Brooks' buyout completed | Arkansas Blog

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Brooks' buyout completed

Posted By on Tue, Aug 21, 2007 at 3:36 PM

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UPDATE: The LR School Board voted unanimously this evening at a special meeting that lasted just nine minutes to pay Roy Brooks $635,000 to settle all claims with the Little Rock School District. This ends any other litigation and leaves Brooks responsible for paying attorney fees from the settlement. They are substantial (See below.) Other than a complaint from Board member Melanie Fox that members had received little advance notice or information, the measure was routinely approved.

In answer to a question, Friday Firm lawyer Michael Moore said that Brooks would likely be responsible for repayment should the Arkansas Supreme Court rule in a taxpayers' lawsuit that contract buyouts are illegal exactions. Nobody expects that to happen. This settlement should shut those protesters up, lest they want to burn Roy Brooks, whose job their action was intended to save.

One other question actually still remains: Does Brooks have a job arranged in Arkansas related to some of the people and organizations bankrolling education "reform" programs -- merit pay, charter schools, etc. That rumor has gone around for some time, but it is only that, rumor.

SHOCKING UPDATE: A correspondent who's seen the settlement document -- I just watched the proceedings on TV -- says it provides for a jaw-dropping, stomach-turning, unbelievable ONE HUNDRED AND NINETY THREE THOUSAND DOLLARS ($193,000) in fees to Roy Brooks' attorneys out of his settlement. After all that moaning about the public weal and wise stewardship, you can see whose interests got well stewarded by that bunch. If they loved Roy so much, you think they might have been able to negotiate down a taste from more than 30 percent of the settlement as their fee. Sounds like ambulance-chaser territory. Imagine how much these blookdsuckers would have stuck taxpayers if they'd actually won.

My earlier report pretty much held up. It follows:

Just in the nick of the statutory two hours' notice, the Little Rock School District has announced a special board meeting tonight at 5:30. It will be to approve a settlement of the buyout of Superintendent Roy Brooks' contract.

Buzz started about this early today. I'd predict he'll get an amount in excess of salary owed, probably over $600,000. But he may agree to pay his own attorney fees out of that amount and the deal might bring an end to legal fees being sought in the largely unsuccessful federal court effort to stop his termination.

Points to ponder: The total amount. Legal expenses -- will Brooks pay his fees out of the settlement or will the district pay them as an add-on? And will they be comparable -- or, as rumored, even higher -- than the shocking $70,000 Williams and Anderson has sought for representing Brooks in federal court.  Here, by the way, is Terrence Cain's brief objecting to the luxurious reimbursements claimed by Williams and Anderson, far more than that sought by the School Board's counsel, who essentially prevailed in the action. Cain, who represented individual School Board members, takes another poke at the editorial page of the Democrat-Gazette in the course of objecting to the fees.

Why a special meeting tonight? (There's a potential conflict with a board candidates' forum at 6 at the library.) Maybe because the ruling Board majority wants to get Brooks out of the way before Thursday's regular meeting so it can install Linda Watson as interim superintendent and approve her contract.

Watson's contract? I hear it will pay her the same $198,000 Brooks has made and, with perks, perhaps be worth more altogether. There will be car, health coverage, an expense account and even an annuity, an unusual benefit for an interim. The salary is pretty lofty for an interim, too.

The majority continues to drop the ball with short-notice meetings and predetermined deals that are presented at the moment of board meetings or only bare moments before.


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