There’s a new Miller County BOE

Published 5:06 pm Tuesday, October 2, 2012

McIntosh suspended 30 days with pay


News Writer

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There’s an entirely new Board of Education in Miller County, after Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal signed an executive order to remove the previous board members this past Friday.

The former board members were Leroy Bush (District 1), Bob Eldridge (District 2), David Lovering (District 3), Renza Israel (District 4) and Terry Pickle (District 5). The new members, whom Deal appointed, are Monica Posey (District 1), Craig Tully (District 2), J.C. Buddy Johnson (District 3), Richard W. Little (District 4) and Billy W. Roland (District 5).

The new board is interim in the sense that each of the members was appointed to fill the unexpired term of their predecessor. Posey, Johnson and Roland’s term will officially expire on Dec. 31, 2012.

Roland won election to a four-year term to begin in 2013. Johnson and another person will contest the new term for the District 3 seat this coming November.

Earlier this year, Bush won a primary election related to his District 1 seat, however, since he was removed from office, there are some legal issues about whether he can be placed on the ballot in November’s election, although technically he is unopposed.

“[The Miller BOE] has nothing to do whatsoever with whether Mr. Bush will be able to re-assume his seat [in 2013],” said Johnson, who is serving as the new board’s chairman. “State officials will have to review the law and make a determination on that.”

The new board held its first meeting on Monday, Oct. 1. Among the actions the new board took were to place Miller County School Superintendent Robert McIntosh on administrative leave of absence, with pay, for 30 days. McIntosh is a former principal of West Bainbridge Middle School and still resides in Bainbridge.

Johnson politely declined to elaborate on the specifics of McIntosh’s leave, but said the board’s decision was based on a consensus belief that the problems with Miller County schools “did not strictly fall solely with the old board members.”

The new board also placed Technology Specialist Jerry Hatcher on administrative leave of absence, with pay, for 30 days.

As far as both McIntosh and Hatcher were concerned, Johnson said there were “allegations that needed to be looked into” and to ensure a fair resolution for both the employees and the board, that it would be better if they were not working while the board answered questions they had.

“[The actions] are not disciplinary in nature,” Johnson said. “The board is focused on doing everything the way it should be, to ensure the integrity of the board as well as the school system.”

Miller County Middle School Principal Robert Melton will serve as acting superintendent in the meantime, Johnson said.

A third action taken by the new board was to end its contract for the legal services of Attorney Ryan Cleveland, who had been serving as the board’s attorney since earlier this year.

“It’s nothing personal against Ryan, the board is just looking to get an attorney who can serve full-time,” Johnson said.

Cleveland was the third attorney representing the Miller County BOE within the past year, according to the Miller County Liberal.

Gov. Deal had previously created the Miller County School Board Nominating Committee, which included three members of the state Board of Education. The former school board chairman selected the other two members, and the state superintendent served as an ex-officio member.

The state Board of Education had recommended that the governor remove and replace all members of the Miller County school board.