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In 2016, the Waukee School Board voted to suspend his director of operations, Eric Rose, for two weeks after an internal investigation revealed he was using the district's resources badly to to serve his family.
Two and a half years later, an audit of the state revealed the same misconduct. But this time, the board asked Rose to resign instead of being fired.
Board members stated that they did not receive detailed information or to say how serious the allegations against Rose were when they met in camera on July 11, 2016 to decide whether to go to court. should be punished or dismissed.
But in affidavits, the current and former Superintendent of Waukee say board members received an eight-page summary at the 2016 meeting that sets out the same charges documented in a recent audit of the state, according to an investigation by the Des Moines Register.
Rose admitted a lot of allegations, says the summary. The summary was part of a two-month internal investigation by Two Solutions LLC, which the Waukee School District hired to investigate the allegations against Rose.
This confidential summary obtained by the registry is more truncated than some details of the audit. But these same details can be found in the full report of the school district's internal investigation.
Still, the school board did not receive a copy of the full document in 2016, and its members did not ask to re-read it before deciding on Rose's fate, according to the registry.
The revelations come as the Waukee School Board faces growing criticism of its inability to act more aggressively in the first disclosure of the Chief of the Exploitation's misconduct.
Board Chair Wendy Liskey admits Board members should have asked more questions.
"We are sorry for the impact that our employees, our students and the community have felt as a result of our decision," Liskey said in a statement. "We issued a judgment regarding the employment of Eric Rose in July 2016 based on what we knew at the time.
"… In hindsight, the entire board should have asked for more information before making a decision."
Liskey contends that the board only received a verbal summary of Rose's misconduct, despite court documents and interviews stating otherwise.
Rose is now facing three counts of allegedly altering an employee's scorecard and asking another employee to do the same.
He is also facing a serious offense for allegedly violating the law on state gifts. He faces 16 years in prison.
Rose pleaded not guilty.
More: Waukee Schools Survey: Timeline of how it all happened
How we got here
The Rose Misconduct Inquiry was opened on March 23, 2016 when the then Superintendent, Dave Wilkerson, and two members of the Board of Directors met with the lawyer of the school district to review a copy of the newspaper written by the former district human resources director.
In the newspaper, Terry Welker describes the allegations of other employees against Rose since September 21, 2015. Welker also writes about the fact that employees were "summoned" to the offices of the directors and told him by the following that they had been "threatened" not to talk to human resources. or the school board about Rose.
Wilkerson said in an affidavit that two board members, Mary Scheve and David Cunningham, read the newspaper and finally made the decision to investigate. Neither responded to the request for comments from the registry.
Investigators examined school reports, e-mails and camera images and interviewed 15 employees, including Rose, throughout the investigation.
The resulting report, which is hundreds of pages long, indicates that Rose has changed employees' time cards, used her school property at home, and solicited donations for her son's hockey team from vendors. district.
The investigation culminated in the closed meeting of July 11, 2016, during which Rose met with members of the board of directors to review the allegations against him. He was sentenced to take two weeks of unpaid leave and to repay $ 2,000 to his son's hockey team.
"I remember that he had admitted – I do not know if these were all allegations – some allegations, maybe even all the allegations and there had been some comments and he had had – he was moved, "said Superintendent Cindi McDonald in an affidavit filed in the lawsuit filed by a former employee for unfair dismissal. "He was strangled."
McDonald was Associate Superintendent at the time but acted as Secretary to the Board at that meeting.
Since Rose was allowed to keep her job, nine employees interviewed as part of the internal investigation resigned from their district.
Two former employees sued for unfair dismissal, claiming that they had been forced to resign after Rose took revenge against them for cooperating with the investigators. Nicholas Bavas settled his case for $ 175,000; The case of Amy Patters is in progress.
Another former employee, Welker, received a $ 985,000 settlement from the school district instead of a lawsuit. Welker, a former director of human resources and a key witness in the internal investigation, said his post was removed after he handed the evidence to the investigators and the police.
Rose, on the other hand, received two increases totaling $ 10,446 during the same period. Before resigning, Rose earned $ 142,800.
► More: The Waukee administrator has modified the time cards, used the district property at home, according to reports
It was difficult to know exactly what the school board knew in 2016 about Rose's actions.
When the registry published its article in 2017 detailing allegations of misconduct, intimidation and retaliation at the district administrative office, McDonald responded with an email telling parents that the school board had "reviewed the findings of the independent investigation "before deciding on the sentence inflicted on Rose.
The Chamber "determined that Mr. Rose's decisions and errors of judgment did not justify the dismissal of a district in which he had been working for more than 12 years," she wrote in the email.
In the weeks following the publication of the audit, board members claimed to have received only a verbal summary of the findings of the investigation.
Board members also told the state auditor that Mr. Wilkerson, who was Superintendent at the time, had prepared a summary of the report and presented important findings to the Board.
But the affidavits of Wilkerson and McDonald say the opposite.
Both told the lawyer representing Bavas in his lawsuit for unfair dismissal that board members had received copies of the eight-page executive summary included in the Two Solutions' investigation report.
Wilkerson, who retired in January 2017, confirmed this information in a recent interview with the registry.
He also reiterated that he had not prepared the summary and that District Attorney James Hanks had reviewed the "point-by-point" document with Council at the closed meeting. . Council members were also invited to return their copies at the end of the meeting, he said.
