DB employee resigns post, drops lawsuit

Published 10:04 am Monday, June 21, 2010

An employee of the Dawson-Bryant Board of Education who filed a lawsuit against the board and superintendent has resigned from his position and agreed to drop his lawsuit.

Eric Holmes, who had been director of educational services for the district resigned effective June 4, according to minutes from the June 7 meeting of the board of education.

According to an agreement signed by Holmes, Superintendent Dennis DeCamp and Holmes’ lawyer James Banks, Holmes has also agreed to drop the lawsuit within 10 days of the agreement.

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The agreement also stipulates that the board will pay Holmes accrued wages attributable to the 2009-2010 school year and that Holmes will not apply for work, volunteer or attempt to run as a candidate for the board of education for the next 18 years.

The board voted 3-2 to accept Holmes’ resignation. Board members Jamie Murphy, Debbie Drummond and Deanna Holliday voted to accept the resignation, while members Jim Beals and Sadie Mulkey voted against its acceptance.

Beals, who is Holmes’ father-in-law, said he is sad to see him go. He said Holmes is one of the best administrators the district has had.

“I think that he’s an excellent administrator,” Beals said. “It’s just too many conflicts with the superintendent that he can’t continue and that’s the problem.”

Beals added that people may think he’s biased because Holmes is a family member.

“I don’t think so,” he said. “There’s a lot of people who feel the same way as me.”

DeCamp, who was out of town Thursday and Friday, issued a statement explaining that the board had accepted Holmes’ resignation and that Holmes had agreed to drop the lawsuit. He offered no personal comments about the matter.

Holmes filed the lawsuit on Dec. 14, 2009, in Lawrence County Common Pleas Court, naming superintendent Dennis DeCamp Murphy, Holliday and Drummond, as defendants, along with the district as a whole.

Beals and Mulkey were not named in the suit in which Holmes was seeking an amount in excess of $25,000 in both compensatory and punitive damages.

It was a year and a half ago when Holmes, who had been an elementary school principal, was reassigned to an administrative post. He had applied for the post of superintendent of the Dawson-Bryant district when then-superintendent, Dr. James Payne, became the Lawrence County superintendent. DeCamp was hired instead of Holmes.

In the lawsuit Holmes alleged that his problems with the district began after DeCamp became superintendent and the three board members began to seek re-election to the board.

“Harassment and humiliation” against Holmes intensified after the three gained re-election, the suit claimed.

Holmes alleged the defendants consistently accused him of not finishing his assignments, even though he said he had done his work properly; and questioned his whereabouts during the school day and accused him of performing personal business when he should have been working even though he said they knew this was not true.

The suit also claimed that Holmes was falsely accused of using his computer at school to campaign for other board candidates and of disseminating information about a prior investigation regarding DeCamp and a female student at another school district.

At the time the suit was filed DeCamp said the allegations were false and denied Holmes had lost any wages as a result of any treatment he received and that he was reassigned to the administrative office only after he applied for the job.

Holmes, Mulkey, Drummond, Holliday, Murphy, the board’s lawyer Gary Winters, and Holmes’s lawyer James Banks did not return phone calls placed on Friday.