Little Rock School Superintendent Roy Brooks has sued School Board President Katherine Mitchell for her letter to nine administrators last week saying they might not have jobs next year. He interprets part of that letter -- as we already have -- as an intimidation of potential witnesses in his firing case and thus a violation of his due process rights in a coming proceeding over his firing. Read that letter on the jump of this item. The suit also named Board member Michael Daugherty, who told Channel 4 over the weekend that he'd been apprised by Mitchell of her plans to send the letter.
Brooks said Mitchell won't give him a fair hearing, regardless of facts, and he also alleged that she had violated the Freedom of Information Act by speaking about the matter with Daugherty. Brooks asks that Mitchell and Daugherty be removed from any further board actions concerning his employment.
Is this ironic or what? The man who saved us from federal court is using a federal court to attempt to disable a democratically elected school board. He should be superintendent for life, I guess, regardless of the wishes of elected representatives. I guess he'd have the court set his pay, too.
We've said before, we say again and we'll say again in a column this week: The decision to fire Brooks rather than buy him out is a terrible mistake on the part of the board majority. If successful -- a big if -- firing could save some money in payment to Brooks, but it clearly will produce untold new legal fees, more divisiveness and a front-page battle for months to come. Brooks' judgment in suing two members of the School Board is suspect, too. Particularly for a man who's claimed credit for "getting Little Rock out of court." Is there really any doubt now that his superintendency is unsalvageable? The only unanswered question is how much he should be paid to go.
UPDATE: Brooks got the letter containing the school board majority's specific charges against him today. He's said to be prepared to release it after a review. We've requested a copy if he does choose to release it today. We don't know yet if he's received notice of the board vote last Thursday to suspend him on an emergency basis.