Woah, The Powell Schadenfreude Just Got Wild

Local media in Central Kentucky have a strong history of failing to cover education outside of Lexington. Some small television stations there have such a poor history that they’ve gone so far as to plagiarize. The latest shenanigans in Montgomery County? Well… WKYT suggested Powell was suspended because:

Powell drew criticism last October for enforcing the district’s policy that did not allow critical comments during school board meetings.

Powell told WKYT that although the board had never followed that policy, the criticism at meetings had begun spiraling out of control after a state audit claimed there was questionable spending within the district.

Bizarre, to say the least. Since that doesn’t even begin to scratch the surface.

Wanna see how one of the biggest news organizations in the state covered the end of Montgomery County Schools superintendent Joshua Powell’s career in that district? Here:

[Wayne] Young said in an email: “The board did suspend him; they offered no explanation as to the basis for the suspension. I am of the opinion that there is no authority under Kentucky law to suspend a local superintendent.”

Young said the suspension was not warranted.

Wayne Young is the executive director and general counsel for the Kentucky Association of School Administrators. Young’s had a history of being in cahoots with Powell and we’ve covered some of that in the past. But Young is not a part of ELPO, the Bowling Green law firm to which the school board has paid truckloads of cash to defend Powell until now.

If Young’s statement to the Herald-Leader is any indication of the kind of representation Powell will receive? Well… let’s just say Powell should pack his bags and leave today. No questions asked.

Because here’s the deal: school boards have the authority to hire and fire in Kentucky. For the head of KASA to suggest otherwise isn’t just ignorant, it’s an eye-opening look at how corruption like that in Montgomery County thrives.

Not only do school boards have the authority to hire and fire superintendents but it’s written into Joshua Powell’s contract:


CLICK TO ENLARGE

Text:

b. For Cause: The Parties recognize the authority of the Board to discharge the Superintendent from his position for cause as set forth under state or federal and state law.

There’s also quite a bit in the KRS about being able to suspend people like Powell but there are time limits.

But really? Suggesting the body that hired Powell doesn’t have the ability to hold him accountable? To suspend pending the outcome of an investigation? Hahaha.

It’ll take the new board attorney a matter of days to find a way to fire him with cause. Then none of this will matter.

UPDATE

Powell’s attorney realized claiming the board doesn’t have authority to suspend won’t stick. So he sent a letter to the board claiming the meeting on January 7 was illegal because the agenda items weren’t specific enough.

So the board will meet this Saturday to stick it to Powell even harder. Even though the district’s website hasn’t been updated with the new meeting information as of publication (Powell’s been contacting central office employees to provide instruct and phone records appear to back that up).

Playing a semantics game is all they have left, it seems.

ANOTHER UPDATE

Turns out Young was involved in at least one of the Powell messes from the beginning.

We searched through our database to find that he was the person Michelle Goins-Henry went to for assistance when her ordeal with Joshua Powell started.

He provided Henry advice on several occasions and connected her with her attorney after he knew the entire story. He can’t claim he has no idea what happened. He knew and he was involved in attempting to resolve it.

At the very least, it would appear Young has a very serious conflict of interest and needs to step away faster than the speed of light.

Representing both sides of a problem? Really?

This shiz gets crazier each and every day.

YET ANOTHER UPDATE

Wayne Young has decided to threaten me personally.

Guess we hit a nerve?

Sir: Since you appear to be a stickler for accuracy in reporting (at least by others), I am writing to point out factual errors in your recent post. Those errors falsely attribute statements and actions to me, and I insist on an immediate retraction and apology.

You state, “school boards have the authority to hire and fire in Kentucky. For the head of KASA to suggest otherwise isn’t just ignorant, . . .”

Either you can’t read, or you have simply made an intentional choice to falsify my comment. I said there is no authority in Kentucky law that permits a school board to suspend a superintendent. I stand by that statement, and invite you to produce anything that provides otherwise. If you would like to contact me, I would be happy to explain the difference between suspension and termination to help you get started in your research of authority.

-SNIP-

please know that your use of the word “corruption” in reference to me or anything I have said or done will not go unchallenged. I urge you to make an alternate vocabulary choice immediately.

One: I won’t apologize for shit. I didn’t falsify shit. People can read for themselves what he said. We excerpted his entire quote intact. I’m totally permitted to offer my own opinion and commentary. I believe the man is suggesting that it’s not just illegal to suspend Powell but to fire him. Some members of the board also tell me they believe he is attempting to undermine their authority.

Two: Corruption corruption corruption corruption corruption corruption corruption. It’s corrupt as hell to advise Michelle Goins-Henry, as she has confirmed in writing to us, and then to represent the man she was complaining about! Corrupt as hell. That’s my opinion and, apparently, the opinion of many others and I’m free to share it.

