Guin fired following BOE hearing

By NICOLE SMITH, Daily Mountain Eagle
Posted 8/8/17

Members of the Walker County Board of Education voted to terminate Tanya Guin’s employment as principal of Carbon Hill Elementary/Jr. High School Monday night.

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Guin fired following BOE hearing

Posted

Members of the Walker County Board of Education voted to terminate Tanya Guin’s employment as principal of Carbon Hill Elementary/Jr. High School Monday night.

After a two-day trial and more than six hours of deliberation Monday, the board announced Guin’s termination — 11 months after she was placed on administrative leave amid potential ethics violations.

Superintendent Dr. Jason Adkins originally recommended cancellation of Guin’s employment on the following grounds: immorality, insubordination, neglect of duty, failure to fulfill the duties and responsibilities imposed upon principals by Alabama Code, willful failure to comply with board policy, other good and just cause, incompetency and failure to perform duties in a satisfactory manner.

While Guin can no longer serve as principal of the school, she will still be allowed to teach in the county school system, if she chooses.

Board Chairman Brad Ingle and board members Bill Edd Gilbert and Jamie Rigsby voted in favor of Guin’s termination, while Lee Ann Headrick and Todd Vick voted for Guin to remain principal of the school.

In a statement to the Eagle, Headrick said, “We have voted to keep Tanya Guin as a teacher but remove her from her contract principal position, a three to two vote. Just want a clear picture painted,” she said. In final written statements submitted Monday by Adkins and John Saxon, Guin’s attorney, both summarized evidence they submitted during the two-day hearing. Saxon said that other faults in bookkeeping had been made at schools around the county, along with other instances of improper behavior by faculty and staff members; therefore, he said, Guin shouldn’t be terminated.

“At best, we have less than strict adherence to a few practices regarding purchase orders and credit cards, and some private funds consisting of cash,” Saxon said.

He also said the attack against Guin was personal, since she has stated her intent to run as superintendent of the Walker County Board of Education in the next election.

“Dr. Adkins knew she was thinking of running against him,” Saxon said. “Dr. Guin is proposed for termination to humiliate and embarrass her, and make her electoral damaged goods. ... If any discipline is due, reprimand Dr. Guin for less than perfect adherence to board policies, then apply the same policies uniformly to all schools and principals. As CPA Philip Eads testified, all that is called for in such a case is corrective counseling or training.”

Saxon said computers were removed from Carbon Hill Elementary School property that could have filled in gaps, regarding financial documentation, to build their case.

Adkins insisted in a summary of remarks to the board that he is not recommending Guin’s termination for political or personal gain. “There is nothing personal or political about recommending for termination a seasoned principal and a seasoned bookkeeper who were hiding cash (public funds) that they collected for three years by using two sets of books, an illegal off the books bank account, and a safe hidden in the principal’s closet,” Adkins said. “The accounting processes this principal set up and allowed to be used, reflect a blatant disregard and obvious contempt for board policy.”

Walker County Board of Education Chief School Financial Officer Margaret Scurlock said in the case summary that improper accounting by Guin and the school’s bookkeeper was not an “innocent mistake.” “The process of failing to write receipts, writing receipts in a second set of hidden receipt books, and the unauthorized transfer of money between activity accounts indicates the intentional shuffling of monies to defraud the central office,” she said.

Scurlock added, “From my perspective as CSFO, this is a clear case involving employees who abused their power and position of authority to misappropriate school funds. ... In my opinion, failure to terminate both the bookkeeper and the principal will be perceived by other board employees as legalized theft.”

Guin will have the right to appeal the board’s decision.