In addition, Wilkerson said that it had nothing to do with Rose's sentencing – refuting the claims that board members and McDonald's had made public at least twice since the date of the meeting. internal investigation was made public.
Both McDonald and Wilkerson stated in their affidavits that the school board was fully responsible for the decision.
"I was removed from the process, and this was done on purpose, because (Rose) was a direct report to me," Wilkerson said. "I have not made any recommendation on Eric's status."
Exactly what was said and discussed at the July 11, 2016 closed meeting of the school board, it can never be publicly known. The recording of the meeting in camera was sealed by a protective order of a judge in the Bavas and Patters civil cases.
► More: Waukee Schools Survey: How We Got There
What does the summary say
The Executive Summary devotes 4½ pages to her findings that Rose was using school district properties at home and was using a district e-mail address to solicit donations for her son's hockey team from at least nine district vendors. (The latter eventually resulted in a serious crime charge against Rose.)
Rose admitted everything, according to the summary.
The summary devotes about half a page to the so-called modification of Rose's scorecard, which eventually led to charges of a crime against him.
It describes interviews with district employees who have knowingly handled inaccurate scorecards. It is also indicated that Rose admitted to modifying time cards to compensate employees performing "extra work".
"Rose knowingly changed an attendance record to reflect the fact that (the employee) was working, while it was not," says the resume.
Unlike the audit report and the full investigation report, the summary does not indicate how many times Rose has changed scorecard (allegedly at least four times), how much money that involved (wages of $ 186.32) or it involved employees who allegedly delivered Rose district equipment is home during working hours.
The other three pages describe the accusations against Rose that the investigators could not corroborate, including allegations of inappropriate hiring practices, derogatory remarks, attending a district event and driving a police car. district under the influence of alcohol.
What do council members say
Five of the current members of the board were members of the board at that time. The registry made contact with each of the parties to solicit their comments on the summary findings and the reasons why they decided to keep Rose at that time.
Liskey, the chairman of the board, responded on behalf of the board.
"Judgments can and will be questioned and mistakes can be made," she said in a statement. "The board of directors acknowledges that the decision made in 2016 regarding Rose's employment and her sanction had a negative impact on the district.
"The council has always been made up of people who really care about Waukee District, and no decision has ever been made by the council with the intent of harming the district."
In January 2018, Board member Susan Bunz told the Registry that the school board did not believe that Rose's shares had reached the redundancy stage. She attributed her use of the district property to her home to a lack of understanding of the proper conduct.
"It's going very quickly from a small district to a big district," she said at the time.
Rose started working for Waukee Schools in 2004 after serving as an account executive at Johnson Controls.
Bunz said the school board had reviewed the Fair Labor Standards Act and had informed Rose, as well as other district employees, that the compensatory time was a violation of federal law.
"None of this amounted to (his dismissal), and if that had been done, a different action would have been taken," said Bunz, a former lawyer specializing in labor law.
► More: The audit details $ 130,000 of inappropriate spending and a culture of mistrust in the Waukee School District
Executive summary vs audit
The commission saw things differently when Rose was put on paid administrative leave on December 7, one day after the state audit publication.
The audit is very detailed and describes the allegations against Rose, which investigators discovered in 2016 and the number of his alleged actions constituting a violation of district policy or state law.
However, a review of the registry revealed that it reflected most of the findings of the district's extensive investigation.
For example, the audit found cases where Rose drove her district vehicle without the Magnetic Logo of the Waukee Community School District. This is not detailed in the summary, but in the full investigation report.
The audit also describes the alleged use by Rose's son of the baseball cage facilities of the district. This is not detailed in the summary, but the full report of the investigation indicates that Rose admitted conferring to his wife, son and vendors working for the district in the district buildings a key.
The verification was new to the documentation of the international congestion of Rose's mobile phone, estimated at 525 USD, on which Rose reimbursed 240 USD at the request of the accounting staff.
It also includes an interview with a district salesman who said he often took Rose with him.
"(The seller) did not understand how meals can be considered an inappropriate practice for the district because buying meals for guests is a very common practice in their area," he said. declared the audit.
In addition, the audit lists an e – mail sent to Rose in July 2015 by a teacher asking him to use district – level upstarts at a camp that would involve Waukee students and students from school. other districts.
Rose rejected the teacher's request, saying that "this violates both the board's policy and the Iowa's code".
"As a result, it is clear that Mr. Rose understood the existing restrictions in 2015 and, although he did not comply with them, he restricted the use of district to some people, "said the audit.
The audit revealed that the internal investigation had cost taxpayers $ 11,000 plus $ 2,831 in legal fees, and that legal proceedings since then have cost $ 7,722 in legal fees.
Rose finally resigned in lieu of her dismissal on December 17th. According to the district, Rose was asked to resign for "loss of trust of the administration and the board of directors, ineffective direction and lack of full cooperation in a state investigation".
The district has agreed to pay his vacation, totaling 29.5 days, or about $ 16,200.
Jerry Ripperger, a board member who, along with Lori Lyon, was not part of the school board in 2016, said it was hard to say what could have or should have been done differently at this time. time.
"Nor can we simply separate what we knew at the time from what we know now, which clearly showed the need for better information and greater transparency." , did he declare. "… our work is not over."
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The denunciation by the Monks' Registry of allegations of misconduct in the Waukee School District helped to stimulate the state audit, which ultimately resulted in criminal charges. The registry gained access to previously unpublished documents and interviews for this story, shedding new light on the district's actions.
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