DB super disputes employee’s claims

Published 11:07 am Thursday, June 24, 2010

The top official from the Dawson-Bryant school district said he disagrees with statements made by a former employee about the terms of that individual’s resignation.

Dennis DeCamp, superintendent of Dawson-Bryant Local Schools, along with his lawyer, Gary Winters, issued a statement Wednesday in which they disputed comments made by Eric Holmes concerning his recent resignation from the district.

Holmes, who resigned from the district effective June 4, also agreed to drop a lawsuit he had filed against DeCamp, the district and three members of the board of education.

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The agreement also stipulated that Holmes may not volunteer or work at the district or attempt to become a member of the board of education for the next 18 years.

Holmes said Monday that he thought the agreement not to volunteer or work at the district was an attempt to embarrass him and his family.

DeCamp’s statement, in its entirety, is as follows:

“In response to recent inaccurate and self-serving public statements made by Eric Holmes regarding the circumstances of his resignation from the Dawson-Bryant Local School District, I want to point out the following facts:

1. Mr. Holmes was never ‘re-assigned to the Central Office.’ He applied for and the board awarded him a position as a central office administrator in August 2009.

2. During a daylong meeting on June 4, 2010 to discuss his continued employment at Dawson-Bryant, Mr. Holmes and his attorney were presented with information by the board’s attorneys, which was material to his employment.

3. At that meeting, and with the assistance of his counsel, Mr. Holmes negotiated a settlement agreement under which he voluntarily resigned, immediately, from employment with Dawson-Bryant Schools.

4. On April 21, 2010, the Court of Common Pleas of Lawrence County had granted the motion of Dawson-Bryant, the superintendent and the individual board members to dismiss five of the eight claims in Holmes’ lawsuit. As part of his negotiated agreement, Holmes also agreed to dismiss the three remaining claims of his lawsuit which had not previously been dismissed by the court and which were unfounded.

5. Mr. Holmes and his attorney agreed that Holmes would never again seek or accept employment at Dawson-Bryant. Mr. Holmes and his attorney further agreed that he would not serve or seek to serve on the Board of Dawson-Bryant for 18 years. Mr. Holmes exercised his free choice to agree to these contract terms.

6. Mr. Holmes received no money in return for his resignation and the dismissal of the lawsuit.”

Holmes filed the lawsuit Dec. 14, 2009 in Lawrence County Common Pleas Court. The lawsuit named DeCamp, the school district, and board members Jamie Murphy, Deanna Holliday and Debbie Drummond. Holmes was an elementary principal before moving to an administrative position about a year and a half ago.

Holmes had applied unsuccessfully to be superintendent but the board chose DeCamp instead. In the lawsuit, Holmes said his troubles with the district began when DeCamp was hired as superintendent and the three board members sought reelection to the board.

Holmes alleged that the defendants consistently accused him of not finishing his work even though he said he had done his assignments correctly, questioned his whereabouts during the school day and accused him of performing personal business when he should have been working even though they knew this was not true, falsely accused him of using his computer at school to campaign for other board candidates and to disseminate information about DeCamp.

The lawsuit also alleged that he was a victim of religious discrimination and that the board members violated open meeting laws when they met to hire DeCamp.