no later than 45 days from the execution of the agreement;
- Not seek employment with the school district for at least 15 years;
- Make no disparaging comments about the school district and its former and current board members, employees, administrators, staff members and agents. This prohibition does not apply to any future testimony given in court.
The Union County Board of School Trustees agrees to:
- Vacate the written decision dated Oct. 8, 2018, and amended decision dated Oct. 25, 2018, issued in response to Scott’s grievance and to vacate the public statement issued on Oct. 8, 2018 relating to its ruling concerning the grievance;
- Make no disparaging remarks about Scott and direct its administrators to do the same. This prohibition does not apply to any future testimony given in court.
- Agreed to release and waive all possible civil claims against Scott arising out of conduct which occurred during the time of his employment up through the dismissal of the civil action;
- Any reference requests received by the school district concerning Scott will be directed to the Human Resources Department, which will provide a neutral reference, including dates of employment and his last position;
- Remove all documents from Scott’s personnel file relating to his grievance and the board’s decision and public statement relating to its ruling.
Both parties agreed that the settlement agreement should not be seen as an admission of liability or fault.
Both sides also agreed not to seek recovery of attorney’s fees and costs of litigation.