We’ll start publishing everything everyone has ever provided us about Joshua Powell if you want to start lobbing silly threats.

Wanna sue me for suggesting it’s corrupt/inappropriate/unethical/shady/scandalous to advise Michelle Henry only to then advise the man on the other side of the complaint? It’s a big fucking deal if you’re making that threat. Because I know Henry has been called to testify against Powell on Monday and he has subpoenaed her himself. This mess directly involves her. And it directly involves Joshua Powell.

Don’t tell me I can’t believe that’s corrupt. And last I checked, that’s a big fucking deal with the American Bar Association:

Rule 1.7: Conflict of Interest: Current Clients

(a) Except as provided in paragraph (b), a lawyer shall not represent a client if the representation involves a concurrent conflict of interest. A concurrent conflict of interest exists if:

(1) the representation of one client will be directly adverse to another client; or

(2) there is a significant risk that the representation of one or more clients will be materially limited by the lawyer’s responsibilities to another client, a former client or a third person or by a personal interest of the lawyer.

(b) Notwithstanding the existence of a concurrent conflict of interest under paragraph (a), a lawyer may represent a client if:

(1) the lawyer reasonably believes that the lawyer will be able to provide competent and diligent representation to each affected client;

(2) the representation is not prohibited by law;

(3) the representation does not involve the assertion of a claim by one client against another client represented by the lawyer in the same litigation or other proceeding before a tribunal; and

(4) each affected client gives informed consent, confirmed in writing.

That shit is crazy. Period.

I encourage interested folks to contact his bosses and the entire KASA board to let them know what you think about Wayne’s involvement in this.

MORE FUN

Kentucky Supreme Court rules for attorneys, anyone?

SCR 3.130(1.9) Duties to former clients

(a) A lawyer who has formerly represented a client in a matter shall not thereafter represent another person in the same or a substantially related matter in which that person’s interests are materially adverse to the interests of the former client unless the former client gives informed consent, confirmed in writing.

(b) A lawyer shall not knowingly represent a person in the same or a substantially related matter in which a firm with which the lawyer formerly was associated had previously represented a client

(1) whose interests are materially adverse to that person; and

(2) about whom the lawyer had acquired information protected by Rules 1.6 and 1.9(c) that is material to the matter; unless the former client gives informed consent, confirmed in writing.

(c) A lawyer who has formerly represented a client in a matter or whose present or former firm has formerly represented a client in a matter shall not thereafter:

(1) use information relating to the representation to the disadvantage of the former client except as these Rules would permit or require with respect to a client, or when the information has become generally known; or

(2) reveal information relating to the representation except as these Rules would permit or require with respect to a client.

Yeah.

BONUS:

The KASA Code of Ethics (CLICK HERE for PDF) is a fascinating read.

An excerpt:

Policies for Ethical Behavior

Policy 1 — Professional school administrators constantly uphold the highest standards of integrity in all interactions and relations with students, colleagues, school board members, and the public.

Policy 2 — Professional school administrators obey local, state, and national laws; adhere to high ethical and moral standards; and express loyalty to the nation, and to the cause of democracy and liberty.

Policy 3 — Professional school administrators accept the responsibility throughout their career to ascertain, use, and contribute to the growing body of specialized knowledge, concepts, and skills which characterize school leadership as a profession.

Policy 4 — Professional school administrators strive to provide the finest possible educational experiences and opportunities for all students in their school or district.

Policy 5 — Professional school administrators seek to preserve and enhance the prestige and status of the profession in obtaining and carrying out their contractual duties as an employee.

Policy 6 — Professional school administrators carry out in good faith all policies duly adopted by the local board and the regulations of state authorities and render professional service to the best of their ability. Any desire to seek modification or renewal of policies is accomplished through legitimate and recognized means.

Policy 7 — Professional school administrators honor the public trust of their position above any economic or social rewards.

Policy 8 — Professional school administrators do not permit considerations of private gain or personal economic interests to affect the discharge of professional responsibilities.

Policy 9 — Professional school administrators recognize that the public schools are a transparent public endeavor, and they seek to keep the community fully involved with and honestly informed about its schools.

Be sure to check out the Commentary on the Code of Ethics beneath those policies.

Just fascinating.

Cherry on top, though? Folks inside and outside the KDE tell us Terry Holliday will be testifying for Powell during the EPSB trial. Even though Holliday has had discussions with Powell about the case and has been involved with other parties involved. And even though he’s examined, according to KDE staff, the charging documents Powell received from EPSB.