COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) – The Muscogee County School Board's first official discussions into hiring independent legal counsel; the update, provided by board chair Pat Hugley-Green, is that both she and board member Laurie McRae have already spoken to several attorneys they've considered as candidates.
"All [attorneys] believe the initial next step would be consultation to make an assessment or review," Hugley-Green said.
The only name board members specifically mentioned as a potential candidate is attorney Glenn Brock of the Atlanta firm Nelson Mullins. According to the firm's website, for 25 years, Brock's practice has "focused exclusively on the representation of school districts."
Board members Frank Myers and John Thomas making their voices heard, as to why they believe hiring an outside attorney is unnecessary, citing last week's AdvancED presentation from specialist Jay Wansley, as evidence that their alleged conduct will not jeopardize the district's accreditation.
"It seems like a monumental waste of time, effort and money," Thomas said, "when the gentleman from AdvancED has already said we're not going to take board conduct into consideration."
"I mean, it just couldn't be more clear from what Mr. Wansley said," Myers added. "They are not looking at that. And we need to go and get into the trenches and get proactive on fixing real, live problems in our school system."
During the meeting's discussion, some board members, like Cathy Williams, continued to argue in favor of this independent attorney, believing Myers and Thomas may violate the district's code of ethics if they move forward with assisting attorneys representing Montravious Thomas.
Thomas is a student whose leg was amputated after he was reportedly body-slammed at the AIM alternative school last September.
"There are some of us," Williams said, "that are extremely concerned about conduct of board members, both at the board table and outside the board room."
Williams also said the shadow of an ethics violation would have a dramatic and negative impact on the district; "Both from the perspective of accreditation as well as morale," Williams said. "Morale of our people, our students, our parents, and our taxpayers."
The board did not vote on hiring any one candidate at Monday night's meeting.
Members said that won't officially happen until they call for it on an upcoming agenda, with some board members saying they now want to actively participate in the interviewing process and get things started ahead of the accreditation review in late October.