My name is Mike Worthing and I would like to share with you the recent events that resulted, in my opinion, as a wrongful termination of my employment. I believe I am the victim of retaliation by this administration for one reason, because I called the labor board in November 2014 and filed a complaint regarding the Fair Labor Standards Act to which the ruling found in favor of myself and the building maintenance director and back wages were found due to us. Until that time I had never been written up before. But, since then it seems like every time I turn around I get written up for something.
Two days after I started at SSD the state inspected the district’s entire bus fleet. Out of the 16 busses in the fleet, 8 did not run, the other 8 were route busses. The state inspector shut four of those down stating they were not safe to transport children. I called around and found the needed parts to fix the four busses in Little Rock, went and got the parts, and worked through the night to have them ready for the morning routes. In that first inspection I believe 47 major violations and 287 minor violations were found. Since then I have had zero major violations on my yearly inspections, and only 20 minor violations in the 2016 inspection.
When I received notice that Superintendent Gardner was going to recommend that my contract be terminated, I requested a hearing in front of the school board which took place on December 19th. I did not think I needed a lawyer present to tell the board my side of the story, but the school lawyer was there and created the atmosphere of a criminal case. I would also like to point out that the Superintendent told the school board at the hearing that she had asked all the bus drivers to attend the hearing, but stated they declined for fear of retaliation from me. I, as well as others, have spoke to most the drivers & they said this was not true. They were never asked to attend the hearing, only asked to fill out an affidavit, which they declined, and there was never a fear of retaliation from me.
I normally would not call anyone a liar, but I am now. She lied, lied, lied to the school board, and if they let her get away with lying to them then their characters are questionable. I have never attempted to retaliate against any of my drivers for any reason. Minor issues are not considered a safety factor, majors are so they will take precedence over the minors. As time permits I will repair minor write ups. It is has truly saddened me that after the 10 years I’ve been at SSD, and the work I’ve accomplished, apparently has gone unnoticed.
I’ve made mistakes along the way, who hasn’t, but when the administration micro-manages anything you do, and won’t let you do your job, I guess this is the end result. I’m disappointed in our school board for not talking to employees for their feedback. I thought the letter written by Mr. Crotts that was 100 percent correct, would have prompted the board to do that, but it was just disregarded as biased reporting. There will be a lawyer contacting the Superintendent and board shortly though.
On a further note, I’ve been trying to get the school to purchase some newer buses as well as new camera systems for the buses to no avail. But then, after the hearing was over and the regular board meeting began, Superintendent Gardner hit the school board up about purchasing some new buses. Hmm, go figure.
This letter was not meant to bash the Shirley School District. It is just my hope to inform the residents of the SSD about the bullying, lies and retaliation one person is being allowed to continue to administer to
the staff and disrupting their lives. Oh, and I just hope the schools “dapperly dressed attorney” enjoys making trips up to Van Buren County.