Dallas teachers union calls on superintendent to quit

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by BRETT SHIPP

WFAA

Posted on September 9, 2013 at 9:56 PM

Updated Monday, Sep 9 at 10:34 PM

DALLAS — The head of the largest teachers union in Dallas is calling for the resignation of Dallas Independent School District Superintendent Mike Miles.

An independent investigation released late Friday concluded Miles not only violated DISD policy but the terms of his contract.

Dallas ISD trustees paid $100,000 to Former U.S. Attorney Paul Coggins to investigate Miles, who was accused of interfering in the district's bid process and in an internal investigation.

Coggins' report, released to trustees on Friday, found that Miles violated DISD policy and his contract by "contacting witnesses" in the internal investigation and by "discussing case facts" with potential witnesses.

While Coggins did not find Miles violated the bid process, he did find that some of Miles' top lieutenants inappropriately contacted The Concilio Group, which was competing for a contract.

According to the report: "...certain conversations and documents would lead a reasonable person to believe that The Concilio had been slotted to receive a contract..." outside of the bid process.

Rena Honea, president of Alliance AFT, said Miles should leave before he gets fired.

"I think in his best interest it would behoove him to submit his resignation,” Honea said. “But if the case happens that he doesn't do that, the trustees need to do their due diligence and carry out what board policy says, and that's because they have good cause for termination of this contract."

The report also addresses Miles' involvement with private public relations consultant Lisa LeMaster in crafting the resignation letter of former chief of operations Kevin Smelker. Evidence shows the letter — critical of the school board and specifically targeting trustee Elizabeth Jones — was a joint effort among Miles, Smelker and LeMaster.

LeMaster told News 8 last week that Miles played no role in the drafting of the resignation letter.

But Coggins' report lays out a June 16, 2013 sequence of phone calls and personal e-mails among Miles, Smelker and LeMaster, even an effort to recall an e-mail accidentally sent to Miles' DISD address.

Two days later, the three exchanged multiple drafts of the Smelker resignation letter.

Coggins concluded: "Based on the sequence of events, we believe Superintendent Miles had substantial input into the form and content of Smelker’s letter."

The report went on to say: "Superintendent Miles arguably breached his employment contract by assisting Smelker with a resignation letter that disparaged the Board.”

On Monday afternoon, Miles told News 8 that despite the finding that he had violated policy and his contract, he has no plans to resign. In fact, he says he looks forward to working with Alliance AFT and teachers in the coming year.

Trustees are expected to have their first discussion of the Coggins report when they meet in closed session on Thursday.

E-mail bshipp@wfaa.com

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