I, along with my colleagues Laura Hughes and Carolyn Weems, have hired Attorney Kevin Martingayle to represent us in a dispute against the School Board. Since the School Board Attorney has given a copy of our complaint to the media, I would like to respond.
On August 13th, the School Board went into a closed meeting for a "grievance hearing". The grievant was Superintendent Aaron Spence . Hughes, Manning and Weems voted against going into closed session and voted against certifying closed session. According to Code of Virginia 15.2-1507(A)(3)(a)(1), the law states "Unless otherwise provided by law, all nonprobationary local government permanent full-time and part-time employees are eligible to file grievances with the following exceptions: (1) Appointees of elected groups or individuals". Dr Spence is an appointee of the elected school board.
We believe it was a violation of the Freedom of Information Act for this hearing to take place. We also believe that other discussions that took place in the closed meeting were a violation of the law.
Our letter that was provided to the media, states that the hearing was related to the Superintendent's accusation of "abusive conduct" and a "hostile work environment". The "conduct" referenced is related to my transparency on social media and posts made by other members of the public on my page. I completely reject the notion that I have participated in any inappropriate conduct or hostile work environment.
My platform when running for office in 2016 was focused on transparency and I do my best to communicate with the public. I expose the truth even if it goes against the "division narrative". I will fight back against any retaliation against me for my transparency. I am employed by and report to the citizens of Virginia Beach.
It is our goal to ensure that the School Board is operating within the parameters of the law and that the public is kept fully informed. We hope that the School Board will comply with the law regarding the requests of our dispute letter and that we do not have to seek resolution in court.
Spence states in his letter to the Pilot “I did not allege abusive conduct on the part of any Board member." Yet in the same letter he states, "One Board member has created a public forum in which I am regularly demeaned."