Bibb BOE Update: Lawsuits and Leadership

Bibb County school board has been dealing with several different issues over the past few months including multiple lawsuits and significant changes in leadership.
The Bibb County school board came to an agreement March 14 to settle a lawsuit filed by a Macon attorney for $1,758.
Daryl Morton made an open records request for Bruce Elementary School, and after waiting over a year for a response, he sued the school system in December.
This spring, he followed up his request for the school’s fax logs, emails and documents, alleging the Bibb County Democratic Party used the school’s fax machines to distribute negative information about him.
Morton was once chairman of the Bibb County Democratic Party and retired in November 2011.
In a new court filing, the Bibb County school system stated former Chief Financial Officer Ron Collier was stripped from his position for non-retaliatory reasons and claims Collier is lying about being punished.
Collier filed a whistle-blower lawsuit against the school system in December, claiming he was fired because he refused to pay a $1 million invoice in July for the Macon Promise Neighborhood program.
The school system’s filing on March 18 was the first response to Collier’s accusations.
The $1 million payment was eventually paid in October after the school board accepted paperwork stating the money covered renovation costs at the Promise Center.
Collier has revised the lawsuit several times, and requested an injunction against the Promise Center rent payments.
The school system denies most of the details in Collier’s lawsuit, including the claim that the Promise Center has an illegal lease.
Benton J. Mathis Jr., a school system attorney, stated that Collier would have received adverse employment actions against him for other legitimate reasons.
Collier’s attorney, Jeremy Lumley, says the school system has failed to mention what Collier has done wrong, if anything.
Within Collier’s lawsuit, he is requesting damages and an injunction to bar payments for the Promise Center.
Superior Court Judge Edgar Ennis upheld the lease and rejected a temporary restraining order for the lease because of a validated bond deal.
The lease actually begins July 1, and the first payment is due by April 1.
In terms of leadership, the school board has not decided on a permanent board president.
Susan Sipe, who is the board treasurer, has been serving as interim president since January.
Susanne Griffin-Ziebart was named Bibb County’s acting superintendent by the school board Feb. 28.
Her goals are to plan the budget for next year, to make sure students are learning and to prepare for the upcoming school year.
Griffin-Ziebart’s leadership role is temporary and will be held for 30 days or until board members choose an interim superintendent.
Griffin-Ziebart was the district’s deputy superintendent of school improvement and redesign since 2011 when she was asked by the board members to be acting superintendent.
Romain Dallemand’s superintendent contract was approved by school board members to be bought out for $350,000.
The deal also covers his accumulated pension benefits and health insurance for him and his family until July 2014 or until he receives another job.