Bradley School Board Votes To Keep Current Lawyer

Friday, June 13, 2014 - by Tony Eubank

The Bradley County Board of Education on Thursday struck down a motion to fire attorney Charles Cagle of the Lewis, Thomason, King, and Krieg law firm, in favor of new legal representation. 

Attorney Cagle spoke to the board in his own defense, outlining his and his firm’s expertise in education law. Mr. Cagle addressed some questions that the board had about the cost of his legal services and concerns about conflict of interest. Mr. Cagle that he does not charge a retainer fee to school boards and never has and that he only bills Bradley County Schools for work that has actually been done on their behalf.

In regard to his work with various educational lobbyist groups, which include Tennessee SCORE and AIMS, Mr. Cagle informed the board that his main function with those groups is in the reviewing of contracts and documents in order to ensure the legality of actions being taken by his clients.

“The conflict of interest that has been talked about, there is a primary target here and that is Pearson, AIMS, and TOSS. I don’t represent individual municipal school systems through AIMS, I represent AIMS the organization. Similarly I don’t represent superintendents through TOSS,” said attorney Cagle in during his refutation of any conflict of interest.

He said that even though his firm represents a large swath of educational groups, that they have never been caught in a conflict of interest. Board Member Chris Turner, who introduced the motion, took exception to this statement. Mr. Turner said while no conflicts may exist at the moment, that they are going to come. “The bigger that you get, the more fingers you have in the pie, the more complicated it is to manage the potential for conflicts of interest,” said Mr. Turner.

Board member Charlie Rose also expressed concerns about the amount of corporate money that now influences public education. “When you get all those big conglomerates together and all that money behind them, I get a little leery, because I’m concerned about the amount of funds supporting them and the lack of funds supporting us, makes it very difficult at our level to make decisions to address the needs of our children in our schools,” said Mr. Rose.

Board member Troy Weathers, in support of keeping Mr. Cagle on, said, “Our folks are looking for the answer and looking for the right answer, not maybes. They’re looking for a person that can give good answers that they can act on and feel safe and feel like they’re going to tie the next six months, or year or two of their life up in litigation. If we choose to go away from Mr. Cagle and their representation, we’re making a huge mistake.  That critical information that they give us instantly makes a huge difference in where we go."

The Board ultimately struck down the motion by a vote of 4 to 2, with Nicholas Lillios and Chris Turner casting the only yes votes. Board Member Rodney Dillard was absent.

The Board also heard an update from Angie Lyons on the Lake Forrest Middle School auditorium project. She said that Traveler’s Insurance has approved the current schematic for the renovation, with the changes that they requested so that the insurance funds can be used for the project. Ms. Lyons also stated that it is time for the project to move into the construction document phase, in order to keep the project on a timeline that would insure that the funds are used before their expiration date.

The Board also presented Director Johnny McDaniel’s annual performance evaluation.  Mr. McDaniel received an overall score of 3.58. This score is the average of seven categories that the board used to measure the directors performance. Mr. McDaniel was scored using a 1 to 5 point scale with 1 representing significantly below expectations and five representing significantly above expectations. Troy Weathers commended Mr. McDaniel’s performance stating, “We have a 94 percent at Bradley and a 95 percent graduation rate at Walker Valley High school. It’s unheardof to have that kind of success and we’ve had that under this director of schools.”

Mr. Weathers also stated hat he feels that Mr. McDaniel should have gotten a higher score, adding that the if the Board is looking at results, then the results have been outstanding. This statement received a huge applause from the audience.

In other business, the Board voted 4 to 2 to pass a change to the rules concerning appeals and appearances before the Board, with Board members Christy Critchfield and Troy Weather casting the two dissenting votes.  


Get Emailed Headlines From Chattanoogan.com; Like Us On Facebook, Twitter For Instant News

We send out headlines each day of the latest Chattanooga news. Our news headlines have links that take you to the stories with a click. We also send out special emails if there is a highly significant local news story breaking so you will be aware of it quickly. To be added to the email headline list, just email us at news@chattanoogan.com In addition, like us on Facebook ... (click for more)

Latest Hamilton County Jail Booking Report

Here is the latest jail booking report from Hamilton County: ABSTON, ALICIA MICHELLE  534 CHERRY MILL LANE CATOOSA, 30755  Age at Arrest: 34 years old Arresting Agency: Hamilton County Booked for Previous Charges or Other Reason(s) --- AMEY, MADELYN LANISE  518 LATTIMORE STREET CHATTANOOGA, 37406  Age at Arrest: 19 years old Arresting Agency: ... (click for more)

Dr. Livesay Should Step Down From Bryan College Leadership - And Response (3)

I am writing in response to the July 25th article, "Online Petition Seeks Removal of Bryan College President, Board Chair".  As a graduate of Bryan College (1984), I am saddened by the response of Dr. Stephen Livesay and the Board of Trustees regarding the online petition.  The purpose of the petition really has little to do with the school’s “clarification” of its ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: ‘No Sir -- It Stays Here’

To any of the millions who have served the United States on the field of combat, the most hallowed and prized distinction is our nation’s Medal of Honor. It is never given, it is always earned before it is ever awarded.  At least that’s the way it was up until a sun-splashed Wednesday three weeks ago in Vicenza, Italy. There is an Army base there that houses the 173 rd Airborne ... (click for more)

Chattanooga Team Wins 17U Division I AAU National Championship

Team NLP(TN) from Chattanooga won the 17U Division I AAU National Championship on Sunday with a 61-56 victory over the Miami Runnin' Rebels. The game was televised on ESPN. Team NLP(TN) program is coached by Brainerd High School Assistant Coach, Steve Cook Jr (Chattanooga Christian High School graduate), while E'Jay Ward (Brainerd High School graduate) serves as his assistant ... (click for more)

SEC Annouces Television Schedule For First Three Weeks Of 2017 Season

The SEC Office on Tuesday announced the start times for games on the SEC Network during the first three weeks of the 2017 season.   The SEC Network Saturday schedule opens with three games on September 2 .  The Network will air six games on the second week of the season and five games in Week 3.  The first Conference matchup of the year on the ... (click for more)